When buying new furniture or fabric to re-upholster furniture, you might not be thinking of the actual material you are purchasing. Instead, you are probably paying more attention to the pattern, color, and price of the couch, or fabric, you want. However, this could be a big mistake. Couch fabrics fall under three different categories: natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and leather.
Natural fibers come from animals, plants, and minerals, while synthetic fibers are man-made fibers meant to mimic natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are also meant to be stain-resistance. The leather is made from the skin of animals.
Natural fibers include linen, wool, silk, and cotton. The leather is often put into the natural fibers category. Synthetic fibers include polyester, nylon, acrylic, olefin, rayon and acetate. Being aware of the different types of couch fabric is important. When purchasing furniture or fabric, you want to consider where the furniture is going to be in the home, and how it is going to be used.
Couches that are made out of linen and silk should only be used in formal living rooms because they are not the toughest of fabrics. Linen wrinkles and gets dirty quickly. It won’t last long when being used often. Silk is even more delicate. It ruins easily, and should only be cleaned professionally when dirtied; otherwise, you run the risk of ruining it completely.
Leather, cotton, wool, and vinyl are fantastic fabrics for couches that receive heavy use. The leather is easy to clean, and can be vacuumed and wiped when needed. Although in hot weather, it can become sticky and uncomfortable to sit on.
Cotton and wool are fairly resistant to fading and wear on the fabric. However, wool is better at resisting dirt and wrinkling than cotton. Vinyl is one of the best couch fabrics for informal family rooms, as it’s easy to take care of, and is cheaper than other materials.
Rayon is a fabric imitation of silk, linen, and cotton. Unlike silk, rayon is considered to be durable, but it is susceptible to wrinkles. Acetate is a good substitute for silk, as it’s a good imitation, but is resistant to mold and shrinking. It is also more resistant to dirt and wrinkles than silk is. However, it still shouldn’t be used for couches consistently used.
Polyester and nylon are often blended in with other fibers to make couch fabrics more durable. They tend to be more resistant to wrinkling and fading. Acrylic is a substitute for wool and is resistant to dirt, wrinkling, and fading. Olefin is possibly the strongest of the synthetic fibers. It’s great for couches that are going to be heavily used. Olefin is resistant to staining, fading, and chemicals.
As you can see, being familiar with the different types of couch fabrics is important. If you’re buying fabric for a couch that is going to be used every day by kids and pets, you need to purchase a durable fabric such as olefin or vinyl. You don’t want to purchase fabric that you’re going to have to constantly replace.