Choosing the Best Material for Your Soft Furniture

Choosing the Best Material for Your Soft Furniture

Interior Design
By Dikran Seferian December 07, 2021

Soft furnishing is what makes a living space feel homey. The texture of the fabric provides comfort while the colors and patterns add value to an interior’s aesthetic. The right kind of material depends on your design choice as well as your lifestyle. Key factors such as durability, appearance, and price should be accounted for when choosing upholstery. A leather Eames chair, for instance, is best suited for a classy home study, whereas a polyester sectional is perfect for a family room where children and pets often spend their time. Once you’ve decided on the type of sofa and the style of the interior, the next step is to bring it all together with a suitable furnishing material. With the variety of fabrics available, getting familiar with each of them will allow you to make the best choice that resonates with your interior and matches your needs.

Cotton

In many households, cotton is the go-to choice for soft furnishing. You can find it in bedwear, drapery, and even towels. An ideal application for cotton is slip-covered sofas and sectionals.

Pros

Cotton is generally wallet-friendly, starting at $15 per yard. You can also find it in almost any color, making it a versatile option for pairing your sofa with decor. This material is also hypoallergenic, which is ideal for those with sensitive skin. Moreover, cotton is fade-resistant, breathable, and simply comfortable to the touch.

Cons

Cotton tends to get wrinkled rather easily, making it less ideal for furniture despite it being a popular option. Nevertheless, quick ironing can smooth out those wrinkles in no time. You may, however, want to keep dirt and stains away from your cotton upholstery.

Linen

An ideal choice for bed sheets, pillow covers, and cushions is linen. Its earthy texture makes it naturally elegant. Consider this material for slip-covered as well as scandi couches.

Pros

Due to its softness and ease of maintenance, this fabric makes for a perfect comforter. Moreover, linen allows for the affordability of intricate designs as it provides a variety of print fabrics.

Cons

One minor setback of this material is that it may shrink when washed — which might be an issue as it is known to be susceptible to stains. Another problem with linen is that it gets wrinkled easily. However, that might not be an issue because the wrinkles are believed to create a unique texture that is sought after by many. This fabric can also be slightly expensive, averaging at $30 per yard.

Advantages of Choosing Linen for Your Upholstery

Advantages of Choosing Linen for Your Upholstery

Suede

A thinner and softer material than leather, suede is a popular choice among interior and fashion designers alike. It can be a great choice for rustic furnishing due to its natural texture.

Pros

The durability and longevity of suede make it a perfect choice for settees, poufs, armchairs, as well as headboards. This material is also very pliable, making it easy to cover furniture with intricate surfaces. Moreover, the smoothness of suede gives it an attractive appearance.

Cons

The downside, however, is that suede is actually made of the underside of animal skin. This may not sit well with those who lead a cruelty-free lifestyle. Moreover, suede is not waterproof; and any damage from water may be irreparable.

Velvet

For a more luxurious look, consider going for velvet. You can use it on fauteuils, sofas, divans, cushions, and so on. The glamorous sheen of this fabric accentuates the form of your couch, creating a piece that makes a statement.

Pros

This elegant material is quite durable although it may seem otherwise. Moreover, it is pretty easy to clean — vacuuming it with the handheld nozzle is the best way to get rid of any trapped dust. The lustrous sheen of velvet creates a perfect contrast when incorporated among neutral pieces.

Cons

Make sure to keep your velvet furniture away from sunlight as the UV rays are known to weaken the material. This fabric may also hurt your wallet as you can expect to pay up to $55 per yard on average.

Fancy Fabrics for Your Furniture

Fancy Fabrics for Your Furniture

Silk

Silk can be an ideal choice for injecting a touch of royalty to your living spaces. Consider using this material to upholster dramatic furniture such as camelback couches, chaise lounges, and fauteuils.

Pros

Silk is known for its softness — divine, unparalleled softness. It is also known to be highly absorbent of moisture while remaining dry to the touch.

Cons

This Victorian style fabric, however, tends to be on the expensive side — be prepared to pay up to $60 per yard. You may also want to keep silk upholstery for low-traffic rooms to maintain its mint condition. Another drawback of this material is that it fades under sunlight; make sure to keep your silk-clad furniture away from windows.

Wool

If you’re looking to introduce warmth and texture with your furnishing, consider wool. You can use this fabric for sectionals, settees, cushions, in addition to bed linen if you’re living in colder areas.

Pros

This natural material is known to be highly durable and stain-resistant, making it ideal for high-traffic rooms. Additionally, wool has noise-reduction properties — this helps in creating a calm and comfortable living environment.

Cons

One disadvantage is that this fabric tends to develop a stubborn odor when it gets wet. It also tends to be somewhat expensive. Its price largely depends on the type of wool used, many of which are available on the market. If you’re on a budget, however, low-end varieties are also available.

Furnishing Material that Provides Comfort and Style

Furnishing Material that Provides Comfort and Style

Polyester

This synthetic material is widely used for sofa upholstery among other purposes. Although it does not sound very fancy, polyester can look rather stylish on track arm and tuxedo couches. One form of polyester that is also a common furnishing choice is microfiber.

Pros

Polyester is a budget-friendly fabric that offers durability and style. It is resistant to stains, wrinkles, as well as abrasion. Moreover, it is relatively easy to maintain and it dries quickly after washing. You may also find out that polyester doesn’t absorb smells, making it an odor free material.

Cons

Make sure to keep your polyester furniture in rooms with moderately cool rooms; the material is known to crack under fluctuating temperatures. It is also known to be flammable, so you might want to keep your candles away from polyester sofas.

Leather

If your budget allows for it, leather upholstery can add style and character to your furniture — especially when aged. Consider choosing this material for a chesterfield sofa to serve as a centerpiece item.

Pros

Known for its unrivaled durability, leather is a formidable option for high-traffic areas such as living rooms. This material is also pet-friendly since cleaning it is a breeze. Leather is also known to last for ages — to put it into perspective, a 5,500-year-old leather shoe was found intact a few years ago in a cave in Armenia.

Cons

However, this durability comes at a price. Expect to break the bank when using this material for your soft furniture. On average, this material costs up to $45 a yard. Leather is also known to be prone to cracks and stains. You can prevent the former by occasionally treating the material with leather conditioner. Like suede, leather comes from animal skin. If you prefer an ethical alternative that looks and feels the same, consider faux leather.

Pros and Cons of Leather Upholstery

Pros and Cons of Leather Upholstery

Faux Leather

For those who are looking for the durability and aesthetics of leather but prefer a cruelty free option, faux leather can be a formidable alternative. It is manufactured from synthetic materials and can have the same applications as real leather.

Pros

Besides being a cruelty-free option, synthetic leather is also less expensive than its authentic counterpart. It is also resistant to UV rays — which means you don’t have to worry about placing your faux leather settee near a window. New types of faux leather are now available in natural materials. One example is Swedish Koskinn, which is basically cork leather made of oak trees. You can even find ocean leather made of kelp.

Cons

Synthetic leathers that are made of PVC material can be rather hard to clean and are known to retain heat in a room with high temperatures. Unlike real leather, the simulated option actually contains allergenic properties. Faux leather made of natural materials, however, do not exhibit these disadvantages — but you may have to spend a little more.

Chenille

Consider going for chenille if you’re looking for a material that provides both practicality and aesthetic value. It consists of tufted threads that are made of either natural or synthetic fibers. The softness and elegance of chenille make it ideal for recliner and sleeper sofas.

Pros

Chenille is an incredibly soft and durable material that is highly coveted as a furnishing option. It can stand a great deal of traffic while maintaining its quality for years. In addition, you’ll find out that this material is available in a large variety of colors — this makes it a versatile choice for interior design. Above all, chenille is fairly affordable; you can furnish your favorite recliner couch for $25 a yard.

Cons

Chenille is known to be a highly stretchable material — don’t be surprised if it loosens up on your couch after a few years. Another setback is that the long fibers of the fabric tend to catch a lot of dust and debris.

Soft Furnishing Materials That Don’t Break the Bank

Soft Furnishing Materials That Don’t Break the Bank

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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