Performance Fabrics

December 18, 2017

Most of my clients buying a new sofa are worried about one thing… stains. Kids, pets, red wine spilling during a party. They shy away from light colors, natural fabrics, or buying a new piece all together. However, nowadays there is no need to justify loving your 20 year old sofa just because you are afraid of staining. A whole new category of upholstery fabric has popped up in the last few years, and let me tell you, it's a game charger. 

Performance fabrics. 

As a mom of two toddler boys and a German Shepherd, I know first hand that these remarkable fabrics can handle spills and dirt with ease. (If I could cover my walls in them I would!) Here are a few of the big players in the performance fabric category. 



Gone are the days of stiff and scratchy. With today's technology, high quality upholstery materials are beautiful, soft, and virtually indistinguishable from indoor only fabrics. 

Indoor-outdoor fabric is most often thought of for patio furniture and outdoor pillows, but it is just as beneficial on the inside of your home! The fabric is made from a solution dyed acrylic (dye is added before the fibers are created) and as a result, it is colorfast and won't fade from the sun. It is also resists soil, shrinkage, and mildew, is quick drying and wrinkle free! 

Most indoor-outdoor fabrics are treated with a water resistant coating, but after years of being in the rain or being cleaned that finish can wear off. If water no longer beads off the fabric, you can retreat it at home with a waterproofing product. Not at acrylics are created the same however. Stick to well known manufacturers with higher standards, Sunbrella being one that we would recommend. 


Crypton is a fabric that withstands liquid, thanks to a moisture barrier. That means a spilled glass of wine will bead on the surface, allowing you to wipe it right up with a clean, dry cloth. Using plain water (or mild detergent for the worst ones) Crypton helps me repel other regular culprits in my house…  ketchup, jelly, & even mud!  

Unlike spray on treatments that are applied to finished fabrics, Crypton is embedded in every fiber and will never wear off. The "cryptonizing" process can be applied to any fabric that meets specific construction requirements, so you may see it in cottons, linens, rayons, etc. without affecting the look or feel of the fabric. It also passes rigorous chemical emissions standards, so it isn't toxic. Oh and lastly, it's antimicrobial and odor resistant!  


If you fall in love with an upholstery fabric that is not under the performance category, you still may be able to make it more stain resistant. A favorite of mine is using Guardsman as a protection spray. You can apply it yourself purchasing a can, or we can come into your home and apply it for you. These options aren't "as good" as their performance friends, but we highly recommend protecting your furniture anyway you can. 


If you'd like to learn more about performance fabrics, or see a demo of how they work in person, let us know. We have a vast selection of furniture vendors, as well as fabrics by the yard for reupholstery or a custom design.  All of our designers would be happy to help make your upholstery decisions stain & worry free! 

[photo credit]