FABRIC & TEXTILE MATERIALS COMMONLY USED IN FURNITURE
Both the fabric and the furniture industry are constantly evolving to accommodate novel and modern variants of engineered textiles and newer furniture models. Most pay attention to the material used for the furniture frame itself and not the material that drapes it. However, both are designed to complement each other if a desired interior style is to be achieved.
Together, the considerations of furniture & fabric make for the bulk of the appeal of your interior design, so its essential to know each of them in detail, and also, how each of them can highlight some of the well thought of interiors of a commercial or residential space.
Made mainly using naturally occurring materials like animal skin, leather is widespread in its use, especially in furniture that is used for commercial applications, mainly within hotels, resorts, corporate office spaces. Only a few decades earlier, leather was considered a premium commodity reserved for the homes of the ultra-rich but thanks to the advent of much more pocket-friendly substitutes like Rexene or Faux leather, you can grab a leather experience which is best wrapped in couches, sectionals, armchairs, accent chairs and recliners.
Even often unnoticed furniture items like headboards and ottomans sometimes use leather as upholstery options.
The options available in leather can be a confusing experience. The finest quality of leather is full-grain leather. It has a fine texture and goes through minimal processing. The skill of both the tanner and the leatherworker is thoroughly tested during the manufacturing & handcrafting of full-grain leather. It is tough to maintain but a naturally aged leather couch has an unmatched appeal.
We have the courtesy of a well-known manufacturer of furniture for sharing the images of their products as examples, check out Furniture roots
If you’re looking for a hassle-free experience and are ready to slightly compromise on the leather quality, you can also opt for top-grain leather, leather made of goat skin or Rexene.
This armchair made of goat leather costs 3/5th the cost of a similar armchair made in premium quality cow leather.
It may be difficult to make out from a picture, but anyone used to leather would easily be able to discern the difference between genuine quality leather and this one.
Leather based furniture is often goes through some method of tufting to add a texture that is classical and trendy. Popular tufting styles include chesterfield style tufting, diamond tufting, button tufting, channel tufting and classic box tufting.
Types of leather used for furniture is a subject we’ve shared our thoughts on earlier. Check them out here
Cotton is the most heavily used fabric for furniture. Cotton cushioned padding for outdoor seating, cotton upholstered sofas, cotton seats and cotton clad barstools are all commonly known furniture that use cotton. Although a lot most cost-effective than leather in general, some variants of cotton clad furniture, like Egyptian cotton can be quite dear due to their desirable properties.
In most cases, Indian households feature furniture draped in cotton upholstery and some of them, like this one, are rather exquisite to look at.
Apart from the price factor, there are a few other reasons why you should definitely consider cotton. Firstly, cotton is pervious which means you can breathe easily through it and it doesn’t cause perspiration.
Secondly, is it also resistant to immense tension and handles abrasion tests better than leather.
Lastly, it’s a fabric that can easily catch onto dye and assimilate the colour into its weaves. See this example of a multi-coloured fabric barstool and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
This is also one of the drawbacks of cotton based furniture as it will also absorb the color which wasn’t intended. Like spillages of foods, drinks cheap dye used in cloth etc.
Darpan furnishings have published an interesting post on types of sofa fabrics that are often used in Indian homes and cotton leads the list
A somewhat uncommonly used material for fitted furniture, wool is also another animal derivative and is used heavily for luxury and premium furniture that features in fine dining restaurants and 3-, 4- & 5-star hotels. Pashmina, cashmere, angora wool and camel wool are some of the wool types that are used in furniture found across the globe.
Here’s an example of a wool clad armchair to show you how elegant woollen chairs actually looks.
POLYESTER FABRIC: It’s a great alternative for a household on a shoe-string budget and has shaken off its image of being unreliable and cheap, thanks to advances in the way they’re made. They do need to be used with caution though, couches exposed to high heat like a hot popcorn bowl etc have known to leave marks or even stains in some cases.
SILK: Thanks to its prohibitively high cost, silk is used sparingly in furniture and they are crowned only over some expensive pieces of living room furniture and headboards within bedrooms
LINEN: If it weren’t for its propensity to wrinkly easily, linen would be leading the charts of performance fabrics. It is affordable, exceedingly comfortable to sit on and has a high abrasion rating (even though the absolute rating is on the lower side)