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How to Select Office Furniture Upholstery: A Practical Guide for Business Owners

Upholstered furniture pieces are comfortable, stylish, and durable additions to any office. But since different pieces receive varying degrees of use, you will need to choose the correct type of upholstery fabric for every situation.

Commercial furniture upholstery is a major determining factor in the longevity of your office furniture. Plus, the interior design style should enhance productivity rather than deter it.

To make sure you do it right, this article can guide you through the purchase process, from choosing an upholstery fabric to determining what piece can enhance your office interior design.

6 Types of Upholstery Fabric

There are dozens of natural and synthetic fabrics used for furniture upholstery, each appropriate for different situations.

Natural fabrics are woven from materials produced in nature, such as plant fibers and animal-derived products like wool.

On the other hand, synthetic materials are manufactured using an array of chemical processes.

Because they are made for a specific purpose or address certain disadvantages natural fabrics have, synthetics can sometimes be sturdier and less expensive. However, the right choice still depends on the situation.

Below are some of the most popular types of upholstery fabric used in furniture you need to know when designing the perfect office:

1.    Cotton

Considered one of the most popular natural fabrics, cotton has excellent resistance to pilling, fading, and wear. Though it can be less resilient when subjected to dirt and fire, cotton can be blended with other fibers or subjected to certain surface treatments to deal with these weaknesses.

The durability of cotton upholstery depends on its weave and finish. Design-wise, damask weaves come off as a more formal, elegant choice while canvas ones (e.g., sailcloth or duck) tend to be more durable and casual at the same time.

2.    Leather

Considered a tough material, leather is a natural fabric that requires specific and careful cleaning and maintenance. It could also be much more resistant to staining than other textiles, provided that spills are damp wiped immediately. Cleaning it also involves the use of saddle soap or leather conditioner.

Leather is one of the prime choices for executive offices and conference rooms. It exudes a sense of formality and sophistication every C-level executive needs in their working space.

3.    Linen

Linen is a fabric mostly chosen for furniture in formal living rooms or other rooms only adults use. This is because the material wrinkles and gets soiled quite easily.

But while it cannot withstand heavy wear, linen doesn’t pill (those fuzzballs caused by friction) or fade quite as much.

4.    Vinyl

Considered a cheaper, easy-care alternative to leather, vinyl can be great for busy lobbies and guest rooms. However, its durability still depends on the quality of vinyl material used.

5.    Olefin

Deemed as an excellent choice for heavy-wear furniture, olefin is a synthetic material that is highly resistant to abrasion, stains, and mildew. It can also be used in sunny areas, both indoors and outdoors.

6.    Nylon

Often blended with other fibers, nylon is one of the strongest fabrics used in upholstery.

In the right blend, nylon can be very resilient. It doesn’t wrinkle or get soiled easily. It can also eliminate napped fabric crushing (as in velvet). The only downside is that it tends to pill and fade.

How to Choose Upholstered Furniture

Whether you’re buying ready-made or custom-made furniture in Dubai, the following tips can help you decide which pieces you need for your commercial space:

1.    Know where the furniture will be located.

Before heading out to choose furniture, you must first study the place where it will be placed. Does it get subjected to direct sunlight? Does the room get heavy traffic from a mix of adults, kids, and pets?

Remember: The longevity of your upholstery depends on how often the furniture will be used. If it doesn’t get used frequently, you can get away with sensitive yet visually appealing fabrics like silk and linen. But for a high-traffic lobby or lounge area, you’ll need something much sturdier and more resistant to wear.

You can also pick out engineered fabrics and blends that offer you the perks of certain fibers with fewer drawbacks. Also, choose those with tighter weaves as they tend to hold up longer.

2.    Determine the durability of your options.

Fabric manufacturers and suppliers perform tests to check the durability and suitability of upholstery fabric.

If the material is used in high-traffic reception areas or for other commercial purposes, you can bet they performed the Martindale method to determine its abrasion resistance.

Also called “the rub test,” this method simulates how a piece of textile wears down naturally by brushing a sample against an abrasive surface with a specified amount of force. The higher the resulting value, the better the material can resist scratches.

For commercial and office furniture, you’ll need to look for upholstery that passed the 30,000 Martindale minimum.

When you encounter the term “fabric grade,” know that it does not show you how durable a fabric is. It simply indicates the cost of fabric manufacturing based on the type of fiber, fabric construction, and thread count.

This can come in letters (with A as the least expensive) or numbers (lower numbers indicate a lower price).

3.    Pick the right color.

Your chosen upholstery fabric color can affect how well the furniture piece can help achieve your preferred interior design theme and goals.

For instance, new age fabric colors on vintage furniture bring the room a more edgy, urban feel, while lighter colors on big pieces tend to make small rooms look bigger than they actually are.

When choosing upholstered furniture, make sure you think about what kind of mood you want to create. You also need to think about how it will pair up with mats, throw pillows, and rugs for a cohesive office interior.

4.    Consider the maintenance level the fabric requires.

Even with the perfect design, durability level, and suitability to the space, you’ll still want to rethink your upholstery choice if the level of maintenance it requires doesn’t match the amount of effort you’re willing to exert to keep it looking like new.

Most upholstery fabrics require monthly vacuuming to prevent premature wear due to dirt, dust, and friction. Beyond that, you should consider your office’s cleaning and maintenance situation before committing to any piece.

  • As much as possible, get a sample of the fabric used in the furniture and stretch or compress it to see how the material's structure can change.
  • If you’re putting the piece under direct sunlight, try to avoid pure natural fabrics, as they tend to fade over time.
  • If you want something hypoallergenic, you should consider choosing microfiber and other fabrics that don’t attract dust for your upholstery.
  • Stain-resistant materials perfect for outdoor areas like vinyl and distressed leather also work for spaces that kids and pets frequent, like your office lobby or child care facility.
  • If the furniture will be placed in humid conditions, pick those made with commercial fabrics that can withstand mildew.

The Best Furniture for Your Office

Furniture upholstery selection doesn’t need to be daunting, especially since you’ll have much more pressing matters to consider as a business owner. Follow this guide to make things easier without compromising the cost-effectiveness of your choice.

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Syandita Malakar
Hi guys this is Syandita. I started Business Module Hub to help you all to post updated articles on technologies, gadgets. Although I love to write about travel, food, fashion and so on. I quite love reading the articles of Business Module Hub it always update me about the new technologies and the inventions. Hope you will find Business Module Hub interesting in various way and help you accordingly. Keep blogging and stay connected....!
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