All of us at some point have wondered if we could ever have that great living space we dream about — with beautiful fabrics on our furniture, colors we love, updated patterns, material that is soft to the touch and suitable for the way we live.
The modern family plays, eats and sleeps on living room furniture. So the challenge has been how to have and maintain beautiful upholstered furniture that stands up to sticky fingers, slobbery and wet noses, and dirty paws. Enter performance fabrics, created with the needs of the modern family in mind.
Many young families choose to wait until their kids grow older before replacing worn-out furniture, the reason being very obvious: they are afraid of investing in furniture that will get worn, stained and dirty very quickly.
Furniture is one of the three largest expenses in a household, after the house itself and a car or two. Being able to maintain newly purchased furniture with their everyday family life of kids, pets and sometimes even messy spouses is challenging.
Fortunately there are more options for that today without waiting and living in aesthetically challenged spaces. Today’s fabrics have evolved not only to be beautiful and durable, but also to withstand everyday lifestyles.
Sunbrella, Revolution and Crypton Home are three of the most common of the high-performance fabrics on the market today, all three of them proprietary brands produced in the United States.
More colors, patterns and textured fabrics are continually being added to the available selections. Since just a few years ago, the consumer can find brighter-color fabrics, updated patterns with greater sophistication and enhancements to make them softer to the touch.
These high-performance fabrics are judged by several factors such as durability, stain resistance, UV and fade resistance, ability to repel liquid, and odor resistance.
All three brands are inherently resistant to stains and spills. They are strong and durable, last the life of the fabrics, and meet and exceed industry standards for durability.
Crypton and Sunbrella are designed to repel liquids, which can be blotted by hand with a clean cloth. Crypton is also designed with Silver Ion technology, which helps resist microbial development. In other words, it inhibits odor-causing bacteria.
Sunbrella is probably the most familiar of the performance fabrics, since it has been used on outdoor furniture for a number of years. Sunbrella is a synthetic fabric, a solution-dyed acrylic extruded into yarn and woven into fabric.
It has come a long way in its indoor uses by getting a softer and better hand but keeping its rugged durability. It can be cleaned with mild soap and water and even bleach. It is UV stable and does not fade.
For this reason, it is also used on upholstered pieces in rooms that have a lot of windows or where upholstered pieces are directly exposed to the sun. The color and pattern will stay beautiful for the life of the fabric.
Crypton Home fabrics are engineered performance fabrics that are perfectly suited for everyday living, soft and beautiful, very durable, and moisture and odor resistant. Crypton is also Greenguard Gold Certified for environmentally safe and healthy indoors. I have a Crypton sofa in my home and often recommend it to my clients for its durability and clean-ability when that is of primary concern.
Revolution fabrics, made domestically in North Carolina, are virtually unstainable, easy to clean and extremely durable. Revolution fabrics are made out of 100 percent olefin, also known as Polypropylene, which is chemically safe; think of milk jugs that are made out of Polypropylene.
Revolution fabrics can be cleaned with bleach if ordinary soap and water don’t do the trick.
Keep in mind performance fabrics are made to be easily cleaned. This does not mean they are self-clean. All of them have easy-to-follow cleaning instructions. Spills can be blotted first with a clean towel to wipe excess mess. Water and mild enzyme detergents such as Tide or Cheer can be used. Heavier stains can be cleaned with water mixed with bleach on Revolution and Sunbrella.
No longer do you have to compromise color, comfort and style to have longer-lasting, more durable furniture. The day has come when you can have your beautiful upholstered furniture and eat your cupcake, too.
Filis Hagi-Zaid is a designer at Wells Home Furnishings. Follow Wells Home Furnishings on Facebook and on Twitter at @WellsHomeFurn. Email questions or comments to Mimi Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org.