How to choose upholstery fabrics

The quality of a sofa or bed is determined, firstly, by the design and materials, but also by the upholstery fabric. Many make the mistake of only looking at the colour of the fabric, without considering other important factors. To find the most suitable fabric, you should ask yourself a few questions before you even head out to the store. What is your lifestyle, how often will you be using your sofa, will your whole family be watching TV on it, will you be using it as a constant sleeping spot, will your pets regularly be curling up on it, etc.?

  • Textile, leather, or imitation leather? Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. Textile can feel better to sit on, but needs to be cleaned more frequently. Stains will be more obvious on solid-coloured fabrics, while patterned and embossed fabrics can mask them to a degree. Velvet fabric can be more of a hassle to clean than might be expected. Natural leather is easiest to clean, but requires regular care to avoid cracking. The furniture industry frequently uses fabrics produced with the help of modern nanotechnology, which are durable, user-friendly, and attractive. Bellfire furniture is upholstered using high-quality fabrics and imitation leather.
  • Fabric cleaning and care is essential if you want to keep your sofa or bed looking like new for longer. We recommend always asking the vendor how the fabric should be cleaned and cared for – and then, of course, following their advice. Textile-covered beds and sofas should be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner. This helps remove dust particles and dirt before they penetrate deep into the fibres of the fabric. Leather and imitation leather are easier to clean, but they also need regular care to maintain their beauty over time. Leather, for example, should be treated with special nourishing and protective waxes.
  • Resistance to abrasion is indicated by the material’s Martindale rating, obtained through the Martindale rub test. This number shows the wear resistance of the fabric. The higher the number, the more durable the material. In a home environment, the Martindale rating of a material should be 20,000 or higher. Of course, a lot depends on how intensively you use your furniture, what clothes you wear while sitting on the sofa, as well as how often and how you clean it. However, if your cat decides to use your new sofa as a scratching post, then we are afraid no Martindale rating out there can save you.
  • Texture and composition of the fabric. Eco-friendly and natural materials are the latest trend, but they are not always the best choice for upholstery. For example, full-wool upholstery fabrics are both environmentally friendly and pretty, but quickly start to “pill” and lose their attractive appearance. Natural fabrics also tend to fade faster and lose their vibrant colours. The modern furniture industry standard is a mixture of natural and artificial fibres. Such fabrics are usually better-looking and more durable, and they retain their vibrant colours longer without fading as fast in the sun.
  • Fabric as a design element is certainly more familiar ground for most people, and is an area where there are no strict rules. There are, however, some rules of thumb it may be helpful to follow. For example, in smaller rooms, it is best to choose a fabric that matches the carpet and curtains. In a larger room, meanwhile, a distinctly coloured sofa can be an interesting centrepiece. It all depends on your taste and what you wish to achieve. After all, home furnishing is an area where everyone can let their imagination run free. The results can be surprisingly delightful. Bellfire offers a wide variety of colour options for its upholstery fabrics, and there are many different types of fabrics to choose from, making it easier to find that perfect match.
  • The position of the sofa should also be considered carefully. Avoid placing your sofa in direct sunlight, as UV rays will cause the fabric to fade. It is, of course, a good idea to choose a more UV-resistant fabric anyway – for home use, a UV resistance rating of 4–8 should suffice. Only then can you be sure that your furniture will retain its vibrant colours for a longer period. As furniture coverings can also be damaged by heat from radiators, we recommend leaving a gap of at least 30 cm between radiators and upholstered furniture.

Bellfire only wants to offer you the very best. Customer satisfaction is important to us and we have worked hard to ensure it. That said, looking online is, unfortunately, not the best place to choose upholstery fabrics, because no image can substitute actually feeling the fabric under your fingers. At our store, we have around 400 different types of fabrics in a variety of textures, beautiful colours, and decorative patterns. Visit us in person to see samples of our fabrics. We are always ready to assist you if you need any advice or help with selecting furniture.

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