Sofa fabrics don't have to be boring

15/02/2016 AquaClean Technology

And what fabric do I buy my sofa with?

When we decide to buy a sofa or armchair, there can be doubts as to the design, colour or model. These are the first things we have to wonder about. But perhaps the most decisive factor, and something we don't usually bear in mind, is what kind of sofa fabric we need. This is what plays a major role in both decoration and daily use. In addition, if we have children at home, pets, or if the sofa is for public use, such as in a café, we should try to get the best results by carefully considering what fabric we should use.


Aquaclean, the fabric you can clean with water only, presents (from left to right) its collections called Kabuki, Haruka, Mika and Matsue.

So here are some basic ideas on what kind of fabric you may need when you are deciding to buy a nice new sofa, and some advice on what kinds of fabric are good for different needs, difference in price and the care required for each type.


How many kinds of sofa fabric can I find on the market?

Basically the kinds of sofa fabric most used for upholstering sofas and armchairs are natural leather, combined leather or imitation leather, and natural or synthetic thread fabrics. It is important to remember that depending on the kind of fabric you choose, and the variety of prints or colours, durability or lifespan will vary. So buyer beware.


Sofas upholstered with leather and imitation leather

First let's start with sofas upholstered in leather. This is a natural material, semi-transpirable and flexible, so it adapts well to body positions, making it quite comfortable to the touch and for seating. Since it is a one-off material (one piece of leather is unlike any other), you get a sofa that is unique, even if it's the same model or same make, because leather is a natural product that always varies somehow from any other piece.


So sofas upholstered in natural leather are comfortable, but we have to keep in mind the usage the sofa will have, as well as the climate we live in. A leather sofa may be comfortable, but at 40º C in the summer, you can start getting stuck to the material! So maybe for hot climates, leather is not the ideal option, as it give off warmth. So after a little siesta, you may be bathed in sweat and find yourself glued to your seat! For colder climates, however, it may very well be ideal.

But if you're the kind of person who likes a touch of elegance, leather sofas are great. If you are decorating a room as a reading area, a meeting room or something similar, a leather sofa is a good choice.

Another advantage of natural leather is that it is easy to clean, as it does not usually absorb liquids, so it can last longer than others. If you intend to give it a log life, a leather sofa could be your best choice.

With regard to pricing, natural leather is usually the most expensive option, and after the explanations given above, you should understand why. So if you want to give your room a distinguished, stylish or different look, a leather sofas is your best bet.


Sofas in natural or synthetic textile fabrics

Now if we look at fabric upholstery, we have natural fabrics, synthetics and a mixture of both. To distinguish what kind of fabric to use, we have to look at the fibres used in its composition.


Aquaclean, the fabric you can clean with water only, presents its collections called Matsue and Nanao (514) from Book 16 Fashion&Love by Visual Textures.

First, there are synthetic fibres, used by mixing and synthesising different chemical compounds, that is, they do not come from materials grown or produced from nature. These synthetic fibres are usually highly resistant and easy to dye, so you often have a wide range of colours to choose from, unlike leather upholstery, which is natural and therefore more limited. When it comes to sofa upholstery, manufacturers don't often use 100% synthetic fabrics, but usually mix synthetics with natural fabrics so that the look and feel will be more pleasant. Among the commonest synthetic fabrics are acrylics, Lycra, nylon and polyester.

On the other hand, natural fibres include those of animal and plant origin, such as wool, silk, linen and cotton. Due to its versatility, the most frequently used natural fabric for sofas is cotton, as it is flexible, cool and resistant to wear, although it can lose its colour over time and wrinkle more often.

In addition, just like a stain on a cotton T-shirt, cleaning is not as easy as on natural leather, although new techniques have been invented today to remove stains better and washing is also simpler.


From left to right: Collections Linova510, Novara 11, Amane AC 323, Eternity 514, Siena 62, Eternity 112 and Solara 01 from Aquaclean, the fabric you can clean with water only.

In the textile field lots of new developments have been achieved, bringing multiple combinations of natural and synthetic fibres that give lots of variety, with the added advantage of lowering the price of many upholstery options. And now, technologies such as Aquaclean, the fabric you can clean with water only (link to Stain Gallery), have made sofas with textile fabrics just as easy to clean as leather, so if you're looking for a special print or colour and you don't want to spend too much money, these textile fabrics are probably your best bet.


So the best fabric for my sofa is...

There's no absolute answer to this, but if you've read the pros and cons above, and want to analyse all the different factors we've mentioned, and bearing in mind that a sofa is where you will be spending lots of your time, and it is a major focal point for decoration in the room... you'll have to come to a decision.

And now that you know all this, all you have to do is just choose the option that's best for you. So tell us. What kind of fabric do you have on your sofas? Why did you choose it? Do you like one more than any other?