High-quality furniture upholstery is no less important than the current shape and design. We tell you how to choose fabric for a sofa that will last for many years.
Everything you need to know about upholstery:
Understanding upholstery materials on your own is not easy. This includes the type of fabric and its properties: density, wear resistance, and so on—there are really a lot of parameters. Moreover, the choice is complicated by the purpose of the furniture: different models are needed for a personal office and for a living room. Let’s figure out which fabric is best for a sofa and what to consider when purchasing.
Spectacular velour is one of the most favorite coatings among designers. Furniture covered with it looks especially good in classical, neoclassical, and contemporary style interiors, adding nobility and chic.
Soft velour feels like velvet, these are related categories. In another way, velour is often called corduroy, but this is not entirely true.
Velor is made from cotton or wool, it is natural and environmentally friendly. Its other advantages are practicality, high wear resistance, and it does not stretch.
The main disadvantage: it is very difficult to wash a dirty stain from such a coating on your own.
Universal Flock is a non-woven material for sofa upholstery. It is made by gluing tufts of pile – usually polyamide and viscose, less often cotton and wool – onto a base. It also comes in different varieties: natural – made of cotton, synthetic, and there are also mixed options.
In addition to strength and wear resistance, the main advantage of the flock is water resistance. The liquid rolls off into a ball from the surface and is easy to remove. Therefore, this coating is easy to care for. However, the flock requires frequent cleaning with a vacuum cleaner; it becomes highly electrified, as a result of which it attracts dust.
It is worth noting that only an expensive product has all these characteristics; a cheap one is unlikely to be practical.
Matting is the most environmentally friendly coarsely woven fabric made from linen or cotton, similar to burlap. It fits perfectly into Scandi and eco-style interiors. But there are also options with an admixture of acrylic and polyester, which add strength to it.
The advantages are obvious: it does not wrinkle, is pleasant to the touch, and is very durable. One “but”: the matting can become an object of desire for pets, especially cats, who don’t mind sharpening their claws on it.
It does not fade is easily washed off from dirt dries quickly, and does not pill – all this is about microfiber. It was developed a little over 50 years ago but has already managed to gain the palm in the upholstered furniture market. This is not surprising, with all its advantages, its price is lower than a similar velour.
Caring for microfiber is very simple: any dirt can be removed with a soft sponge and detergent, and the removable covers can be washed in a machine.
Microfiber is sensitive to high temperatures, so it cannot be dried with a hairdryer or on a radiator.
One of the most expensive furniture materials. Made from cotton with the addition of artificial raw materials. Despite its thinness and softness, it is difficult to tear, it is durable and wear-resistant.
The complex ornate patterns that are usually used to cover the jacquard are an element of a rich classical style.
Jacquard does not tolerate wet cleaning; water damages the structure of the weave. This makes it not the easiest to clean.
Improved jacquard – this is how Scotchgard is defined. The fact is that it is more resistant to pollution. There is a kind of film on the surface of the material that protects the threads from negative influences. If you want to make upholstery with jacquard, but are worried about the safety of the furniture, for example, if there are small children in the house, choose products made from Scotchgard.
In addition, it is easy to care for. Fresh stains are removed with a soft sponge and water, and dried stains are removed by dry cleaning.
The furniture tapestry also looks like a jacquard. It is cheaper and stronger, and consists of natural and synthetic raw materials in different proportions.
Tangible advantages include durability, variety of prints, and colors. Cons: the tapestry fades in the sun.
Noble chenille is an expensive, durable fabric. Its structure is similar to a tapestry, just as soft and pleasant to the touch. The most valuable type is jacquard weaving.
Chenille comes in two types: woven and glued. The second is used by companies that want to reduce the cost of production. But, as often happens, the quality also suffers: such chenille stretches noticeably faster. By the way, the same applies to matting.
Leather and eco-leather
A leather sofa certainly attracts attention. Stylish, respectable material looks great both in private apartments and in offices. Eco-leather today is in no way inferior to its natural counterparts, but at the same time, it is much cheaper. The ethical component is also important.
High-quality leather is easy to care for, it is hypoallergenic, does not collect dust, you just need to wipe it with a damp cloth. But, if there are animals in the house, it is not recommended to cover the sofa with it. It scratches easily and quickly loses its presentation.
The latest generation of artificial leather is called Arpatek. It contains polyurethane, viscose, cotton, and polyester. It does not fade, does not cause allergies, and in terms of wear resistance can be compared with natural leather. However, the high price speaks about its advantages.
Cons: leather, natural and artificial, no matter how good it is, slips and stretches over time.
Tips for choosing for every room
When choosing upholstery, it is very important to understand in which room the sofa will be placed. Models that last ten years in the office are unlikely to last as long in the kitchen.
- For a bedroom where the sofa is rarely used, choose more expensive decorative fabrics, such as jacquard or Scotchgard.
- Soft, comfortable, and, most importantly, wear-resistant models are suitable for the living room. Flock, chenille, eco-leather, microfiber – what you need.
- The main criterion for children’s furniture is the ease of care, waterproofness, and resistance to dirt. Flock, chenille, and Scotchgard have these properties.
- Finally, feel free to take leather models to your study or office.
Which sofa upholstery is better if you have a pet?
The presence of animals in the house increases the likelihood of furniture damage many times over, unfortunately. And you should not believe the admonitions of sellers about the new “anti-pet” or “anti-claw” technology. Nothing can guarantee 100% protection of the fittings. Which fabric is better for upholstering a sofa in this case? Very, very dense, with a fine weave, such as flock or velour. This will make it difficult for your pet to pick up the thread, and sharpening its claws will be inconvenient. And he’ll probably lose interest quickly.
You can also purchase protective covers, although this is a temporary measure. There is no point in using them on an ongoing basis.
If there is a puppy in the house or you are planning to have one, choose furniture without fittings, with metal legs. Dogs are partial to wood, especially during puppyhood when they are teething.
Otherwise, advice from veterinarians on raising a pet will help protect the accessories.
What to look for in the store
- Choose only reliable manufacturers, and carefully study reviews before purchasing. It’s better to pay more once; the savings are rarely justified. Low-quality fabrics quickly lose their appearance. In addition, formaldehyde dyes often used in such materials can be dangerous for children and animals.
- If you plan to buy a set, ordering items separately is a risky endeavor. It happens that production technologies change. And if a little later you decide to add chairs in the same upholstery, the fabric may differ, resulting in a different tone.
- Choose products with a weight of at least 330 grams per meter. The greater the weight, the higher the density of the material, which means that it will retain its shape for a long time. This is more important than the Martindale abrasion test, which is often performed by store clerks. The fact is that it is very difficult to erase the thread, but it stretches quickly.
How to calculate the footage if you decide to reupholster
It is not difficult to calculate the required amount of material. To do this, remove the old upholstery and measure all the components at the widest and longest places. You need to add about 10-20% to the vertical data for allowances and seams. A little more if there is a pattern and it needs to be combined.
It’s easy to calculate the area for pillows: length and width need to be multiplied by two, and add 5-10 cm for allowances.
If the old upholstery cannot be removed, you will have to take measurements by eye. To do this, you need to measure the length, width, and height of the sofa, multiplying the resulting values by two. But, of course, it’s easier to call a specialist. A professional can tell at first glance how many meters will be needed for the reupholstery.
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