While it's great to have a huge selection of fabrics, it can be overwhelming when it comes to making your choice. Not all fabrics are created equal - some are better left for fashion than furniture. To keep focused, here are four things to consider when you're looking for the perfect upholstery fabrics:
1. THE SPACE WHERE THE FURNITURE IS GOING
Some things you will want to take in to consideration are the colour of the walls, flooring, wallpaper and drapery. The furniture should complement these existing elements, unless you plan to change them to coordinate with the furniture. It's also good to consider the investment you're making in the fabric and how long you want to live with the one you've chosen. We typically recommend going neutral with fabrics for large pieces, and then adding pops of colour and texture with the decor pillows, occasional chairs, or ottomans.
2. THE STRENGTH OF THE FABRIC
It's important to choose fabrics that will reflect the use of the piece you're upholstering. For example, if you're choosing fabric for a family room sofa where you will be spending lots of time, select fabrics that won't pill, wrinkle and wear easily. Most upholstery fabrics have a double rub count for reference. The double rub test approximates the wear and tear on the fabric that would come with every day use. A 25,000 double rub count is a good place to start for residential fabric selections.
3. THE COST OF THE FABRIC
Large pieces like a sofa will generally need 10-12 metres of fabric, which can add up depending on the cost per metre. However, by spending less per metre on large pieces of furniture and allocating a higher budget for smaller pieces, you can maximize your budget without sacrificing on style. Using more luxurious fabrics on accent pillows can also add texture and pattern to a space for a minimal investment.
4. THE FINER DETAILS
It's easy to incorporate interesting design elements to give an upholstered pieces your own personal touch. By using techniques such as tufting, buttons, nail heads, and piping, you have the ability to make a real statement in your space. Why not mix and match fabrics? Create a great conversation starter by using contrasting piping on a piece or by using a different fabric/pattern on the back of a dining chair than what's on the seat. This is your opportunity to get creative and step outside the box. Here are some great examples by Chairloom.
Ultimately, go where your eye and heart leads you. You want to choose fabrics that will reflect your personal style and make you happy to have them in your home!