How to Choose the Best Upholstery Fabric for Your New Sofa

Discover an Exclusive Fabric Selection at Our Furniture Store in Kansas City

Take it from me: Upholstery holds a lot of power in interior design. I know firsthand just how dramatically a different colored, patterned, or textured fabric can change the look and feel of an entire room. Upholstery choices can transform a light and airy canvas into a space with moodier, bold style.

Your sofa is one of the largest pieces of upholstered furniture in your home and makes a statement whether located in a living room, sitting room, den, or lounge. With this in mind, it’s that much more important your sofa showcases the right fabric.

At Nell Hill’s, we carry a vast upholstery fabric selection to suit every style, meaning you have all the options you could ever need right at your fingertips. While our design consultants will work with you to determine the best solutions for your lifestyle, having some of your own background knowledge on the subject never hurts.

Good news: I have the inside scoop. The team and I sat down to discuss our recommendations for choosing the best upholstery fabric for a new sofa. Ready to dive in?

Consider Your Sofa’s Usage

Thinking about how often your sofa will be used can help inform the type of upholstery fabric you should select. Will your sofa occupy an entertainment space where wine may inevitably be spilled during a dinner party? Or will your young ones use it to stage their wrestling matches? If you answer yes to either of these, a performance fabric is your best upholstery choice.

Tightly woven fabrics are easier to clean and more resistant to pilling and holes – necessary attributes if you have a lot of high-traffic areas in your home like me. But don’t worry – durable doesn’t mean uncomfortable. Scratchy and stiff performance fabrics are a thing of the past. Today’s options are far more soft and flexible in addition to being easy to clean.

On the other hand, if your sofa will be quietly tucked away in a library or home office, the sky’s the limit on upholstery fabrics. With fewer opportunities for wear and tear, you can indulge in a more luxurious or higher-maintenance covering, like linen, wool, or velvet.

The Best Upholstery Suits Your Space

While a sofa commands a room, its upholstery must be harmonious with the rest of the space. A traditionally decorated room with a modern, geometric-printed sofa doesn’t quite work. That’s an extreme example, but you get what I’m saying.

Because textiles are available in countless different styles, it’s crucial to consider how a fabric will fit in with the rest of your space. This is, of course, easier said than done, but thankfully, our design consultants can help keep you on the right track and ensure your new piece of upholstered furniture seamlessly integrates with your current decor.

Select Color and Pattern with Care

Color and pattern are the factors that most people focus on when it comes to choosing the best upholstery fabric for their sofa. And for good reason! You want to pick a hue you’re sure you’ll love for years to come.

Many people tire of bold and trendy choices after a few years – and some options can even date a room faster. For many, sticking with more neutral tones that still complement your space is a solution with longevity. You can then use accessories like decorative pillows and throw blankets to add pops of color and participate in design trends.

Maybe you already know what color sofa you want, though. In this case, what shade should you choose? If you’re looking for a spot of practical advice, lighter colors help a room feel bright and airy, while darker tones add visual weight to a space.

If you’re also wondering whether you should opt for a solid or patterned fabric, it comes back to how your sofa will be used. In general, patterns are ideal for concealing accidental spills and other mishaps. A spot of juice or wine on a solid fabric can leave a more noticeable ring. But that isn’t the only reason to choose a patterned beauty!

Other Important Upholstered Furniture Considerations

In addition to color, style, and durability, there are a few other aspects you may want to consider before choosing an upholstery fabric. Will your sofa be in an overly sunny or humid part of your home? Do your kids and pets make spills and other mishaps all-too-common occurrences?

Here are my suggestions for these scenarios:

  • The Best Upholstery for Sunny Windows: If your room gets a lot of sun, some textiles are more susceptible to fading. Look for fade-resistant fabrics.
  • The Best Upholstery for a High-Humidity Area: We all know how muggy Kansas City summers can be. Your sofa may benefit from a mildew-resistant (indoor/outdoor) fabric if your space is prone to being especially humid.
  • The Best Upholstery for Spill-Prone Homes: If your family includes little hands and paws, you’re probably no stranger to experiencing household stains. Performance fabrics are the ideal upholstery solution. Using stain-resistant textile finishes, these fabrics clean up quickly and easily.

Shop Upholstery Fabric Near You at Our 18,000-Square-Foot Showroom

I hope this advice has been helpful, but of course, the best way to find the perfect new upholstered piece for your space is to visit us in-store! One of our design consultants will be happy to explore options with you and help you create a look you adore.

Walk-ins are always welcome at our showroom located in Kansas City’s Briarcliff Village, but an appointment is strongly encouraged for custom consultations. Book yours today by calling (816) 746-4320 or sending us a message. We can’t wait to see you soon!

Until next time – happy decorating!