Is your well-worn furniture in need of a refresh? Upholstery fabric for a new sofa or armchair can be quite a big investment (normally depending on which fabric you choose). The choice of upholstery fabric is one factor that you don’t want to be second-guessing it for a few months after the furniture arrives in your home. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong material you can then find yourself battling against snags and stubborn stains. If you make a mistake when it comes to selecting the color or the pattern of your fabric then, unfortunately, the whole design of the room can be compromised. At Kensington Design we always recommend that before picking your new upholstery fabric that you should consider it in terms of durability, comfort and then the style. To help, we have compiled a guide on how to hone in on a fabric choice for your upholstery that you will be happy to live within your home for years to come.

The Importance of Upholstery:

Upholstery is essentially the materials – which include fabric, padding, webbing, and springs. These are all factors that make up the soft coverings of chairs, sofas and other furniture in UK. The process of upholstery began in the Middle Ages and grew in popularity during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Over the years a wide variety of materials have been used, from hay to horsehair to wool. Most of the time, modern upholstered items use metal springs and foam to increase greater durability. Whilst the interior of these materials may not be visible, they always make the biggest and most important difference in whether the piece is comfortable. Although fabric can always be changed – and may need to be, depending on the wear and tear – choosing high-quality inner layers will help ensure that your furniture will last for years to come.

importance of upholstery

Choosing the Best Upholstery Fabric:

As you begin to search for an upholstery fabric we advise clients to let their practical needs lead the course of choosing the desired fabric. Firstly we ask the client to consider how they live and who will be using the piece of upholstered furniture as this will greatly guide you on the type of material you will be wanting to choose. Although you may adore the look of silk velvet, we still have to remain in mind that a fabric such as this would get quickly destroyed in a household full of children and pets. Furniture pieces in high-traffic areas, such as living rooms, will need durable fabrics. Furniture that doesn’t get as much wear and tear, such as a bedroom occasional chair or headboard, can tend to sport any type of textile.

One mistake we have seen clients make in the past is to not consider how a fabric or leather may age over time. We advise clients and customers to always check the fabric information (its wash care, composition, Martindale rating etc.) Feel free to ask as many questions about the fabric and then determine how much maintenance you’re prepared to do to protect or clean your fabric selection. Think of questions for yourself such as: will you be willing to vacuum the fabric regularly? Will you ensure to close the curtains when away and not using a room in order to avoid some of the fading that naturally occurs from exposure to sunlight?

best upholstery fabric

Best Upholstery Fabrics for Homes with Kids and Pets:

In some households, there are some living rooms where it is used only for special occasions or guests only due to the expensive and delicate nature of the fabric and furniture in that room. However, today there are plenty of upholstery materials that combine beautiful aesthetics with great durability. For children, pets and perhaps even for red wine lovers, we suggest the easy-care of faux suede or the durability of an indoor/outdoor fabric. We are also able to offer clients slipcovered upholstery – this is a great alternative if you want to wash your upholstery fabric at home or have it dry cleaned every so often. Distressed leather is another great covering option as you then don’t have to worry about the occasional scruff or scratch. If you do have a busy household then we always advise clients to stay away from delicate or textured options such as silk, which can easily pull and aren’t as forgiving when it comes to getting out stains.

best fabric for kids and pets

Luxury Upholstery Material:

If small children or pets aren’t a worry in your household you are in full freedom to pick from a much wider choice of fabrics in London. One of our most favored but decadent fabric picks is a fluffy Tibetan wool or Belgian linen. Whilst linen is very durable, in lighter colors it doesn’t offer the level of stain resistance that a kid-friendly household might need and may not have a crisp, wrinkle-free look after a lot of lounging on. If you may be worried about the upkeep or cost of the fabric then these fabrics can always be used on soft furnishings such as throw cushions, which can also be swapped out if they gain wear and tear or if a new interior design trend comes along.

luxury upholstery material

Consider Your Piece:

When choosing your fabric, always take the shape and style of the furniture into consideration. If you are upholstering a curvaceous piece of furniture then we tend to advise clients to choose solid-colored fabrics as patterned or textured fabric may not look great once it has been custom cut and put onto your sofa. It is also important to take the size of the furniture into account also. At Kensington Design we love larger pieces, such as a sofa in either a rich and solid color or in a classic neutral. We find these fabric color choices to be the ones that clients do not tire with over the years. However, if you do feel like livening things up a little then think of smaller pieces. For example, choose a great statement fabric and have it upholstered onto an occasional chair – bolder shades and patterns will add color and interest to any space in the home.

consider you piece

A favorite sofa or chair traditionally made is always worth repairing and re-covering. The transformation has delighted our clients over and over again. In addition, we offer a bespoke upholstery service as well as in house designs ready for immediate despatch. Located in the heart of Kensington, we are happy to help with any fabric or upholstery inquiries. Please feel free to email us here or pop in store for a chat with one of our highly talented in-house interior designers.