Upholstery fabric types for kids

I visited a client’s home this past week and I always tease her that I’m afraid to touch anything in her home.  That might sound silly because I helped design the home for her but everything is white, and yes, she has children….

I know what you’re thinking. Impossible. But the truth is, it’s easier than ever these days to have any color you want on your furniture. Most of my clients are looking for something that can withstand all the joys (and messes) of everyday life, but they are in love with the fresh light interiors dominating social media. Call it a new breed of moms, but they arent interested in trying to keep their kids out of certain rooms because they are “too pretty”. My clients want their home to look amazing and wear even better.  

So how do we deliver?  Whether you’re looking for something that can hold up to jumping, eating, napping, fort creation, or a good old-fashioned snuggle fest, an understanding fabric is the key to finding stylish and durable furniture in any room in your home.

It all starts at the fiber level

To find your fabric soulmate, let’s start with the basics, all fabrics are made up of fibers. Fiber is the thread that builds the fabric structure. Generally speaking, fibers can be categorized into one of two groups — either natural or synthetic.

Everybody seems to have some sort of knowledge when it comes to the basic natural fibers.  Restoration Hardware has made linen famous over the past few years and Pottery Barn has used cotton canvas slipcovers as their staple since the beginning of time.  Even leather makes its way into many of our clients’ homes — especially if we are placing a coffee table/ottoman in a family room.  But I think the world of fabric choices becomes much more complicated when you start looking for fabrics that will withstand more than people looking at them and actually hold up to someone sitting on them. 

Upholstery fabric types for interior

Enter Synthetic Fibers

I’ve added a quick tutorial below. Why? Well, I actually had to look this info up so I sounded like knew what I was talking about! Which is even funnier because my textiles professor in college told us all “you’ll need this info some day.”

Acrylic: Acrylic is often used as an alternative to wool. It holds color well and resists shrinkage.  

Nylon: Typically found in a blend, nylon is relatively resistant to both stains and fading.

Olefin: Very commonly used in furniture and well-known for its durability and functionality.  

Polyester: Strong and durable, polyester comes in many different options including microfiber, faux leathers, velour and satin, tweed, and other textured finishes.

Don’t worry I’m still confused too!  The nice thing about the fabric industry is that it kindly prints each fabrics durability right on the label.  All I generally look for when considering durability is if there are synthetic fibers present.  If the answer is yes, then I am on the right track!

But don’t think these amazing synthetic fibers also protect your precious furniture from stains.  My client’s white furniture might be as strong as can be, but without a stain repellent, it would never last — not even one day.

Upholstery fabric types

Treatments for Strength

In most instances, it is possible to treat your upholstery for added stain protection.  For me, the ability to clean my furniture so it looks new again and guard against stains is almost more important than the durability of the fiber itself.  Manufacturers have caught on to how important this is to today’s consumer and you can now purchase and apply a fabric protection such as Teflon or Duraguard before it is even placed on your piece of furniture.  

But my favorite bullet proof fabric of the moment is Crypton fabric.  While Crypton is a common name when it comes to commercial-grade upholstery, it’s only recently grown in popularity in residential interior design.  Crypton is a synthetic fabric with built-in stain repellency, odor resistance, and abrasion resistance. Unlike the treatments mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about reapplying, or the treatment wearing off, Crypton’s durability starts at the fiber level.  If this sounds too good to be true and you’re wondering about toxins, there’s good news! Crypton is also Greenguard gold certified — which has been the industry standard for the LEED credit for low emitting furniture since 2002.

Did I just get too technical? To put it simply, you can find a synthetic blend Crypton fabric that looks just like a linen but will wear like a canvas and resist stains like a champ. So stop waiting for the kids to “grow-up” to create a beautiful home and take the additional fabric IQ points you just gained to find the perfect fabric for your home!

Need help creating your beautiful but livable home? Stop into our design studio, Peltier Home, 1011-A Mission Street in South Pasadena, California to get started!