To Sit On And To Lie On

How To Avoid A Fabric Fiasco When Choosing Upholstery Fabric

by Dawn Hopkins

If you have decided a favorite piece of furniture is worth saving, you are probably excited to start selecting your upholstery fabric. Whether your furniture is an heirloom chair passed down through the generations or a favorite recliner you just cannot part with, choosing the right fabric is crucial to your further enjoyment of the piece. Consider the following tips to help you choose the fabric that is best for your furniture and that will fit your taste and your home's decor.

Consider the Shape of Your Furniture

Does your chair or sofa have straight or rounded edges? When picking an upholstery fabric, you will need to be aware of which designs and prints will fit your furniture shape best. The wrong fabric can cause unattractive distortions that can be glaring.

For instance, heirloom pieces of furniture often have a lot of ornate details, such as curved seats and backs. When working with stripes and checks, the stretching process can pull these fabric patterns out of alignment. This will result in an uneven finish that can ruin the look of your piece of furniture.

Consider how Your Furniture is Used

Specialty fabrics, such as silk and velvet, can be quite expensive for upholstered pieces and may not wear as well as other fabrics due to their delicate nature. They look elegant and beautiful, but these fabrics are best for decorative pieces rather than functional pieces used every day. Delicate fabrics are best for decorative accent chairs that will be displayed in the corner of a bedroom, home office, guest room, etc.

If your chair or sofa will be used in a high-traffic area of the home, you should choose durable fabrics, such as leather or cotton blends, that can hold up to everyday use. If you have children or pets, you should also opt for more durable upholstery fabrics if a chair or sofa will be used in a room where they spend any time. 

Consider the color

Rescuing a beloved piece of family furniture, or a favorite chair or sofa you want to keep can be a wise investment. Still, having a piece of furniture upholstered can be a long and costly process depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, so you'll want the new fabric to last you as long as possible. 

To avoid an unsatisfactory or short-lived finish, always choose a color you can enjoy for a long time. Avoid trendy colors or prints you may get tired of or that may appear outdated within a few years. If you choose the wrong fabric for the upholstery, you may find yourself wanting to reupholster the chair again earlier than you'd like, or even tucking your favored piece of furniture away from sight where you won't see or use it often.

Fortunately, you can avoid fabric fiascos by learning a few things about upholstery fabrics and discussing your selections with your furniture upholstery service provider prior to having the work done.