Design | How to choose fabrics for upholstery

Fabric and upholstery can often be seen as a ‘finishing touch’; something to be considered once the rest of your design is in place. On the contrary, we consider fabric to be an integral factor in the initial design process. Look around a room; it is often the soft furnishings that will define the aesthetic. From window dressings to sofa upholstery, we take a look at some key considerations to have in mind, including a few of our favourite suppliers. 

Practicality versus style

One of our most frequently asked questions is how to find balance between practicality and style. We understand that no home is a show home; we must choose fabrics that will be able to withstand daily life! Many of our clients with children will opt for more durable fabrics in the family rooms, and choose finer, more delicate fabrics for formal spaces such as a dining room. Cushions can afford to be less hardwearing, but we always recommend sofa upholstery be more structured and robust. Fabric houses will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail with you. A great tip is to always look out for the Martingdale Rub Count of a fabric. Anything under 18,000 will only be suitable for light, domestic use. It is worth investigating the various categories, from General Domestic to Severe Contract, which are used for high usage areas and commercial spaces. 

Dressing your windows

When it comes to window dressings, we believe quality is everything. A hand stitched pair of fully interlined curtains will last well beyond you tiring of the fabric and will hang with a beautiful drape. Curtains can be the point of difference between a house and a home; they can help to establish the aesthetic of the room and will add warmth to older properties. If function is a key factor, blackout blinds are perfect for a nursery or bedroom. Roman blinds are always a popular choice as they are timeless, elegant and cost-effective too. Be aware that if blinds are fitted within the recess of the window, they can block out a portion of light, even when not in use. We like to fit them above the window if the wall space allows. 

Our favourite fabrics

We are thrilled to be working with some new fabric houses, including one of our favourites, Fermoie. Designs are printed on exquisite Belgian linen using a beautiful palette of colours; these are works of art in themselves. Our founder Emma is particularly fond of Napoli Vintage Oyster by Libeco as seen below, a natural toned fabric creates a soothing cream palette with a linen wall covering in a darker neutral enhancing the cocooning feel of the four-poster bed. GP & J Baker’s Beidi Stone is another favourite, characterised by an organic pattern and neutral base. The heavy linen makes it ideal for large scale projects such as curtains or roman blinds.  

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