Are you looking to give your sofas a new look? The fabric you choose is an important part of your décor, and it should be something that you’ll be happy with for years to come. Our handy guide to buying upholstery fabric will help you to make the best buying decisions for your home!

What are your sofas made up of?

Most sofas have a wooden or steel framework which is covered with springs made of tempered steel, burlap material over the springs, padding (usually made of fiber fill or polyurethane foam), and the sofa fabric. If the fabric is delicate, a kora lining material is backed on it for added durability. While the interior components may not be seen, they contribute to the durability and comfort and you should not compromise on the quality.

Match the theme

So, what do you look for when choosing sofa material? To begin with, the fabric should suit the theme of your interior. If your décor is traditional, handloom fabric with ethnic prints will go well.

Delicate paisley prints in a satin finish look good with classical styles of sofas.

Solid colours or small prints go well with very ornate curved pieces of furniture, as linear or bold prints will not match.  Plain hues or linear patterns also go well with contemporary sofas, such as sectional sofas. You can mix and match sofa material for adjacent sofas, provided the same colours tie them together.

Match colours, textures and patterns

If you have a colour palette in mind, then you should stick to fabrics that fall in line with your ideas. This pretty sofa below features a pale blue colour, with printed cushions that follow the same colour scheme. Note how the flooring tiles, walls, the rug and the art seen in the backdrop also harmonize with these elements. Simple, understated elegance like this is hard to find.

Buy fabric based on the usage

If your sofa is to be used in a high-traffic zone, such as the family or living room, the fabric must be hard wearing and durable. Furniture that is not expected to handle too much wear and tear, such as a sofa in your bedroom can use any kind of fabric. Families with pets and naughty children should consider investing in stain-proof fabric. As a thumb rule, engineered synthetic fabrics like acrylics or polyester tend to be more durable than natural ones like handloom or cotton. Try spraying Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector on your upholstery, to repel liquids easily—fabrics that are protected with Scotchgard can be wiped clean before the stain sets in!

Consider the effect of sunlight

Think of where you will be placing the sofa. If you are placing it near a window where the sunlight streams in everyday, after a couple of months you will find that dark coloured fabric has faded— the side of the sofa that is exposed to the sun will be a few shades lighter than the rest of the material. If your sofa is going to be near a window, then by all means choose fabric is white or off white.

Interesting point to note: Leather upholstery that is faded can be deep cleaned or re-dyed and refurbished to look almost as good as new, provided it does not have holes or cracks in it!

Consider the material finish and durability

Sofa fabrics fall into two main categories; natural and synthetic. Cotton, silk, wool and linen are natural fabrics, while acrylic, polyester and nylon are examples of synthetic material.

Natural fibres are comfortable to sit on as they breathe and provide even temperatures. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are not as comfortable, especially in summer when they can get very hot as they trap heat and perspiration. They are, however, cheaper and often more durable than natural materials. Also, you should be aware that synthetic materials are often manufactured using toxic chemicals, which may be harmful over a long period. They are also not readily biodegradable, which is harmful to the environment in the long run.

Cotton, leather or synthetic leather are popular choices for sofas. Silk is not as durable as cotton, and it tends to tear with rough usage. That’s why it is used more often in cushion covers and for making drapes rather than for sofas.

Protect your upholstery using slipcovers

So now that you have refurbished your sofas, how can you keep them looking as good as new for many years? For everyday use, or perhaps when you are planning to leave town for a longer period, you should cover them with slipcovers. Use fabrics that are washable and durable, so that your expensive sofa material underneath stays looking as good as new!

Factors you must keep in mind when selecting sofa material include décor theme, aesthetics, usage, durability, comfort and feel. Don’t be afraid to try the unconventional look. Mix and match. After all, it’s your house and you should be happy with the space that you have created!

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