How to Choose the Best Fabric for Your Upholstery

Velvet, cotton, mohair, oh my! There are so many different types of fabric out there that I couldn’t possibly name them all. Fabrics all have their own qualities that make them better or worse for certain uses. Read on to learn how to select the best fabric for your upholstered furniture.

1. Start with the Function of the Piece

While it can be tempting to first decide you want a mustard yellow velvet sofa (swoon!), it’s important to first establish what your needs for the furniture pieces are. Do you plan to eat on or entertain company with this furniture? Stain resistant and performance fabrics may be a priority for you. Or, maybe this piece will be aa focal element in your home where you splurge and want a bold design. Mohair or hand-woven prints might be the key! Other factors such as high traffic flow and direct exposure to sunlight are also key points to consider.

2. Consider Material Quality & Performance

All fabrics are rated with a “rub-count” number which they are given after a Martindale Test. Essentially, this test determines how many “rubs” the fabric can withstand before starting to ware down. The higher the number the higher the durability, makes sense right? Linens often hold a lower count while polyesters and blended fibers often have a higher count. Notice how fabrics used in commercial spaces, cruise ships, and hotels often feel rougher than softer fabrics and sheers found in your neighbors house? Well, now ya know why! There are also commercially rated fabrics, meaning a fabric must have a certain number or higher on the Martindale to be viable for commercial use, but that’s a discussion for another time.

BlackBird Society, Dallas. Photo by Aaron Doughtery 

3. Select Color, Pattern &Style

Ok, now it’s time for the fun part. Once you’ve determined the types of fabrics that would be appropriate, you can begin looking at the different color and pattern options. Mixing patterns and colors is A-ok in my book; a few golden rules Kozy lives by: no more than 3 colors per room (ok, 3 “ish”) and pair any large print pattern with a small print. Capesh?

Santa Barbara Modern Bedroom
Santa Barbara Modern Bedroom Shop the look!

So there ya go! If you feel overwhelmed, a good place to start is by looking through the other colors and patterns in your home. What are you usually drawn to? Are there any furniture pieces that haven’t stood the test of time or look run down and drab? Use my pointers above when selecting fabrics in your next go around and if all else fails, Kozy is only a phone call away.

If you’re ready to create a home you love, we would be delighted to help. Reach out to us and let’s chat about your project. 
Stay kozy,

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