How To Dress
One of the most confusing things in furniture shopping can be how to dress your new sofa, or other upholstered piece. You might know the color you want, but choosing the correct material for your lifestyle can be an entirely new challenge that wasn’t expected. Here are some tips on choosing the right covering for your house.
Polyester, Poly acrylic, polypropylene, poly, poly, poly…. If you see these four little letters in the material make up you know that is a durable fabric in your hand. The higher the poly content, the more durable the fabric. This fabric is easy to clean, and long-lasting. Cotton and linens are more delicate fabrics that will stain easier, and generally not as durable. If the fabric is a blend look for these ingredients to be lower, and man-made ingredients to be higher.
The care of your fabric is another key ingredient to how it will fit into your lifestyle. Look for the cleaning code and then use this handy chart.
- W–Use Water-Based Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with the foam only of a water-based cleaning agent such as a mild detergent or commercial upholstery shampoo. Use sparingly. Avoid overwetting.
- S–Use Solvent Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with a mild water-free dry-cleaning solvent available in local stores. Use sparingly in a well-ventilated room with no sparks or flame in the room.
- CAUTION: Use of water-based solvent cleaners may cause spotting and/or excessive shrinking. Solvent cleaning agents will not remove water stains.
- S-W–Use Water-Based or Solvent Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with a dry-cleaning solvent, mild detergent foam or upholstery shampoo, depending on the stain.
- X–Vacuum Only. Clean this fabric only by vacuuming or light brushing to prevent accumulation of dust and grime. Water-based foam or solvent-based cleaning agents of any kind may cause excessive shrinking, fading or spotting.
Many people are surprised by their variances in a leather. A good leather piece of furniture can last for years. A poor quality leather can start to deteriorate in a short amount of time depending on use.
When shopping for leather furniture, look for a full grain or top-grain leather. When a hide is being treated it is split often into two pieces. The full grain and top grain leather are the top layer of the hide. The top grain’s is different because it has been treated to remove any imperfections. Both of these are thicker and therefore more durable. Any leather that is left over will tear and break down quicker; it is often referred to as genuine leather.
The finish is also extremely important. An open leather is one that hasn’t been finished. It’s will quickly absorb liquid and is more susceptible to staining. A waxed finish is a leather that is meant to “age” with time. This means scratches and other marks will show up, and over time give a vintage feel. The end result is often beautiful, but if you are looking for smooth and sleek it may be best to stay away from this finish. Some waxed finishes are protected against liquid, and others are not. Most leathers will provide information over their protection. Use these in forming your decisions.
Lastly, but not least, look for an aniline dyed leather. A leather that is only surfaced died, or even painted will not keep it’s beauty overtime. Inevitably your leather seat will scratch. Whether it is from a naughty dog that curled up on the sofa, a kid who experimented with your tools, or a guest who sat down with keys in their pocket. A small scratch can go unnoticed in an aniline dyed leather since the color has been saturated throughout the hide. Otherwise a white or blueish streak will be where the scratch occurs.
As you sift through all the information don’t stress. Shop at a place where you can ask questions to the sales staff. If you aren’t receiving informed answers then keep looking. Once you find trust in your designer or sales associate you can use them to help guide you towards the best fit for your space.