When shopping for a new living room sofa, sectional, armchair or other upholstered furniture, it’s important to consider not just how they look but also how they’ll hold up to the wear and tear and everyday life. Factors like durability, stain-resistance and ease of maintenance will help you decide what type of fabric is best for your furniture. Let’s take a look at the benefits and downsides of a few common options.
Leather is one of the best options for people with young kids or pets. Durable and classic, it’s easy to clean with a vacuum or damp cloth. For more thorough cleaning, you’ll want to use a leather conditioner or saddle soap to ensure your leather sofa or leather sectional set looks good for years to come. Check out our past blog post on the topic for more information on whether leather is right for you.
You can get the look of leather minus the hide maintenance with a faux-leather fabric. While not as durable as genuine leather, faux leather can withstand scratches and scrapes better and is not prone to cracking or peeling. It’s also a much more affordable option if you’re working with a tight budget.
Another durable and popular choice, microfiber upholstery is easy to keep clean and stands up well to everyday wear. Microfiber is made of polyester, and there are other polyester-based upholstery options as well, including polyester canvas, some faux leathers, tweed and twill. Some polyester blends include natural fibers like cotton, which can be more prone to staining, so it’s important to check the sofa label for its exact composition. Microfiber furniture can also generate static and attract pet hair or clothing lint, which is a downside of the fabric.
Other Synthetic Fibers
Polyester is not the only synthetic fiber used for upholstery fabrics. Other made-made fabrics like olefin, rayon and nylon are often blended with other fibers to improve durability and stain-resistance. In general, synthetic materials are stronger and more practical than their natural fiber counterparts.
Cotton upholstery provides good resistance to wear and fading, but not much resistance to wrinkling and staining. In general, 100% cotton sofas can be a great choice aesthetically, but may not be right for active families with children or pets. Cotton canvas and certain cotton blends are more durable choices than softer cotton weaves like chenille.
Linen & Silk
While linen and silk are quite different fabrics, their downsides as upholstery options are similar. Both are best suited for formal, adult-only living areas that are free of kids and pets, since they won’t withstand heavy wear. Silk and linen furniture must also be professional cleaned if soiled, which is another reason why it’s not a good option for busy, high-traffic rooms.
3 Tips for Choosing a Sofa Fabric for Your Home
Now that you’re familiar with the pros and cons of some of the most popular sofa and couch fabrics, here are some additional tips for how to choose the material that’s best for your needs.
- Always consider how much use your sofa will get, as well as who will be using it. Toddlers, dogs and cats can be particularly rough on upholstery, so for family rooms and other busy areas, it’s best to choose a durable material like leather or microfiber.
- Fabrics with higher thread counts (number of threads per square inch) are denser and therefore more durable. To get the best possible strength and quality out of a fabric like cotton, opt for one that features a high thread count.
- To ensure your new sofa or sectional has a long life, we recommend applying a water-repelling upholstery protectant like Scotchgard. This will help create a barrier to reduce the chance that spills will stain your furniture.
While finding the right upholstery fabric for your sofa takes a little bit of time and effort, we make it easy for you at The RoomPlace! You can browse all our sofas, sectionals and loveseats by material when you shop online. And when you visit one of our showrooms in Chicago or Indianapolis, we’ll help you choose the fabric that makes the most sense for your home and lifestyle.