Furniture shopping? Picking the right upholstery fabric can be a challenge with so many patterns and fabric types, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when exploring fabric.

Furniture Upholstery Tip 1: Picking the Right Durability

There are some great looking fabrics out there at what seem like rock bottom prices. Sometimes you’ll come upon a sofa at a surprising price, but the upholstery fabric/material has a lot to do with that. The same sofa model, for instance, can vary in price significantly depending on whether it uses inexpensive fabric or commercial grade material.

If it’s mostly a decorative sofa in a room that isn’t used often it probably doesn’t matter, so long as you can find an attractive pattern. But for everyday furniture, it’s important to pay attention to what’s called the “double rub” rating. This is a measure of the fabric’s durability, and indicates the number of times (in a testing environment) the fabric can withstand a pad being rubbed back and forth before becoming worn out.

Typical residential upholstery fabric usually has double rub ratings of 10,000 – 25,000 double rubs. Commercial fabric, on the other hand, often scores far higher at 100,000 – 250,000 double rubs. You can see right off the bat that, while commercial grade material is more expensive, it holds up to regular use much better.

Furniture Upholstery Tip 2: Selecting Color By Function

Bold patterns with bright colors can set off a room, but depending on your preferences can also become visually fatiguing over time. Unless you’re going for an eccentric room, in other cases you may want to stick with more muted colors.

Solid colors, or patterns with minimal repeats, tend to blend better into the room. However, the use of these colors determines whether a sofa fits as a part of an ensemble or stands out as the focal point, for instance. If you’ve used very light colors in a room, using unexpected colors like pink, turquoise, or yellow can make for a pleasing contrast.

Furniture with straight edges looks better with geometric patterns or designs with equally straight lines. Furniture with rounded edges is complemented more by floral patterns or designs with round shapes.

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