Instead of selling or throwing out an older piece of furniture, especially one with good bones, you should consider reupholstering it. Reupholstering furniture can help you save several hundred pounds since you won’t have to buy new furniture. Here are five tips to help you select fabrics to use for an upholstery project.

Stay with Solid Colours

When selecting fabrics for large pieces of furniture, such as a sofa or chaise lounge, rich solid-coloured fabrics or those in neutral tones will look better over time. While pattern or textured fabrics are nice, if they have a distinctive direction, the fabric pieces can be hard to match, especially for a first-time upholsterer. In addition to remaining nice looking, you’re less likely to tire of a solid coloured fabric than you are of a patterned or textured choice.

Consider Aging

As you browse through fabric selections, consider how well the fabric is going to age and its cleaning needs. Leather is going to develop a patina as it ages, which some people like, but this can significantly change the look of your furniture. Other fabrics may need to be constantly vacuumed or cleaned, especially if you have children or pets. Consider the maintenance required for fabrics you’re considering for your upholstery project.

Be Mindful of Usage

When you’re selecting fabrics for your furniture, don’t forget how and who will be using it, especially if you have children and pets. Most delicate fabrics, such as silk, will not withstand too much wear because they can snag, pull and easily stain. For furniture pieces used by the entire family, consider making slipcovers instead of reupholstering them or choose furnishing fabrics, which are stain resistant and will hold up well under years of heavy use.

Check for Fire Retardancy

All upholstery fabrics must comply with current fire regulations, so they must be fire retardant, or you should have non-retardant fabrics coated. Fire retardant fabrics will burn slower than non-retardant fabrics if accidentally caught on fire. This could give you time to put out a smouldering area or get your family to safety if the fire is too big to contain.

Take Swatches Home

Before settling on fabrics in the store, ask to check out samples, often called “swatches”, and take them home to drape over the furniture you’re reupholstering. Check to see how they look under the lighting in the room, how well they go with the décor, and how the furniture might look covered in the colour or pattern you’ve chosen. If you don’t check out swatches to determine how different fabrics will look in your home, you might regret your choice after you’ve spent hours working on the project.

By carefully considering the durability, safety requirements and colour or pattern choices, you should come up with several possible fabrics to use to reupholster your furniture. Reupholstering a favourite chair or an antique chaise will give it new life and you can continue enjoying it for years to come.