What is the Best Fabric for a Sofa?

There’s a big difference between picking the fabric for a lovely new dress, and choosing what you want, and require, to cover your sofa. You and your family are going to have to live with any decision for a very long time (or if you’ve chosen a poor upholstery fabric, a short time, due to lack of durability!), so you need to ensure your choice of fabric is a good one.

There are several important points to consider when choosing the fabric for your sofa, and it’s a case of weighing up which are more relevant for your needs.

How durable does your fabric need to be?

Durability is an important factor – you want your sofa to look as good as possible, for as long as possible. If you have kids, or pets, your choice of fabric will need to reflect the increased stress these factors may place on it.

Fabrics such as velvet, silk, wool blends and chenilles offer less durability than linens, corduroy and microfiber blends, and whilst gorgeous, should only be covering an infrequently used sofa, for example, in a bedroom, or second living room.

Flat weaves and cottons with a high thread count are always popular, as is leather, especially the distressed versions – these options offer high durability, combined with good looks.

Are there any allergies you need to consider?

If you choose a fabric that is fluffy and textured, it can trap pet hair, dust and other allergens, so will require regular vacuuming. Modern man made fabrics avoid this issue, but also can cope with frequent cleaning.

However, some fabrics, such as polyester, can actually be an allergen, so it’s worth trying out a small sample close to the skin, if someone in your family is prone to sensitive skin.

Which color to choose? Patterns or plain?

If you have an existing color scheme that you love, then decide if you want your sofa to stand out, or to blend in and maybe use cushions in a complementary shade to add interest, which can be changed whenever you wish.

A lighter color will need to be washed more frequently, so if that’s your choice, pick an easily washable fabric, such as cotton, whilst a darker color won’t show the marks, but, if placed in direct sunlight, can fade over time.

As far as patterns go, larger sofas tend to look better in plain or textured fabrics, but a smaller model can look stunning with a patterned material, especially something bold and bright. Patterns are also great at concealing stains and scuff marks, but if your sofa is a curvy style, they can be hard to match up accurately.

How easy to clean is your chosen fabric?

Opting for an easy clean fabric, such as cotton, is a good idea if you have kids spilling drinks and scribbling on your sofa. The other option, if you’ve fallen in love with a fabric that’s less easy to clean, is to choose plain loose covers for everyday wear, and bring out the gorgeous look for guests, or special occasions.

How much have you got available to spend?

Setting a budget and sticking to it is important. Decent sofa fabric can be expensive, but with cheaper materials you may have to compromise on some features, which may work out pricier in the long run. So it’s a case of finding a balance that you can live with.

Generally the plusher, more luxurious fabrics cost more, as do those with a higher thread count, while man made materials work out cheaper, but are easier to work with if you’re planning on making your own sofa covers.

For more tips on choosing fabrics for your sofa, check out this video:

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