Which Fabrics to Choose?

People tend to equate fabric cost with product durability. That is not necessarily the case with furniture fabrics. I find there are two general classifications of upholstery fabric. Most common in upholstery shops are the supplier fabrics. They promote lower cost and have some decorative as well as durable designs. The less common decorator fabrics are usually higher in cost per yard, but do not necessarily wear better. These fabrics are more costly because they have designs that are unusual produced in limited quantities, there are less rolls to carry the cost of development.

The label on fabrics will sometimes have a “wear test” number. Most common wear testing is based on the Wyzenbeek test. A piece of fabric is rubbed against itself then examined for wear. 15,000 double rubs is considered contract duty with 30,000 double rubs and up are considered heavy contract duty. The majority of residential fabrics rate in the 12,000 to 15,000 range. Longer fabric durability literally means longer furniture fabric life. Choosing a high grade fabric from the start is the way to go so you won’t need to replace the worn and stretched looking material. Follow our other fabric posts to learn more about cushions, springs, designs and other furniture advise that took us years to learn.