Designer Tips for Selecting a Stunning Sofa Pt.2
Tuesday Feb 28 2017

Welcome back to part two of our educational designer tips on how to select the perfect sofa. Our last blog post we had touched on the construction of the frame, inner cushioning and function. Throughout this post, we will be focusing on the visual design of the sofa, the fabric and how to choose the right upholstery and durability level for your needs. First, you really need to know what a textile is, so let us help with the details. Really there are two categories of fibers that make up fabric, natural fibers and synthetic fibers.


Natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool and linen lend a softer touch but have a tendency to be a little less durable. However when they are combined with synthetic threads such as polyester, acrylic or viscose, those softer natural threads can become strengthened yet still provide a cozy welcoming touch.

The combination of these specific fibers are blended together in specific amounts to form what we see as fabric. Certain fibers in the fabric can determine its durability, comfort level, luster, color retention and how easy it is to clean.



Every fabric is made up of a combination of different fiber content bringing us to our next fabric factor, the grade of the fabric. Most upholstery companies separate their fabrics into specific "grades" of fabric. This specific grading system can determine a price point factor when it comes time to determining the price of a custom sofa.

Factors of the grading system can range from performance ability, a printed pattern verses a woven pattern, or the construction and fiber content of the fabric. The grading of fabrics can start from a grade "G" which is usually the least expensive and range up to a double lettering grade which would be more of a complex weave or possibly a higher thread count of the fabric, which would be a bit on the higher end of price.


We all want our beautiful sofa and fabric to withstand the everyday use of our family and friends giving us the longevity we desire in an upholstered piece. Now the question is just how durable of a fabric should you be considering?

The durability of a fabric can be measured, this is called a double-rub. Double-rub refers to how well the fabric can stand up to a constant rub or a wear test before it gives way. Fabric is tested using a machine that passes a pad back and forth over the fabric, each pass is called a "rub". Typically residential fabrics can range between 10,000 - 25,000 double-rubs. For example, if you are looking for a heavier more durable wear you would most likely want to be considering strong blended fibers like a rayon/polyester blend because this would hold up a bit better verses a 100% cotton textile.


The design industry has developed stunning fabrics that have come a long way when it comes to high performance and family-friendly upholstery. The Black Goose Design carries Lee Industries and Wesley Hall both wonderful, custom upholstery companies. These companies offer an amazing selection of these high-performance fabrics that do not look like your typical indoor/outdoor fabric, they are super design savvy! There are so many options when it comes to these amazing durable fabrics that are not only washable but are stain and spill resistant even fade resistant! Yes, you read that correctly - today you can have best of both worlds with pure sofa perfection and practicality.


It is important to note that if your sofa will be a highly-used piece of furniture consider how it is recommended to be cleaned and maintained. Often times most fabrics have a cleaning code or a lettering code. Generally most upholstery grade fabrics will have an "S" code cleaning label, meaning it must be cleaned with professional grade cleaning solvents not soap and water.

The fibers of an "S" cleaning code will not react well when cleaned by regular detergents. Occasionally fabrics marked with a "W" code can be cleaned with a water-based cleaner, and distilled water is usually recommended. This reduces the chances of pulling the pigment out of the fabric color. 

The end result is a gorgeous custom sofa piece to call all your own. With hundreds of fabric choices, your designer should help guide you to a sofa and fabric that will be practical for your daily use and lifestyle. Dramatic detailing can also be applied like a decorative nailhead trim or contrasting fabrics, this will highlight your sofa with distinct details and showcase a unique and custom look. Play up pattern and texture with varied throw pillows that will allow your sofa to show your personal design style.

Every element of how a sofa is put together are all important factors when selecting your perfect sofa. When all of these elements come together cohesively, a stunning work of art is produced. Creating a high-quality sofa takes many labor intensive hours to complete a beautiful piece that is custom made just for you. Committing to a well-made quality piece is worth the investment and you will appreciate its total beauty both inside and out.

The Black Goose Design offers supreme design services from expert interior designers that will create a master plan and assist you every step of the way of the entire design process.  Investing in furniture that holds a standard of the highest quality will give you the longevity of timeless design for years to come.

Labels: sofa trends custom sofa upholstery custom fabric interior design services designer tips