Friday, April 18, 2008

Upholstery for sofa

Choose the upholstery based on the kind of sofa you have.

It is often easier to buy a piece of furniture than to decide on the kind of upholstery you need, especially for sofas. This is because there is such a wide range of options in upholstery that it can leave you quite bewildered.

The choice ranges from the materials and patterns to colours. However, the size and shape of your sofa i.e. its design style also matters. Not all materials and patterns suit all types of sofas. You can also create a well-co-ordinated look yourself with the correct choice of fabric, colour, and pattern. Otherwise, consult an interior designer. The drawing room is generally the most visible and most-visited part of the home, and it pays to invest in it so that it gives a good appearance.

Regarding materials, there is plenty of choice. You can go for simple cotton handloom or rich woven silk. Or else, choose between synthetic leather and microfibre. You can even try a combination of different fabrics for different sections of the sofa. In colours too, there is a huge range - from splashes of rich hues to pure white or muted tones.

One good rule to go by while deciding on the materials is to consider what will be compatible with the overall theme of the rest of the room. If the drawing room is rich and ethnic looking with heavy furniture and traditional decor items, you could go in for upholstery in woven silk with traditional patterns. Consider richly woven jacquard if you have teakwood or mahogany furniture and Indian antiques around. Organza silk or high-quality synthetic leather upholstery also fits in. However, a simple, utilitarian kind of drawing room can do with cotton in simple prints or traditional Indian handloom cotton with colourful patterns.

An interesting option is to mix-and-match fabric, so you have different varieties on different sections of the sofa. However, this must be done with thought and care. For example, the various fabrics you use have to be more or less of equal weight. So, you have to put all the lightweight cottons on one sofa while the heavy jacquards and richly woven fabrics are compatible with each other. Also, you can keep the size of the patterns on the different fabrics being used, either consistently or a big one can be used alongside a smaller size purely to provide a contrast. A similar mix-andmatch look can be achieved by using different slipcovers together.

Then, consider the use of the sofa. Is your drawing room one of those little-used areas which is opened up only when guests come in or you are having a party? If this is the case, then delicate materials like silk, jacquard, organzas, etc. are fine. Even highquality synthetic leather is an option. On the other hand, if the drawing room is the most frequently used room, go for sturdy, durable, and darkcoloured fabric which stands frequent washing too.

The sofa design style also matters. Each kind of size and shape calls for a different treatment. Traditional sofas often have tight back cushions sewn or stitched on to the frame. However, the tuxedo one has cushions which are loose and have arms at comfortable height. The chaise lounge and the bench seat are other varieties. Popular ethnic Indian drawing room furniture includes painted wooden chairs from Gujarat, and the Rajasthani style which will take dark colours and traditional upholstery patterns in silk, jacquard, or elegant cotton handloom. Anyone wanting a traditional look in their home can check out the vast range of patterns and weaves in the market - florals, geometrics, stripes, jacquards, tapestries, etc.

Finally, check the materials for maintenance. Though most good upholstery fabrics are treated for stain resistance, you could also have them retreated or cleaned every once in a while. Each material requires a different kind of care - synthetic leather must be treated very differently from woven silk and these two are not at all comparable to sturdy handloom cotton. So, ask for advice on maintenance while purchasing.

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