Whether you’re restyling your lounge or replacing old fabrics, it’s important to make purchases that last for the long-haul. After all, nobody wants to buy a new sofa or reupholster a family heirloom, only for it to show signs of wear.
But what’s the secret to finding the most durable fabric? Is it the rub count? The weave? Or even the price?
All is revealed in our handy guide to picking strong fabrics.
A great way to gauge the durability of your upholstery fabric is by looking at its rub count.
The ‘rub count’ is a measure of how many times a machine can ‘rub’ away at a fabric’s fibres until they break down. The longer the fabric takes to wear down, the higher its rub count. These are the most durable type of fabrics.
The benchmark for most domestic fabrics is 20,000 rubs, but fabrics with 20,000+ rubs are usually recommended for high-traffic areas. Our Amalfi upholstery fabric has a rub count of 60,000, which makes it ideal for family lounges.
You don’t need to be an experienced upholsterer to know the hallmarks of a durable weave - you just need to look at how tightly woven its fibres are.
One such tightly-wound textile is twill. This hard-wearing weave has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs, made by interlacing closely packed yarns. This results in a more durable and water-resistant material.
Likewise, chenille fabric is extremely robust. It is made from a woven cotton-polyester blend – making it ideal high-traffic areas. Our very own Hendon Plain is a hard-wearing chenille which has a whopping 40,000-rub count!
TOP TIP: Keep an eye out for fabrics with woven patterns; they usually wear better than those which have printed patterns.
TOP TIP: Make sure to use tightly woven fabrics if you have pets who like to snooze on the sofa. Any loose threads could get caught in their claws and cause snagging.
While it’s sometimes easier to opt for the prettiest fabric, it’s essential that you consider how hardy your materials are before deciding.
For the perfect balance between eye-catching and practical, consider polyester. A strong synthetic fibre, polyester is abrasion-resistant, while also being versatile in its colour selection.
For inspiration, take a look at our gorgeous 100 per cent polyester Mull collection. Available in a range of attractive patterns, this collection is both stylish and easy to clean. Alternatively, a cotton-polyester blend is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a fabric which feels luxurious but doesn’t cost the earth.
TOP TIP: If your sofa is showing signs of damage, use a sofa cover to protect seat cushions, arm rests and other high-traffic areas.
Now you know what to look for in a durable sofa fabric, the next step is finding the right colour and pattern for your space. For inspiration, browse more than 800 quality upholstery fabrics on the Plumbs website.
Sophie is a great granddaughter of the founders of the business - so fabrics and furniture are almost part of her DNA! Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is The Repair Shop. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.