All good classic tales have one thing in common – you have to kiss a lot of proverbial frogs to find your prince. In Cinderella, the glass slipper had to be put on quite a few feet before finding the right fit, and we all know Goldilocks had to nibble a few porridges before finding the one that was just right. It makes me wonder, what if Prince Charming had taken the time to look at the shoe size or if Goldy had just stopped to grab a snack before breaking and entering? When it comes to finding the perfect match there are ways to skip some of the hardships and make your way to a fairy tale ending, especially when it comes to upholstered furniture.
The first step to skipping to the good part is to think about what kind of commitment you want to make to your furniture. There are pieces that are meant for happily ever after and there are pieces that are meant as a prologue to an even greater story. When it comes to a “happily ever after” piece, there are a few ways to test whether an upholstered piece can stand the test of time. It all starts with a solid, high-quality frame. While these frames tend to be accompanied by a higher price tag, they are a wonderful investment for your home and will support you (and your family) for ages to come. Reupholster as your personal style evolves and you’ll get fresh looks from the same pieces for years. I’ve had the pleasure of assisting some of our clients replace sofas they’d purchased from us 20 years prior! A well-built frame won’t shift when you pick up a corner to inspect it, and its legs won’t wobble when you have a seat. A well-upholstered piece will have fabric that is pulled tight in all the right places, with patterns matched up just so (we call this flow-matching in the business). All these things point to a piece of furniture that will make for a lasting addition to your home.
A prologue piece (as I will now be referring to them) is a more affordable but still beautiful choice when it comes to furniture. Style and personal taste are ever evolving and there is no problem with not being ready to make a forever commitment. Sometimes the adventures we have ahead of us require us to move; we downsize and upsize throughout the years and our needs change, so too must our homes and many things in them! When picking a more cost-efficient frame, finding the perfect upholstery fabric becomes especially important since you might not plan on keeping the piece forever and reupholstering as your home evolves.
Once you’ve established the quality and price range in which you’d like to look, consider how you plan to use your furniture in your home. Is this going to be an evening relaxation spot where comfort is king and wear and tear are the norm, or a formal gathering place where you bring the pageantry of entertaining guests on a more sporadic basis? Will your piece be protected from the elements or placed by a sunny window? All these little details will write a larger story of what fabric and durability you will need. For high traffic, often used, and sunny spots, I always recommend using performance fabrics that are easy to clean and have extra protective finishes. Sometimes even outdoor fabrics, made to withstand lots of time in direct sunlight, are called for! Performance fabrics have come a long way in recent years – they have the same soft and luxurious feel of non-performance options. You can even find performance velvets (we have a number of options in the shop)! One quick tip – if you’re looking to keep your upholstered piece as-is for a while, consider opting for a small pattern in a neutral color. Regardless of the type of fabric you select, performance or otherwise, this will give you some texture and flexibility, and help camouflage any imperfections that pop of over time.
It is easy to still get overwhelmed by all the choices available even going into the shopping process armed with knowledge. I always say when in doubt – ask a designer! They will be able to assist in pinpointing your needs and finding a perfect fabric pairing for you. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Now is a great time during our 20% off Upholstered Furniture Sale (running through July 15th) to start looking for the next piece to add to your story. Until next time – happy decorating!