The fabrics to cover a sofa

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The fabrics to cover a sofa
Families should choose sofa fabrics that are stain resistant and durable. (Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Whether you decide to purchase a brand new sofa or wish to cover an old sofa in a new fabric, colour and texture are important considerations. Also factor in the quality, cost and comfort of sofa fabric. Determine where the sofa will be placed, how much use it will receive and how long you want it to last before choosing a sofa fabric that suits your household.

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Cotton

As a natural fibre, cotton resists general wear and tear. Cotton is less likely to fade and resists pilling. However, cotton will wrinkle and absorb spills easily. Homeowners can combat soiling by treating cotton sofas and slipcovers with surface treatments. Or choose a cotton blend sofa or slipcover that is designed to overcome soiling and wrinkling. Still, cotton is available in both casual and fancy finishes, making it a versatile choice in sofa fabric. It's durability also varies according to the weave.

Cotton Blend

Providing the same benefits of cotton sofa covers, cotton blend fabrics also possess enhanced durability and longevity. Cotton blend sofas and slipcovers suit families because of their strength but should still be treated with a stain repellent treatment when exposed to everyday use.

Leather

Another natural fabric, leather makes a good sofa fabric or slipcover because it is one of the most durable fabrics. Available in many colours, styles and finishes, leather is designed for long-term use. Over time, leather develops a softer texture and charming appearance. Leather is also fairly easy to clean.

Linen

Linen sofas and slipcovers wrinkle and stain easily, making the fabric best suited for adult use. Although it gives rooms a fresh appearance, linen attracts stains and develops wrinkles easily. Reserve sofas covered in linen for formal spaces away from children. Linen is not particularly durable either. While it won't pill or fade, it does shrink. Hire a professional to clean it.

Silk

Although silk provides a luxurious feel, it is extremely delicate. Reserve it for formal spaces and have it professionally cleaned.

Wool

Wool and wool blends are known for their strength and durability. Sofas covered in wool are less likely to pill, fade, wrinkle or develop stains. Wool blends in particular are easy to clean, but heavy soils should be removed professionally. Wool sofas may attract moths if left in storage.

Acetate

A synthetic fabric, acetate is designed to look like silk. Unlike silk, acetate resists stains adequately. It also resists mildew, pilling and will keep its shape. However, acetate does wrinkle and fade when exposed to bright sunlight. Avoid acetate sofas and slipcovers for everyday use.

Acrylic

Another synthetic fabric, acrylic is supposed to resemble wool. It resists wrinkles, stains and general wear. Acrylic won't fade but is more likely to pill if low in quality or used excessively. For sofas, choose high quality acrylic to decrease the likelihood of pilling.

Microfiber

Another synthetic fabric, microfiber resembles suede but is much more durable. Manufactured using polyester, microfiber offers a desirable look and feel. Microfiber sofas and slipcovers are strong and easy to clean, providing great value.

Other Synthetics

When blended with other fabrics, nylon is one of the strongest sofa fabrics. Although it develops fading and pilling, nylon resists stains and wrinkles. When combined with more delicate fabrics, such as velvet, nylon will prevent it from crushing or matting.

Choose olefin for sofa fabric or slipcovers because of its strength. Although olefin does fade, its affordable price, durability and chic appearance make olefin sofas and slipcovers ideal for heavy use.

Typically, polyester is combined with other fabrics, creating a blend of fibres that resist wrinkles and fading. Polyester blends won't develop mattes either.

Designed to look like silk, linen or cotton, rayon is a synthetic fabric used for sofas. Despite its strength, rayon does develop wrinkles easily. For best results, purchase sofas and slipcovers consisting of high quality rayon.

Providing a cheaper alternative to leather, vinyl requires less maintenance than natural fabrics. Choose vinyl sofas and slipcovers for high-traffic areas and families with children.

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