Upholstery 101: Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Sofa


Homeowners are often reluctant to get rid of a good piece of furniture. That old couch may have a lot of memories or maybe crafted from the finest quality wood. Either way, if your old sofa is in need of some repair, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals for the job. Let’s check out how you can choose the right fabric for your sofa.  

The Details

  1. Budget – It all starts with the budget and how much you’re willing to spend on that new fabric. Your budget will determine your choice or guide it for the most part. Even if you have an old and cheap frame, you can get it reupholstered in gorgeous pieces of velvet or other fabrics as long as there’s no structural damage. 

While you may not be limited by the material when you have a tight budget, the color and patterns will be limited. Manufacturers are able to keep the cost of luxurious materials low when they achieve economies of scale and dye the fabric with a handful of popular neutral colors. That’s impossible when the pattern or color is in limited demand, moreover, the cost can skyrocket if you choose a custom pattern. 

You should also pay attention to the sofa frame and cushions while choosing the fabric. If you’re renewing an old couch that has premium quality wood and metal on the frame, then it will last for quite some years. The same holds if the sofa has high-quality cushions that are still in good shape. In that case, you can think in the long term and extend your budget to get a premium fabric. Otherwise, it’s best to stick with the budget options. 

  1. Wear and tear – The way you plan to use the sofa will also dictate the sofa fabric you buy. Will the sofa occupy a quiet corner of the room where it’s mostly unoccupied and is used sparsely? Or, is the sofa going to be in a busy room where you’ll sit or lay down for countless hours and sip wine that will inevitably be spilled? 

If the sofa isn’t going to be used a lot, then you can go for fancy and delicate fabrics that are textured and wool infused. Otherwise, it’s best to stick with a cotton fabric that is smooth and can be washed easily. For heavy use, you can also get corduroys, microfiber blends, and other types of durable materials. They fare much better than fabrics like chenille or velvet which require a lot of care and attention.  

Whether it’s utilitarian or for luxury, it’s best to go for the mid-range in both low and high-budget segments. For instance, even if you’re going for cotton fabric, make sure that it has a high thread count. The thread count matters a lot since it decides the longevity and the comfort of the fabric. 

Another thing that will wear down the sofa upholstery is sunlight. If you plan to keep the sofa in a well-lit room with plenty of direct sunlight, then it’s best to choose a light-colored fabric that is resistant to shade. On the other hand, dark fabrics should be reserved for dark and shaded rooms where they won’t fade out. 

  1. Pets – You’re furry friends also need to weigh in when you choose the sofa fabric. Fabrics made of a blend of natural fibers are quite tactile and have a fluffy texture that’s pleasant to the touch. However, they are going to bring a lot of physical and metaphorical pain if you suffer from allergies. 

Long natural fibers have a lot of super tiny gaps for trapping pet hairs, dust, and debris. Even after you clean them thoroughly, they are going to have a lot of dust by the next day. It’s a level of dust and hair that won’t even be visible during regular use. However, they will trigger allergies. If you suffer from allergies, make sure to choose a smooth and synthetic blend like faux suede. 

  1. Fabric color – Your design choice and the overall aesthetics of the room will decide the fabric color and pattern. If you’re looking forward to making the sofa stand out, you need to choose a color and pattern that stands out from the floor and the wall. Your sofa has the potential to become the focal point of the room and that’s why the upholstery can make a dramatic difference. 

For instance, if you have a room with neutral-toned walls, you can choose a bright and bold color for the sofa fabric. However, that will make the fabric more prone to stains and blemishes. In that case, you need to make sure to choose removable covers or upholstery that’s pre-treated to repel stains. 

If you want the middle ground, you can choose the safe gray color. It’s inoffensive and secures a place in any setting. It can match up with any color scheme and is dark enough to cover marks and stains.    

  1. Patterns – You need to be very careful while choosing a sofa fabric with a pattern. A large sofa is not the same as a two-seater and requires different treatment. Large sofas look excellent in plain fabrics that have subtle textures. On the other hand, smaller couches look great in a pattern since that’s the only way for them to stand out in a big room. 

If your sofa is large and you have a family of four or more, a subtly patterned fabric may be unintuitive, but ideal. That’s because patterned fabrics are better at hiding stains and marks. As long as the budget allows, you can also choose a bunch of removable upholstery with both plain and patterned fabric. 


Choosing the right sofa fabric isn’t rocket science. You just need to keep the above-mentioned things in mind and choose one that suits your taste and other requirements. If you need the help of professionals to reupholster that old sofa, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire pros.



July 2024