Upholstery Fabric: How Do I Choose?

At ABC Blind & Drapery, our services include both furniture upholstery and reupholstery. We’ve covered what items would benefit from a fabric update, but there is a particular question we have yet to address, “How do I choose the right upholstery fabric for my piece?”

To Upholster or To Not Upholster

It is important that our clients understand that in some cases the upholstery of a piece can cost more than the initial price and that no amount of upholstery will recover the structure of an ill-made piece of furniture. We will most certainly lay out the cost and assess the current condition of the furniture beforehand. Although, we do understand that some items hold sentimental value. We will do our best to restore any family heirlooms to their original splendor. Our role is to provide our clients’ with upholstery fabric options and convey the pros and cons of each.

What To Consider

While it’s completely natural to base your initial decision solely on available patterns or colors, there are other factors to be considered.  Our designers take into consideration: the purpose of the piece of furniture, how often it will be utilized, and the expected lifespan of the piece.  We want to select the best upholstery fabric for your needs.

Selecting Upholstery Fabric

The purpose of the piece, where it will be placed and how often it will be used, all relate to how durable the upholstery fabric needs to be. The way we measure durability is with the “Wyzenbeek method” which counts the number of “double rubs” (running your hand back and forth counts as one) a material can withstand before tearing. The majority of upholstery fabrics for residential use measure at 15,000 double rubs, while commercial fabrics tap out at 30,000 double rubs. Beyond at what point the fabric will actually tear, there is also the possibility of the fabric fading depending on where the piece is placed. If the piece is near a window, we recommend you opt for a fabric that is fade resistant. If the piece is intended for both indoor and outdoor use, there are specific fabrics designed for this purpose. Rest assured, indoor-outdoor fabrics have come a long way in recent years and can be both durable and flattering.

Durability isn’t necessarily a deciding factor for a chair that you only use on occasion and don’t expect to have around forever. However, it is a concern for investment pieces that will be used on a daily basis. Our designers will help you make a selection that will look great and last as long as you need it to. When visiting our showroom or making an appointment with one of our designers, feel free to request samples of our work. We want you to know that you, and your beloved piece, are in expert hands.