choosing upholstery fabric

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Choosing Upholstery Fabric For Interior Design

Some aspects of choosing upholstery fabric might seem pretty obvious such as selecting a color, the single biggest factor in fabric selection, or how it feels to touch. However, since it’s always good to put your need into account, here are some other factors Simplinteriors School of interior design think you might want to consider.

Fabric Durability

Sometimes durability is an issue and sometimes it isn’t. Every home is different, and often-even rooms within the same home can have different requirements.

But your fabric selection should reflect those requirements.

  • Choose a fabric based on who will be using your sofa. Consider leather as these can withstand heavy use.
  • Consider if your sofa will be placed in a high-traffic area of the home.

Woven patterns hold up longer than printed ones, as do higher thread counts and tight weaves. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric, and denser fabric lasts longer.

Fabric Style

Simplinteriors as an interior design company knows that each fabric has its own style so choose one that will look good not only in your home interior, but also on the sofa you are choosing.

  • Your fabric choice should approximate the style and character of the piece it is covering. For example, a traditional fabric would look better on a traditional style of frame. That said if you have an adventurous sense of style and know how to merge two very different ones together, go for it.

Some fabrics appear casual, while others might look more formal. Choose a fabric that echoes the style of your client or theme that you have established throughout the home.

  • Consider the scale of the pattern. It should be appropriate to the size of the furniture it is covering, as well as the room size. A large bold, pattern might work better in a larger room, while a more muted or smaller one might be a better choice for a smaller space.

Fabric Color

We have found out in Simplinteriors School of interior design that Often people choose color before making any other choices regarding a sofa fabric. Maybe it is because it makes the strongest impact and is the first thing we see when making a selection.

  • Color is the single most important reason people choose a fabric, so make sure your color choice is one you can live with happily for a long time. For instance, it may be best to avoid a very bold color for a smaller room, especially if your sofa is also large.
  • To strike the right mood, consider the color temperature. Since warm and cool colors affect the mood of the room, make sure you’re choosing the right fabric for the right mood.
  • Avoid using trendy colors, unless your client specifically asked for them. Color trends come and go so be careful.

Special Considerations

As an Interior Designer in Simplinteriors I know that there are some other factors that you should consider before you make a selection. And these have to do with the environment in which you’ll be placing your couch. Does the room get a lot of sun, or is there any dampness? Are there pets that share the furniture with the clients? Does anyone suffer from allergies?

  • Fade Resistance: Consider if your fabric is fade resistant especially if it will be placed in a room that gets plenty of sunlight, or will be placed close to a window.

Allergies: Consider fabric such as microfiber for certain allergies because it is lint free and does not attract dust.


We teach our student at Simplinteriors School of Interior design that there are three key elements of coordinating fabrics are color, pattern, and texture.


  • Color is the key element in coordinating fabrics. Look for a specific, closely matched color that can be the element of continuity from one fabric to all the others. This color should be very similar in temperature (cool versus warm), intensity and identity.


  • If possible, a second color that also is matched or closely blended will unify multiple fabrics from different sources.


  • Consider the background color and avoid mismatching


  • Vary the intensity. If every color is bright, the scheme is irritating and tiresome; if all the colors are dull, then boredom is the result. The Law of Chromatic Distribution verifies this approach: “The largest areas in the room are covered with the dullest or most neutralized colors of the scheme. The smaller the area, the more intense the chroma (brightness) proportionately becomes.” Simply put, largest areas dull, medium-size areas dull to medium bright, and smallest areas the most bright.


  • Generally, lightest colors above, medium values around the middle and darkest colors underfoot. As an Interior Designer in Nigeria Of course I know this rule may be broken for special effects, but it is always one that works and can be counted on for effective value distribution.


  • Colors should be either all warm or all cool, again with special consideration for the undertones.



  • When combining fabric patterns, this rule of thumb is consistently useful: One large scale pattern, one small scale pattern, one geometric, one stripe and one or more solid fabrics with texture.


  • Interior Designers in Lagos Nigeria know that Patterns establish themes, and most patterns can be easily categorized. Although there are many specific themes that deal with historic time and place, a simple way of testing a theme is to generalize the pattern using adjectives. By doing this, the other patterns in a design theme should fit into the same category of adjectives so cohesiveness is possible.

These adjectives suggest a psychological response, which is a key to their appropriate selection. Here are some examples:


  • Sophisticated, elegant, refined, genteel, high-quality, upscale, costly
  • Masculine, geometric, primitive, angular, earthy, rough, heavy, complex
  • Feminine, romantic, floral, soft, ethereal, painterly, lovely
  • Fun, bright, colorful, perky, spontaneous, lively, abstract


If choosing a pattern, consider the size of the design.  Smaller pieces like dining chairs or stools won’t show the full potential of a fabric with a large pattern.

Mix and match different patterns in the same room.  The key to contrasting patterns is to ensure each pattern is a different



  • Like pattern, textures evoke a neatly categorized and successful interior.


  • Smooth, refined textures grouped together are always choices that can be trusted for a formal setting. These include damask, refined sheers, satin and antique satin, velvet, brocade, brocatelle, lace.


  • Less refined and rougher textures combined yield a casual, earthy interior. Such fabrics are tweed, mate, casement, canvas, leather, boucle, pile fabric, corduroy, velour, homespun, flannel, tapestry, suede cloth.


  • Romantic textures include warp sateen, polished cotton, organdy, printed and textures sheers, satin and antique satin, taffeta and moiré, chiffon velvet or velour, chiffon textures (soft hand), taffeta, jacquards, lappet and other embroideries, lace.


Interior design is one of those careers much like fashion and entertainment that holds a very romantic notion that all you do all day is to create warm, comfortable, and interesting home environments for other people who seek the help of an interior designer.

According to SIMPLINTERIORS SCHOOL OF INTERIOR DESIGN SCHOOL IN LAGOSstyle, color, mood, harmony, contrast, comfort, convenience and fit likely come to mind when considering a new design. Interior designers mostly concern themself with more than just the visual or ambient enhancement of an interior space, however. It seeks to optimize and harmonize the uses to which the interior environment will be put.

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