Choosing fabrics for a sofa or chair can be a daunting task. From grades and rubs to a wide variety of natural or synthetic materials, it can get overwhelming. Although essential, shopping for the right fabric shouldn’t be intimidating. Here are some points to consider:
1. Natural vs. Synthetic – Probably the most critical point. Natural fibers are animal-based like silk, wool, cotton, and linen, while beautiful, are typically more fragile than human-made fibers and are susceptible to damage from factors like staining, wear and tear, and to fade from sunlight. Silk will disintegrate over time if it is unprotected and exposed to high levels of natural light.
The human-made fibers on the market today are technologically advanced and designed to withstand high levels of daily abuse. Polyester, acetate, acrylic, nylon, and olefin are prime examples. Up to this date, polyester is considered one of the most durable fibers for furniture. Having a mix of both synthetic and natural fibers are highly recommended.
2. Fabric Grade – Each manufacturer has their grading system. The higher the grade does not equate quality but how certain expensive fabrics are made. Prices vary on the intricacy of the weave, construction, fiber content, season, and performance.
3. Rubs – Or abrasion. The higher the double-rub count, the better for durability and wear and tear factoring. Just put: a double-rub is a testing method that uses a particular machine that passes a testing pad back and forth over the fabric until it is worn out. Each back-and-forth pass is known as a double-rub.
Residential grades are usually rated at 3,000 to 25,000 double-rubs. These are fabrics that easily wear and typically used for light traffic areas. These fabrics usually last 1-3 years and are cheap.
Commercial grades are anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000++ double rubs. These are the fabric selections that you see in the Best Furniture Store sofas and chairs. These are fabrics that are made to withstand extreme wear and tear even and made for very high traffic areas (ex. airports and hotels). Having one in your home guarantees a furniture lifespan of 10-20 years.
To recap, your considerations for fabric shopping should rely on: