In most living spaces, your sofa or sectional is the most substantial piece of furniture that you own. It's likely the biggest investment in your space and where you'll be lounging and relaxing at the end of a long day!
Do you know how to select the right fabric for your sofa or sectional?
Although many people factor in the sofa's colour and shape when deciding on which piece to select, it is crucial to ensure you are picking a well-made upholstery and fabric that will make this decision regret-free.
Today, we will focus on the specifics of getting the best upholstery or fabric for your sofa!
There are so many options available, so we will break it down and walk you through it.
Fabric Types: Fabrics are made by weaving threads together, and the tightness of a weave can determine how durable it is. Tight weave fabrics can usually withstand more wear and are easier to wash. Loose weave fabrics, although beautiful, are less durable.
Velvet: Velvet has a tight weave with a soft and fuzzy surface. Generally, velvet for upholstery is blended with synthetic fibre to make it more durable and easy to clean.
Tweed: Tweed is a densely textured woven fabric that hides stains and wears well. Typically, tweed is a blend of wool and cotton or wool and synthetic fibre. Higher double rubs will help reduce pilling.
A note about double rubs:
Most fabrics are given a double rub count. A double rub is the number of rubs a fabric can handle before it starts breaking down. It's an easy indicator of how durable the fabric is. Most fabrics range from 15,000 to 60,000 double rubs. Be sure to check the fabric's double rub count when shopping for fabrics.
Twill: Twill is typically made from cotton or wool and is woven on the diagonal. When mixed with other fibres, it has excellent stain-resisting properties.
Microfiber/Faux Suede: Microfiber is one of the most durable fabrics for upholstery. It's typically made from 100% polyester. It's easy to clean and is resistant to staining, fading, and watermarks.
Performance Fabrics: Performance fabrics have come a long way in recent years. Most performance fabrics are synthetic because they need to be extra durable to withstand wear inside and outside. We have a great selection of performance fabrics, from Décor-Rest and Palliser!
The 411 on Fibres
It's a good idea to do fabric research before you purchase any upholstered piece. Different materials wear differently, so it's important to know what your fabric is made out of, so you can make the best choice for you and your home!
Natural fibres are materials naturally sourced from plants and animals. Here are the most common ones:
Cotton: Great for pilling, fading, and withstanding wear, but not great for stains and wrinkles. If you blend it with other fibres, it can increase its durability!
Linen: Linen has a loose weave that feels and looks very natural. Linen threads are more susceptible to wear out because they're not tightly woven together, but some linens are heavier than others. It can be wrinkly and can stain easily.
Leather: Leather is an excellent choice for upholstery. It's durable, can withstand extensive wear, kids and pets, and is easy to clean.
Wool: Wool is very durable but can be challenging to clean. Blending it with synthetic fibres will increase its durability and ability to keep clean.
Synthetic fibres are manufactured and meant to imitate natural fibres but with extra durability. The great thing about synthetic fibres is that they don't break down as quickly as natural fibres do. They're easier to clean and are more stain-resistant. Unfortunately, synthetic fibres don't have the same breathability and softness that natural fibres have.
You get the best of both worlds with a blend of natural and synthetic fibres!
Polyester: Polyester is typically blended with other fibres to increase its durability.
Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a fabric that is coated in a polymer that gives the appearance of leather. It's lightweight, durable, and waterproof.
Rayon: Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric made from cellulose fibres, typically made from wood pulp.
Nylon: Nylon is resistant to staining and is one of the most durable upholstery fabrics.
Acrylic: Acrylic is a durable fibre that is great at resisting staining, fading, and wrinkling.
Olefin: Olefin is the perfect fibre for heavy use. Resistant to staining, abrasions, and fading.
Vinyl: Vinyl is a cheaper alternative to leather with comparable durability.
How does the type of fabric affect the cost?
Typically, tighter, denser weaves require more labour and thread count to construct, so while more durable, they're also more expensive. Velvets tend to be costly because they require more steps during the weaving process. Not only are the threads woven horizontally, but they also have short threads that run perpendicular to the fabric, creating that soft texture we know and love. And, as many of you know, leather tends to come at a higher price point as well.
It's the final touch that defines every seat – sofa, chair, recliner or sectional.
It determines the look, the style, and the way you interact with your furniture.
With Sawatzky's, you have the power to choose your upholstery from hundreds of leathers and fabrics available from a Canadian brand. Colour and finish are only the beginning; each cover option also brings its benefits and unique characteristics, ensuring that there's a perfect fit that will suit your furniture and lifestyle. Whether you want a white fabric sofa that will resist stains, a bright faux leather that will perfectly match your décor, or a brown leather sectional that will age gracefully over decades, we have you covered!
Of course, we encourage you to take home a swatch of any of our fabrics so you can get a better feel for the weight and weave. A swatch of fabric can aid you in getting comfortable with the material and ensuring its durability while still making sure they are super soft and luxurious!
The bottom line
Every fabric has advantages and disadvantages, and hopefully, now, with all of this information, it'll be easier to make a decision. We understand how all of these options can make for a difficult decision.
Here at Sawatzky's, you can count on our knowledgeable staff and in-house designers to help you find exactly what you're looking for!