For a designer its often somewhat imperious to select a wafting silk or a pure white linen. However good designers realise their clients must live with the fabric selected and it may be the fabric is determined by the potential use of the furniture, its location and the degree of traffic a room may experience. Often choosing an easy to maintain fabric is a better long term choice.
Image source: Houzz
Here is a list of fabrics, both Natural and Synthetic reprinted from the Houzz.com.au website. It is a useful guide and at Wills Furniture we consider it reasonably accurate and useful.
- Cotton is durable and resistant to wear and fading, but not as resistant to dirt and wrinkling. Cotton can go from casual to formal depending on the weave.
- Cotton blends are slightly more durable than cotton due to the mix of additional fibres.
- Leather is durable and functional. It wears well and gets better with age.
- Linen is resistant to pilling and fading. It provides a crisp and casual look to furniture. However, it wrinkles and shows dirt easily.
- Silk is elegant and adds a sophisticated and formal touch to furniture. Due to its delicacy, it’s best for light use and requires professional cleaning.
- Wool blends with synthetic fibre for easier maintenance. It’s durable while also being resistant to pilling, fading, wrinkling and soil.
- Acetate is developed as imitation silk, and is resistant to pilling and shrinking; however, it doesn’t hold up well for everyday use due to its tendency to wear, wrinkle and fade in the sun.
- Acrylic is developed as imitation wool and may pill easily if not of high quality. However, it’s softer than natural wool, and is resistant to wear, wrinkling, dirt and fading.
- Microfibre fabric is made from polyester fibres, is similar to suede, and easy to maintain.
- Nylon is often blended with other fibres, creating a durable fabric that won’t wrinkle or soil but may fade and pill.
- Polyester is usually found in a blend with other fibres, and is resistant to wrinkling and fading.
- Rayon, though prone to wrinkling, is durable and affordable.
- Vinyl is durable and a more affordable option compared to leather.
Image source: Warwick Fabrics
Functionality and Reality
A clever designer will select fabric that not only looks superb but also wears well, is easy to maintain yet synchronises well with the style of the furniture and the decor and feel of the room you have selected.
Neutral tones and floral prints work well in a traditional space, while bright colours and bold patterns give off a more contemporary vibe. Your lifestyle also dictates your design. Here are four quick questions to ask while browsing upholstery fabric online:
• How long is this upholstery meant to last?
• How often will you clean and iron it?
• Where do you plan to use it – indoors or outdoors?
• Which style furniture pieces is this upholstery meant for?
At Wills Furniture we always advise our designers on fabrics and their properties , recommending the best in looks, appearance, quality and maintenance.
The choice is yours. Let it reflect your personality, your home and your vision.