TIPS FOR SELECTING SOFA COVER
Choosing a fabric for your new slipcover doesn’t have to be a chore. A beautiful fabric — in a medium- or even a heavyweight, with a texture, pattern, and color you like, and the durability factors you need — is out there waiting for you. The upholstery fabric for a new sofa or armchair is a big investment—you don’t want to be second-guessing it a few months after the piece arrives on your doorstep. Choose the wrong material and you’ll find yourself battling snags and stains. If your head starts to spin when faced with myriad choices, having the basic necessities clearly in mind can keep you on the right track.Your furniture slipcovers need to complement your room, of course, but they also serve as a style element with which you can elaborate on a theme. You can echo colors from elsewhere in the room or break out with something bold and different yet still harmonious. Pick a color palette that matches your room and generally stay within its parameters, or pick out another color entirely based on the cool/warm paradigm.
TIPS FOR SELECTING SOFA COVER
Check to see whether the fabric has been treated with a stain- or flame-resistant or other type of finish. Some people like these additives and the utilitarian qualities they bring; others hate the smell that these additives can impart.
If your slipcover will be exposed to the sun all day, you want to pick a light or neutral color, which fades less quickly than a dark or bright color.
Linen is a traditional choice for slipcovers, but it may be too scratchy for your taste. Shiny fabrics such as satin and chintz reflect light and add a feeling of brightness, but they can be cold to the touch. Dull, matte, or napped fabrics such as wool or wool blends, velvet, and chenille are cozier and softer, but absorb light, so consider going for a brighter version of the color you have your heart set on. Crisp and stiff fabrics don’t mold well to curves in your furniture.
If you’re blessed with the pitter-patter of little feet — human, canine, feline, or otherwise — you need a miracle fabric that hides dirt, food, and fur, or one that’s easy to throw in the washing machine — sometimes even once a week.
A fabric with a tight weave stands up to everyday use better than a loosely woven fabric. It keeps its shape and repels dirt and stains. Test for a tight weave by holding it up to the light. If you have a sample at home, pull at either side to determine how much give (notable movement of fibers) it has.
Cotton or cotton-blend fabrics, such as chintz and toile or a silk or cotton damask, are easier to work with in mediumweights than in heavyweights; choose them for a less-used, formal area. A slipcover for a well-used piece of furniture — your family room or den sofa — might last longer in a heavier fabric, such as denim, corduroy, velvet or velveteen, or even brocade. If you don’t feel confident in how you or your sewing machine will handle a heavyweight fabric, try a mediumweight version of a tight-weave fabric, such as denim.
Fabric width is important to keep in mind when you’re making your choice. Decorator fabrics come in a standard 54- to 60-inch width, but you may be able to find fabrics even wider, in some cases 105 to 110 inches wide. Narrower widths are usually reserved for clothing.
TYPES OF FABRIC FOR SOFA SETS
For an instant update that is cost efficient, cotton twill is an ideal option. Twill is a tight weave that resists wear and can withstand high-traffic use for a number of years, making it a wise choice for a household with children or pets. Multicolored patterns show soil less than solid-color fabrics. Be careful not to place a cotton-covered sofa near any potential flame, however, as the fabric can be extremely flammable unless treated.
An option often found on sofas available in home furnishing stores, microfiber or microsuede is a relatively budget-friendly choice that works well with almost any style of room decor. Microfibers have some stain-resistant properties, and can be treated for added resistance, making clean up easy with a damp (but not too wet) cloth. The tight weave makes it resistant to pet claws, albeit not invincible. Microfibers are widely available in fabric stores in a variety of colors.
A high-density wool or poly-blend velvet is a sophisticated option that can withstand a lot of wear over the years. They are highly versatile fabrics available in a wide variety of colors that are cozy and inviting. The flame resistance of velvet depends on its make-up with some options considered highly flammable, so be sure to check the label before purchasing if the sofa will be placed near a potential flame.
Leather is a great option when durability is the highest concern and cost is not. It is a beautiful choice that works well in modern and traditional settings alike. It can be treated for stain resistance, and clean-up is simple with a damp cloth. If there are pets with sharp claws in the home, be wary allowing them on the leather. While it is highly durable, if a sharp object does cut through the leather, it is impossible to restore it to its original state.
If you’re looking to re-cover a sofa in a room that doesn’t get daily use, or prefer a luxurious look, there are a variety of upholstery fabrics with a satin look and feel that may be used. These looser-weave fabrics have more durability when they have a latex back, an option found in the fabric store’s upholstery section. While they may be more susceptible to tears, the latex keeps the tear from going through to the sofa’s interior, and may be easily repaired with a few hand stitches.