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Choosing the Best Upholstery Fabric

   
 

When choosing upholstery fabric, you should initially consider how extensively the piece of furniture is going to be used and by whom. Living room furniture subjected to kids and pets needs to be covered in durable, stain-resistant fabric while furniture placed in dens or foyers do not require such dense, strong material. Appropriate upholstery fabrics for furniture in high-traffic areas include woven or tweed fabrics made with a rayon/cotton blend or nylon/cotton blend. Consulting a professional New York/Brooklyn area upholstery company can help you decide which furniture fabric best suits your needs.

Before purchasing upholstery fabric, find out how many "threads per inch" exist in that particular piece of fabric. The higher number of threads there are per inch, the longer the fabric tends to last. In addition, a knitted or woven fabric pattern containing colored threads depicting the pattern is more durable than fabric that has a painted-on pattern. You can tell whether a fabric has painted-on patterns by looking on the reverse side of the fabric. If you can't see the pattern, or if it is much paler than the other side, then the fabric does not contain a woven pattern.

Easy to Clean Upholstery Fabrics
Although upholstery fabric made with natural fibers--specifically, cotton, wool and silk--tend to rapidly absorb stains, they are easier to clean than synthetic fibers. Upholstery made of rayon, nylon, olefin or polyester is often stain-resistant but more difficult to clean. Stains containing food coloring (candy, popsicles, cake icing) may need special cleaners and equipment in order to eliminate the discoloration it causes completely from the upholstery. When shopping for fabrics, find the cleaning tag that should have instructions and find out if it is requires water or solvent for cleaning purposes.

Types of Upholstery Fabrics

Rayon
Versatile and capable of accommodating a wide variety of colors, rayon is the most commonly used synthetic upholster fiber. When combined with cotton, rayon adopts a soft, comfortable feel perfect for that living room sofa and chair. Rayon also offers excellent resistant to wear and fading caused by sunlight but is slightly less resistant than other upholstery fabrics when it comes to mildew or grease. Furniture covered with rayon that sits in humid areas may therefore tend to develop a musty odor after a period of time.

Nylon
As a resilient and soil-resistant fabric, nylon is a popular choice for upholstery fabric due to its extremely strong fibers and ability to combat fading. However, it is not as absorbent or soft as other synthetic fibers so may be a good fabric to use in households without children. Other characteristics of nylon include its durability, its resistance to mold, rot or insect damage and the fact that it melts rather than burns. Because of its strength, nylon is utilized in seat belts, carpets and military items.

Olefin
Softer than nylon but highly durable and abrasion resistant, olefin is a synthetic upholstery fabric that provides long-lasting color unless subjected to constant, strong rays of sunlight. It appears wool-like and is made from petroleum products, which allows it to be either dry-cleaned or washed. Olefin is used in clothing as well as industrial and automotive applications.

Cotton
Cotton is usually blended with another type of fabric when use in upholstery. Although many people like the feel of cotton, as well as its absorbency, strength and ability to accept almost any kind of dye, it soils quickly and wrinkles unless pre-treated with cotton-specific solutions. Additionally, pure cotton fabrics will fade in sunlight and is not resistant to mildew. However, it is easy to clean, which makes it a good choice for often-used furniture.

Other types of upholstery fabric include leather, velvet, suede and silk. These fabrics are considered mainly as decorative and are predominantly used to re-upholster antiques or rarely used furniture. Discuss the type of furniture you are refurbishing with a New York/Brooklyn reupholstering company before deciding which kind of fabric you purchase to avoid buying the wrong kind.

 
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