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Fabulous Fabrics

 When you are looking at spending the money on new furniture you want to make sure it is going to last. There are many factors that figure into the cost of the furniture, but a major component to the cost is related to the quality of the fabric. For those of us not in the business, terms like rub count, and fiber vs fabric are foreign.  Let’s try to get a better understanding!


If you are planning to purchase something that will experience everyday wear and tear, durability is important. The higher the number of double rubs on the upholstery you select, (for example 150,000 vs 50,000) the more likely you are to get better quality and durability. An upholstery fabric’s durability is determined by how it rates on the manufacturer-administered double rub test, which is a back and forth motion that mimics the wear and tear of someone sitting on an upholstered seat over time.

For furniture like occasional chairs, or a bench or ottoman for the bedroom, the durability of the upholstery fabric may not be as important as they are not used as often as your sofa. When durability is not a key consideration look at silks, wools, linens or cotton fabrics.



Colour is one of the first things we consider when purchasing new furniture.  The pieces will be out in the open, visible to anyone in your home, you want them to look good, maybe even make a statement! The usage the furniture will see should also be considered when deciding on a color choice. Beige tones are a popular for hiding dirt as well as being a neutral colour that melds with many different décor styles.

Solid colours in lighter tones contribute to spacious ambiences and can help make smaller rooms feel big and airy. Bright colours and patterns can turn an average ottoman or chair into a bold statement piece that your friends and family will love.  Stains and dirt can also be hidden by the patterns, great with little ones who may spill their juice from time to time.

Fibers and Fabrics

Fibers make the fabrics.  Fibers can be used on their own to make fabric, however when combined the characteristics of each can create a more durable, quality fabric with a higher performance rating.



Cotton is a breathable, comfortable, and budget-friendly. Can fade easily. Not the best material on its own for furniture.

Linen is a Strong, breathable, and classic. Linen is more prone to stains and fading and should be considered for occasional pieces.

Wool, warm, wonderful wool. Terrific texture and just feels cozy. Wool keeps its shape well and is less resistant to stains especially when used in a blend.

Silk is a smooth and strong fabric but not typically recommended for everyday wear and tear in the family room.  Water stains alone can quickly mar the look of this sexy material.



Rayon on it’s own, is not very durable, but adds softness when blended with other fibers it contributes a softening to the end fabric.

Polyester is durable and easy to clean, but if the rub count isn’t high enough it may start to pill.

Nylon is also a very durable fabric, with a high resistance when it comes to abrasion and easy to clean.

Acrylic fibers are a great fibre for furniture that will get a lot of use. Highly durable, low fade, and easy to clean.

Olefin, like Acrylic, is great for furniture that will get lots of use. It is very durable, color fast, and easy to clean.



Combining Fibres Can Result in Fabulous Furniture Fabrics

Basketwear and Tweed fabrics are textured woven fabrics that hide stains and wear well. These fabrics are used on a variety of furniture pieces and come in a number of double rub ratings. Higher double rubs reduce pilling and fabric pulls.

Chenielles are an excellent fabric choice for heavier use furniture like sofas. Similar to velvet, it has a cut pile that improves resistance to abrasion resistance is very comfortable.

Faux Leather is great when you have children for high use furniture.  It is easy to clean but should be conditioned to reduce the risk of cracking.



Microfibers, Fauxsuedes and Ultrasuedes are polyester multi-weave fabrics that are easy to clean, with a strong surface abrasion treatment giving them a fuzzy, sueded pile that mimics real suede.  These are the perfect fabric for family rooms with children and pets.

Jacquard is a heavier fabric, made up of yarn dyed fibers that create a textured pattern. It is a good fabric choice for decorative or moderately used pieces of furniture.

Velvet has a dense cut pile, making it a luxuriously soft fabric with a sheen. Velvet stands up to heavy usage, and is an attractive fabric covering for small and large pieces of furniture alike.


Caring for Fabrics


You can’t throw your sofa in the washer when it gets dirty (if only!)  Most manufacturers do not recommend trying to clean your upholstery fabrics on your own, professional cleaning is the best way to ensure your fabrics are cleaned properly and your upholstery and other materials used in the construction of your furniture is not damaged.  To avoid having to have your furniture professionally cleaned too often, look for fabrics that are treated with stain repellents and fabric guards.  Spot cleaning should be able to address most messes without the pros.

With the options available in upholstery fabrics today its easy to find beautiful furniture that is built to last!






  • I’m looking for a sectional with a mid to dark green velvet. Do you have this?

    Maureen Weller
  • I am looking at your large curved lounge chair with a chenille or a corduroy fabric,bumps etc. Which fabric for durability softness and everyday use would you recommend?

    Jane Spence

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