Performance Fabrics for Upholstery – The Ultimate Guide

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Everyone,

I heard the overwhelming cry for information about performance fabrics, and guess what, there is already a post about ***the best upholstery fabrics for pets and slobs.***

I would’ve redone the post, except it is only 10 months old. And, that post is an update of a much older post.

As a reminder, there are currently 747 blog posts, including this one. If you are looking for a topic, please do a search in the search box provided in the sidebar. Of course, this option is only available if you have a desktop or laptop computer.

Otherwise, if you must look at the blog on your phone. (I’m only half serious), then you can also do this. Because there’s no search feature on mobile, you can still do a google search, e.g., performance fabrics laurel home.

 

My posts are designed to be picked up by search engines.

 

That reminds me. If you have a website and would like to know how to do that without spending thousands of dollars for a so-called “SEO expert” (SEO = Search Engine Optimization), please consider getting my Blogging guide, which has five chapters devoted to SEO and how I get thousands of visitors EVERY DAY to fall into my trap stumble upon my blog.

Okay, as I said, there is already one of my favorite posts about the best upholstery fabrics. Here is the link, again, to the best upholstery for pets and slobs. Please read it because this essentially is part II of that post. And, most of the information is there. However, there is new information here. And, some of it has to do with you pet-owners who are pulling your dog’s hair out.

No, wait. Strike that. I mean YOUR hair out. ;]

But, what I did was to take out the part that’s specifically about performance fabrics.

 

However, here’s the thing.

What IS a performance fabric?

Well, it depends.

It depends on what you need the fabric to perform well.

Do you want it to be impervious to staining?

Must the fabric be able to go outside?

 

Do you need the performance fabric to be virtually indestructible to cats and/or dogs?

 

What about kids?

Husbands?

Yourself?

And klutzy people like me?

Or, do you need it to do all of the above and cost under $25 a yard. And, feel nice and soft.

AND – look great, too.

 

Dream on…

 

However, the one that drives people the craziest is the destruction brought on by cats, and sometimes dogs, too.

Cats claw, and dogs chew. However, most dogs chew more when they’re young. Cats never give up the urge to scratch and claw.

OH, before I go on. Please, let’s not get into another debate regarding declawing. I know that some of you feel quite strongly about it, but please, let’s not. If you do, I am going to delete your comment.* For now, I’m going to assume that you have 3 cats, all with the sharpest, longest nails God ever created.

God bless you.

Frankly, I would slipcover everything in a 12 oz. Heavy, very tightly woven cotton duck; or cotton canvas. Those terms are interchangeable, I believe. You can get a great cotton duck at Big Duck Canvas for under 7 bucks a yard. In fact, if you get the 12 oz. Cotton duck, 60″ wide and get 25 yards or more, it’s only five bucks a yard!

 

I do very much recommend having the fabric pre-shrunk before you make the slipcovers or have them made.

 

Big Duck Canvas does have a pure white 12 oz canvas in their “seconds” department. Seconds means there might be a tiny flaw or smudge or something irregular. Sometimes it’s significant, and sometimes, you’d never notice. You can call them first to find out the deal.

Here are some other options for pre-shrunk fabrics, either cotton or cotton/linen blend.

 

Otherwise, let’s say that you have a cotton fabric and it is not pre-shrunk; I would contact a local cleaner to see if they provide that service. Of course, the fabric will need to be ironed and rolled back onto the spool.

Cotton duck is a great fabric if you have dogs too. Slipcovers can be removed and cleaned.

Besides, fur doesn’t stick very easily to cotton duck or cotton canvas.

However, it DOES stick like crazy to brushed cotton. Brushed cotton feels so wonderful, but then you will hate yourself later.

The only thing is that white cotton is not impervious to stains. Again, please go back to the original post if you haven’t because there’s a link to a wonderful stain chart. That is, way to get stains out of EVERYTHING.

Next on my list is good ol’ polyester.

Poly has come a long way, baby. Many poly velvets do a wonderful job of mimicking cotton and linen. There is a lot in the other post about polyester fabrics. 80% of the upholstery I did for clients, and my green sofa is 100% polyester.

bronxville - sofa-vignette-laurel bern

However, as I said in the original post about the best upholstery fabrics, which you must read, linen velvet performed magnificently well and looked great.

Let’s talk about traditional “performance fabrics.”

There are two types.

 

  • Fabrics that can go indoors OR outdoors.
  • Fabrics that cannot go outdoors, but only indoors or on a covered porch, perhaps.

However, most performance fabrics can go outdoors.

 

The grand-daddy of them all is Sunbrella™ brand-name and the one we’ve all heard of.

 

Sunbrella is a solution-dyed acrylic. And, while stain-resistant, it is not 100% stain-proof. An advantage is that it can get wet and won’t shrink, won’t fade, and you can even clean it with a mild bleach solution. Never pour full-strength bleach on anything, of course.

Sunbrella fabrics tend to be less expensive and are made primarily for outdoor use. Therefore, the patterns and colors you’re going to get tend to lend themselves more to a pool setting. That isn’t an absolute, but an observation I’ve made.

Lauren Liess wrote an excellent post about her experience with an indoor/outdoor fabric. It’s commonly known as sunbrella™ which is a brand-name for a solution-dyed acrylic.

One small correction. This fabric is inherently washable. There is no coating that can rub off.

Does outdoor fabric stain?

Uh-huh. It can.

It is stain resistant, and pretty much everything can come out because you can even use diluted bleach and other strong cleaners on it. Here’s a Sunbrella cleaning guide.

 

Then there is Crypton™ or Crypton Home™.

 

super-man-protecting-sofa - Crypton - performance fabrics

 

We discussed Crypton in this post about spilling the proverbial red wine all over your white sofa.

 

So, if they are both performance fabrics, what is the difference between Sunbrella and Crypton Home, and which one is the best?

 

Gosh, you guys ask the best questions!

It’s a different technology.

And, the main difference is that Crypton Home (the residential version of Crypton) is strictly an indoor fabric where Sunbrella and its clones can go inside or outside.

Although, now there is also Crypton that is meant to go outside.

I have used both fabrics with terrific results.

The indoor/outdoor fabrics have come a long way since they first came on the market in the early 1960s.

One of my favorite indoor/outdoor brands is Perennials. It’s more expensive than some, but the fabrics are beautiful and do not in any way look like outdoor fabric.

 

Perennials are sold through the interior design trade. However, you can get many beautiful Perennial fabrics at Serena & Lily. You can also get fabric swatches and cut yardage of all of the Serena & Lily fabrics.

 

favorite Serena & Lily Fabrics

Please pin this to Pinterest for reference.

 

Some of the fabrics above are not Perennials. But, all are very durable.

And all of S&L’s upholstered furniture is available in their performance fabrics.

 

Serena & Lily Miramar Sofa in Perennials Stripe fabric - performance fabrics

Serena & Lily Miramar Benchseat sofa in a Perennials pinstripe.

 

performance fabrics - Serena & Lily blue and white color scheme_Carson_Beachclub_AvignonChair - Timeless Furniture Pieces

 

Serena & Lily Avignon Chair in Perennials Lake Stripe fabric

 

But, these performance fabrics also make it safe(r) to have white furniture.

 

Here is one of my favorites

 

performance fabrics from Serena & Lily

Spruce Street Chair from Serena and Lily is slipcovered in a Perennials outdoor performance fabric.

 

Another good online source to see or purchase many indoor/outdoor fabrics is Decorator’s Best. They have thousands of them, all different price points, and about 20 different brands, so a huge selection– solids and patterns.

 

Decorators Best also has about 1,500 different fabrics with Crypton technology.

 

Can you find high-end patterns in performance fabric versions?

Yes, you can! Go to the link above at Decorator’s Best. You find gorgeous performance fabrics from Schumacher, Lee Jofa, Scalamandre, Kravet, Brunschwig & Fils, and more!

I do recommend getting samples in all cases. You’ll want to see and feel the fabrics before ordering. Some of them are very expensive.

I would like to mention that cats and fabric is that no matter what the fabric, the piece of the furniture that got wrecked was always the arm and the side below the arm. So, while I don’t love arm covers, they will definitely help if you have a kitty.

 

Below is a widget of a few of my favorite performance fabrics. If you click on any image, you will be taken to the source. All of these are from Serena & Lily or Decorator’s Best.

 

 

 

However, you can also find terrific performance fabrics on Wayfair and Etsy.

And, of course, all of those wonderful pillow vendors make pillows using performance fabrics.

 

A great source for slipcovers is:

 

The Slipcover Maker

 

Okay, I’m going to close with this about performance fabrics, and it might surprise you.

 

There is a huge price range for these fabrics.

Quite frankly, I’ve had great luck with all of my fabrics except for the wing chairs that Peaches had for dinner.

 

You know, those pretty antique chairs many of you have been commenting on?

 

oval chairs silk fabric - not performance fabrics but has held up well

They were reupholstered with SILK– 20 years ago!

 

my Back Bay Boston Living Room LB Interiors

Remember how I said how awful silk can be in this post you must read if you have not about the unthinkable tragedies I lived through with fabric in my younger days. That is nightmares I had with fabric. Expensive nightmares.

Most quality fabrics will hold up well if you keep them clean. All I do is a vacuum and wipe them down. Of course, I no longer have pets or little kids. But, make no mistake. I did and for a very long time.

And, a husband, too.

 

Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville apartment for sale - bedroom - Mural Sources - Chinoiserie Wallpaper - Benjamin Moore White Dove wall color

The wing chair, upholstered in white cotton canvas in my bedroom was by a window for eight years and has stayed looking good.

What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to spend $100/yard+++ for some expensive fabric for a piece of furniture to hold up.

Of course, if it’s in your family room, that’s a different matter. But, a good de-lustered polyester fabric, I think, works just as well as Crypton or Sunbrella. At least that’s my experience.

xo,

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES

 

Folks, please be gentle in the comments, or I will need to turn them off for a time.  Policing is not in my job description and I absolutely forbid personal attacks on this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

xo,

 

 

7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Sasha - April 1, 2021 - 9:12 AM

    Each time the pop-up invitation to subscribe shows up– the page reloads, throwing me back at the top of the post. This is on Safari.ReplyCancel

  • chloe young - March 17, 2021 - 11:38 AM

    You may need an ad blocker… sounds like what used to happen when ads change on the page you are viewing.ReplyCancel

  • SobhaInteriors - March 17, 2021 - 6:56 AM

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.ReplyCancel

  • Renee Bates - February 6, 2021 - 11:14 AM

    Laurel, Thank you for this helpful post. I love reading your blog for the humor and helpful tips. You have a fun personality. Regarding pet damage, I have an empire sofa upholstered in a tight woven jacquard and the cat didn’t harm the fabric but found the gimp covering the upholstery nails irresistible. It’s on the lower edge of the rolled arms next to the carved wood, and it isn’t completely wrecked or all that noticeable. I haven’t done anything about it yet. I’ll probably have to replace all the gimp since it is going to be faded in some places, likely. I’m sorry you have the commenting problem. Haters gotta hate, I guess, but unfortunately, it is likely themselves they are most unhappy with, sadly. There’s my philosophy for the day. It is fun to go along with you on your move to Boston and see how you decorate and solve design dilemmas. Thanks for your professional and experienced views on a myriad of topics. ReneeReplyCancel

  • Nedra Wilson - February 5, 2021 - 3:22 PM

    Hello, your post on performance fabrics came just in time for me. I built a cottage and chose a green performance fabric with little organic shaped dots. Since this is a new build there is still a lot of red mud around. I have 3 dogs and now my sofa is orange! What do I do? thank you, thank you for your help! I could cry.ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - February 5, 2021 - 10:28 AM

    Hi Laurel! Thank you for everything you do! About 5 years ago, I order 2 CR Laine sofas (your favorite!), providing COM white textured Perenniels fabric. Unzipping the covers and throwing them in the wash on “gentle” & hanging dry was perfect until the inside raw edges began to unravel leaving a stringy mess on the interior. I realized that if you’re planning to machine wash them, the interior fabric edges need to be surged to prevent unravelling, which obviously CR did not do. These are bench cushions & the whole surface and front of the seat cushions look dingy with just general “soil” from denim, body oils etc. So do you take a sponge & cleaning solution and just sponge down the whole cushion; I think it would need to then be rinsed well by sponging clean water over top. But, without a water extractor, the water seeps into foam/down seat cushion, leaving it soggy and slow to dry. Also,–wrangling the long bench cushion back into its tight cover is practically impossible– and a great way to tear your rotator cuff 🙂 so I’d prefer not to have to remove it. I’ve never seen an article online which addresses this specific problem, which everyone must have. Sure it’s easy to remove a red wine spill, but the everyday cleaning situation is what stumps me!ReplyCancel

  • chloe young - February 5, 2021 - 10:05 AM

    oh also the post has to be taller than the cat is long. so they can stretch out.ReplyCancel

  • chloe young - February 5, 2021 - 9:58 AM

    Hmmm I guess they loved the catnip… and are fast learners lol…it just worked.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Swysgood - February 5, 2021 - 9:45 AM

    Perhaps people leaving nasty comments on you blog about your opinion on design trends might consider volunteering at their local hospital’s child cancer ward or signing up to deliver meals to the elderly if they are struggling with what to do with their spare time.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine Rosenbaum - February 5, 2021 - 6:18 AM

    Laurel, I’ve always had cats and dogs, and I started using clear plastic pieces available on Amazon (Panther Armor Protector) that you attach to the corners of your furniture with upholstery pins, provided, and they work pretty well. Yes, you can sorta see them, but it’s a heck of a lot better than seeing shredded sofa corners and the heartbreak of the cost to reupholster!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine Rosenbaum - February 5, 2021 - 6:15 AM

    Laurel, I’ve always had cats and dogs, and the one fabric that stands up to cat claws is the poly velvet you mentioned. I’d do every surface in my house if I could! Also, there are clear plastic pieces available on Amazon (Panther Armor Protector) that you attach to the corners of your furniture with upholstery pins, provided, and they work pretty well. Yes, you can sorta see them, but it’s a heck of a lot better than seeing shredded sofa corners and the heartbreak of the cost to reupholster!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Zeilinger - February 5, 2021 - 1:07 AM

    Dear Laurel, Much to my chagrin I am one of those Champaigne taste beer budget, Target shoppers. I am thankful for you. I listen, learn and laugh with every post.ReplyCancel

  • Martha Foss - February 5, 2021 - 12:58 AM

    We had three cats. They were indoor outdoor cats and I Never wanted them declawed. They wanted to wreak havoc on my upholstery, however I learned a trick. They hate packing tape!! I put clear packing tape on the side of my chairs and my couch and after a few months they left it alone!! They also loved to dig in the dirt of my Fiddle leaf fig… So I covered the dirt with aluminum foil. Cats hate aluminum foil on their feet, so I solved both problems…Sometimes though I had to explain to people why I had tape on the side of my furniture, but since it was in the formal living room I didn’t have to worry about that a lot!! I enjoy your blog so muchReplyCancel

  • Gabrielle - February 5, 2021 - 12:36 AM

    Thanks, Laurel! Love you and your blog. Glad I missed the unpleasant posts..so sorry you did not! I will continue smiling every time I open my inbox and see a post, and think, “Oh, I wonder what beautiful and fun things Laurel will share in this post!” You are such a blessing to many!ReplyCancel

  • chloe young - February 4, 2021 - 10:32 AM

    The solution for my 3 cats are scratching posts. My hubby sprinkles LOTS of catnip on them and they leave my furniture alone 🙂 Also – spray bottle of water. All i have to do after gently squirting them a few times is shake the bottle and they stop doing what ever they are doing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 4:47 PM

      Peaches ignored his scratching post. I even tried putting catnip all over it. He would initially go and lick it off and roll around in it, but then, the furniture beckoned him back. lol The spray bottle sounds like a good idea, except what happens when you go out or at night when they’re bored?ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 4, 2021 - 9:46 AM

    The best performing fabrics (in my test) were from Perennial (from the Perennial showroom). Perennial swatches from other sources did not clean up as well. The fabric I used was from Pindler and I am very happy with it.ReplyCancel

  • Terry - February 4, 2021 - 9:34 AM

    AND the winner was ???? (Name/Brand plz)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 4:54 PM

      Well, I’ve never used Crypton or Sunbrella or the like. I’ve had excellent results with 100% polyester velvets like in the post linked to.

      It appears that some brands of Crypton might gray, although I don’t have any knowledge of this happening or what could possibly be causing it.

      Perennials fabrics in a tight weave are beautiful and a good bet.

      Ultra-suede is a classic winner, unless one doesn’t like the look.

      And, as stated, plain ol’ heavy-weight tightly woven cotton fabrics are very durable and washable, but do need to be preshrunk and also never put in the dryer except on fluff.

      There is no best, but many fabrics that are excellent.

      Linen blends are also terrific. However, please read the linked to posts for more information.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 4, 2021 - 9:30 AM

    A year ago I set out to find a (not quite white) fabric for a high use family room sofa. I did a stain test on each of my swatches by dabbing each with mustard, coffee, chocolate, red wine, and catsup, and letting the marks sit overnight. Then I used cold water to dab the swatches clean. Some of the swatches cleaned up like new, others cleaned up but with more work, and still others held on to a shadow of the original spot. All of these samples were performance fabrics, but from various vendors. I couldn’t use the best performing of these fabrics because the color picked up too much green in my room, but I am happy with my choice. I have even been able to remove dried blood with no consequence to the fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - February 4, 2021 - 12:42 AM

    We used a Sunbrella fabric on our new couch. It actually looks and feels great and we’ve had many compliments on it. But the best thing is that our two cats CANNOT damage it. Lord knows they have tried but I cannot find any evidence of all the scratching and pulling I can hear them doing.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - February 3, 2021 - 11:40 PM

    Ok So I proposed a performance fabric by Kravet for a client and it has been a problem: the fabric stretched and had to be returned to the workroom, not once but twice. It still does not look right. It also pilled. I contacted Kravet and they said that they do not guarantee against either problem. They suggested that the client use a pilling tool. So this fabric was not cheap and it has cost way over what it would have been if we just used the cotton duck!!!! Lesson learned and beware!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 5:07 PM

      UGH! I’m so sorry and all too well know that pain!!! It’s awful. It sounds like this fabric required knit-backing. I used to do that for at least half the fabrics that I used for upholstery. Better spend a few more dollars and take an extra couple of weeks for the order than go through these nightmares.

      I did a fabric from Kravet once nearly 20 years ago that unraveled when cut on the bias which it is for the welting. Ugh again! It started falling apart, like the day after it was delivered. Two clients, too.

      Coincidentally, it was also Kravet and they also gave me a hard time. “Well, Laurel, we don’t know what the fabric was being used for.”

      Ummmmm, like I was using it for dog beds???

      No. I used it to upholster two club chairs and an ottoman. They did finally send me more yardage, but my lame upholsterer who made the custom pieces must’ve seen it unraveling and then charged me full-price to reupholster, plus pick up and delivery. Way to lose my business!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Burbank - February 3, 2021 - 7:25 PM

    Laurel,
    Thanks for all you do, I look forward to your posts. I also can’t believe mean people lurk here. And especially thanks for the link to the Slipcover Maker! I am a big fan of slipcovers because of the washability, and changeability (seasons?), and I think that furniture with good bones should be kept out of landfills. Also, if cats maul a slipcover, the bad piece can be replaced. Or the whole thing. Also, I love a good project! Slipcover Maker has a new follower.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - February 3, 2021 - 3:58 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I hope you’re doing well & enjoying turning your new house into your home.
    I’ve been reading a lot of good things about a product called Folex for cleaning rugs or upholstery. All the “influencers” are saying how great it is for cleaning their furniture.
    My biggest problem is fading. Big windows are wonderful until you notice your furniture is getting lighter.
    When I got my furniture many years ago I didn’t realize this would be an issue. 🤦‍♀️ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 5:12 PM

      Folex is in the sister post. Maybe I should’ve just rewritten it.

      As for my home, it’s slow-going because I’m still transitioning from state to state! Don’t ask, it hasn’t been the smoothest sailing with red tape, etc.In the meantime, I’m spending several hours every week honing in on different areas and what I want to do. I’ve made a lot of decisions, already. That way when I get a contractor in here, hopefully soon, I’ll be able to sound sure of what I want to do.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - February 3, 2021 - 2:38 PM

    Hi Laurel, I read the past two blogs mentioned in this post trying to find out if it’s okay to use a generic fabric cleaner on Perennial fabric. I noticed my white dining chairs have jeans stains from my son jiggling his legs against the front of the chair. As a mother of boys, I know you know the absolute delight they are, but they do move a lot! Haha! Thanks for any thoughts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 5:19 PM

      Oh Honey, Honey, how well I know. But, if it makes you feel any better, I too, had blue-jean stains several years ago and it was on one of the side chairs with the green and white fabric. Of course, I was horrified and really mad that the dye on the jeans came off so easily. grrrr. When did that become a thing?

      Well, I scrubbed that baby, with diluted detergent and water and got 97% of it out. Then, I stuck the chair in my bedroom and put the other one in the living room.

      This was about seven years ago.

      Well, the other day, I was looking at both chairs, and I could not tell which one had the blue-jean stain. In fact, both chairs, the fabric looks perfect. I’m thinking that the chair in the bedroom with me wiping it down once a month or so and the sunshine, continued getting cleaner.ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Leonoudakis - February 3, 2021 - 2:00 PM

    I have a trick that I use to keep my sofas clean and looking good, in spite of having two dogs. The big advantage to my system is that is it pretty much invisible and avoids those awful pet couch covers. I do use performance fabrics for my sofas, but I also buy extra fabric and have a ‘cover’ made for the seats of the same material, that I then throw in the wash every other week or so. Crypton, I find, washes up great. The first time I did this, I had the local dry cleaning lady just sew up a big rectangle and tucked it around the cushions. The next time was more complicated, as it was a sectional, so I needed to find someone who would help sew two pieces, which turned out great. She stitched corners onto them and you cannot even see the cover when it is on. It also doesn’t slip or become untucked. I did this on a slip-covered sofa, which may seem like overkill, but I didn’t want to fool with cleaning it as often as I knew I would need to. I have since found out that Pottery Barn is selling a ready-made pet ‘mat’ of the fabric you choose for your couch now. I will add that it was difficult finding someone to sew the slightly more complicated pieces for me that wouldn’t charge a fortune, but neighbors on Nextdoor came through in the end. Anyone with a little skill and a sewing machine could do it.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Hijazi - February 3, 2021 - 1:51 PM

    Love you Laurel,
    We collectively have to think positively until we emerge from this illness. People are losing their minds indoors.
    Great post again.
    Any solutions for denim stains on linen and crypton?
    Thanks
    Again
    🤗ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 4, 2021 - 5:21 PM

      I think Folex or Mother’s Little Helper are great products. Also, I used to keep on hand that stuff that smells like lighter fluid. lol. That’s good for fabrics that can’t get wet and for grease.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Dennison - February 3, 2021 - 12:48 PM

    How could anyone ever leave a mean comment? You are fabulous and talented and funny and knowledgeable. We are lucky to have all your professional advice and insights. Same on the meanies! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂ReplyCancel

  • susie - February 3, 2021 - 10:55 AM

    I guess Furlow used white cotton duck a lot.ReplyCancel

  • Terry - February 3, 2021 - 10:54 AM

    Another line to check out w/ outdoor and Home Performance fabrics is a company called TempoTest. I believe they’re an Italian company. I had a Chair & ottoman re-upholstered recently from remnants found on Fabric guru and saved mucho grande’ $$. ReplyCancel

  • Filis casey - February 3, 2021 - 10:49 AM

    Wish I read your comments on durable fabrics before I upholstered my headboard I t now has stains from head I rushed to remove stains an d made it irretrievably worst Sunbrella is the WAY to go Lucky me in Fla now A painter is coming this week I am drawned to painting the living room a color which has a light green tint. the sofa is beige and chairs a pretty very light green Help too much green Shall I stick to linen white a essories berry isReplyCancel

  • Pamela Glazer - February 3, 2021 - 10:39 AM

    Seventeen years and counting with my beloved Tonkinese cat and until a year ago his brother. Early on they destroyed two expensive club chairs with nubby fabric. I tried sticky tape, deterrant spray and kind retraining before finally giving up. After living with ruined chairs covered with sheets I donated them to a dump when we moved. The only solution I have found is to choose smooth, tightly woven fabrics for your furniture. That eliminates linens and highly textured fabrics. My cats never bothered with anything smooth with a slick finish including silk, leather and others.ReplyCancel

  • BlondeChick - February 3, 2021 - 10:35 AM

    I, for one, am thankful YOU Started your Blog. I happened upon it a couple years ago – and must say – I enjoy reading it immensely! Love your humor – and sarcasm 🙂
    Unfortunately, I am still what I consider “dirt poor” – and an old lady – even though I’m only a couple years older and couple inches shorter that YOU – lol. My 1900 sq. ft. Lakeside Cottage is my only domicile – and am always trying to tweak it here and there to make it more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing TO ME – as hubs NEVER sees ANY reason to do ANYTHING – but that’s MY issue – not yours;) Blessings 2 U !ReplyCancel

  • The Slipcover Maker - February 3, 2021 - 10:26 AM

    Excellent post, Laurel! Here’s another option for anyone considering using cotton canvas: #12 weight natural cotton canvas from Big Duck. It’s woven with 2-ply yarns making it more tightly woven and less grainy than the regular 12 ounce canvas. Very durable, washable and long lasting. It’s untreated and offered only in color natural. I use it frequently for washable slipcovers and always love the results. Probably would work beautifully for upholstery, too. Congrats on moving into your dream home. It’s gorgeous!! — KarenReplyCancel

  • Hilary - February 3, 2021 - 10:18 AM

    Love your site, writing, and advice! It’s obvious how much thought and effort go into every post. I am in the champagne taste – beer budget category- and your blog gives me the inspiration and confidence to do the best that I can with what I can afford. Thanks so much!!!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - February 3, 2021 - 10:00 AM

    Hello! Last year we moved across the country. I had saved and saved, anticipating our move, and was able to buy a new sofa and a comfy chair and ottoman. The store I found sells Norwalk furniture with the option of a performance fabric called, “Revolution.” I was told it is made from recycled soda bottles! It is very soft and colored all the way through. It cleans easily, and even bleach can be used! We have only had the furniture for less than a year, but I am very satisfied so far. The fabric colors and textures are different on the sofa from the chair and ottoman, but all have remained lovely so far. Norwalk also has a program where one chooses every element of the pieces–arm style, cushions, skirts or not, legs, etc. I don’t know if you can print this with the brand names, so I understand if you delete it, but I am very happy with my purchase so far! I needed performance fabric because, though we have given up pets, I have three young grandsons–enough said!
    Thanks for your blogs; I refer to them often.
    Delighted for your move and new digs!
    Cheers!
    LindaReplyCancel

  • Barbara Francis - February 3, 2021 - 9:43 AM

    Hello Laurel, I do so love your meaty content and your wistful way with words. Pure delight. I have had an experience I want to share with you, I purchased the Perennials 100% acrylic velvet and reupholstered two sofas and two chairs in the white. It has been a nightmare. Certain dyes like blue flip flops, and black sued boots when sitting on the sofa rubbed off onto the fabric. It was ambitious to think white but I love the freshness of it. I have used everything imaginable to clean it. My home is a neat, clean home. I have found as of late, very late, 6 years since purchase that the Bissel upholstery cleaner with warm water and Dawn works well. For now I am cleaning and living with it. I am not sure I want to go as casual as canvas or denim although I do love the look and a slipcover is a good idea. Just wanted to share as it was not inexpensive and hope to help others. Loving your new home and seeing the process of it’s changes. All best, BarbaraReplyCancel

  • Annie L. - February 3, 2021 - 9:24 AM

    Good morning, Honey, I’m SO sorry someone was naughty via message. Being a designer is SUCH hard work in person. I can only imagine how hard it would be
    On a blog where people think they REALLY know you.
    You’re an absolute delight! Fabulously talented, wicked smart and hilarious! Take heart! 💝ReplyCancel

  • Yvonda - February 3, 2021 - 9:05 AM

    Thank you for all of your advice over the last few years Laurel – I always find inspiration in your posts. I have to weigh in on Crypton fabric though. I had a custom sofa made and covered in Crypton Silex Snow – and it has worn horribly. A couple of months in I noticed a “graying” of the fabric – (we don’t smoke, eat in the room, have little kids or pets, or a coal burning stove/fireplace). I did everything possible – mfg even sent to Crypton lab which said it was normal. I’m telling you it is not “Silex Snow” anymore – it is light gray- the whole thing!! So upsetting! – So, buyer beware on Crypton whites. – and no, it is not blue jean stains – we don’t even wear them.ReplyCancel

  • Frances E - February 3, 2021 - 8:59 AM

    Don’t pay any attention to the snarky folks. You always do such a great job. Thank you from all of us ( even the cranky ones)!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - February 3, 2021 - 8:49 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Always love your blog. It’s the only blog I read consistently because its always interesting. I agree with your comments in Sunday’s post but I guess magazines and big business need to come up with ‘trends’ to keep people buying. Would be better if they just rephrased the ideas. You know I have two arm chairs done in Robert Allen Ming dragon fabric that is soooo much like the Schumacher fabric, you would think it was a ‘rip off’. Of course it was a fraction of the price but I love my chairs and the fabric has held up really well though I am starting to see a little bit of fading on the arms after 8 years. I will be sad when they have to be recovered as I love the fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - February 3, 2021 - 8:49 AM

    This was a wonderful post on performance fabrics! I personally love them. Over the course of the last several years updating our home I chose performance fabrics due to their durability. I have three long-haired dogs and grandchildren. I had the family room sofas recovered 5 years ago in an indoor fabric, My kitchen benches are sunbrella indoor/outdoor. Spilled food just wipes off. Last year I ordered a Crypton white sofa for the living room. You would never know it’s a performance fabric and it’s impervious to stains. I still have an issue with hair collecting on the furniture but a Chom Chom roller every other day makes for quick removal. As I continue to update I look first at performance fabrics. Yes, you can pull the cushion covers off and throw them in the washing machine. Follow manufacturer directions. I also replaced carpet with Smart strand with pet pad. Every stain has come out. A blessing when all three dogs came home from the kennel with doggie flu. BTW, I love your blog.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:53 AM

      Thanks for sharing your experience Diane and kind words, too!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanette Pablo - February 3, 2021 - 7:45 AM

    Hi Laurel – I love your posts and have learned so much over the years! I know you have done several outdoor furniture posts but perhaps you might consider another. My 2020 project was a modest outdoor living room and I LOVE the look of Mark Sikes All America Outdoor Patio with the pale blue/white piping cushions and iron furniture. But it needs to be livable (not me washing the cushions every week (from squirrels, birds, husband, me, etc.) and it is in our garden (i.e., yard) not poolside. So how does someone like me choose a blue color dark enough and stain resistant enough to not have to be constantly cleaned, and elegant/Provence? (not “poolside bright”). I have considered Sunbrella Capri but worry it might not be dark enough and also too bright. But is navy (like my practical sister recommended) what I should do? I bet a lot of people are struggling with the finding the right look (for themselves) amongst the Sunbrella-type fabrics. Thank you! JeanetteReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:49 AM

      Well, the only thing I have to say regarding the color of the cushions and its ability to hide stains is this:
      there are trees and wild-life, the cushions are apt to get soiled. I don’t know how many chairs you have, but if it’s not too many, maybe the cushions could be taken off when not in use, or at least when there’s a storm brewing and brought inside somewhere? It might not be convenient sometimes but might save some of the upkeep?ReplyCancel

  • Garden Maven - February 3, 2021 - 7:26 AM

    I agree. Keep up the good work, the humor, and the great advice. Nil illigitimi carborundum. Oh ps your blog keeps reloading which is enormously frustrating. It may be my device’s fault but you might mention it to your webmaster.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:42 AM

      Hi Garden,

      That does sound annoying, but that, I don’t believe is on our end.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth K - February 3, 2021 - 6:33 AM

    I spotted a few of those charmless replies, and replies to replies, on the “interior trends” post. It looked to me as though one or two people were a bit too eager to put down other people’s taste, and to go from there to a put-down of their region, social class, worldliness, or all of the above. Someone missed the tip that you don’t show how classy you are by telling great numbers of people you don’t know how classy they aren’t. But could that be used as a springboard to a post on “the difference between buying high-end things and making a beautiful home”? Or even “having a graceful and memorable home WITHOUT high-end things?” Or even (horrors) knock-off or imitation or reproductions? Or– what the English are so good at– mixing the chic or elegant or high-end with Target/Home Depot basics or eBay/junk shop finds? The English can make American designers’ work or beautiful houses look bland, even TOO composed. And — is the marginal advantage of the high end really that great? I have some Ikea curtains on a wall of windows that I love. They are clearly inspired by Josef Frank and equally clearly are NOT Josef Frank. Sure, the glorious real thing would be better. But $15,000 worth of better? Part of the fun and creativity of decor is doing what you can within your constraints. Sometimes that’s more interesting and distinctive and, yes, classy than spending a lot of money on the correct Lee Jofa. As my grandmother used to say, “ANYBODY can cook with CREAM.”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:41 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Yes! You get it. Thank you so much.

      Somehow some people don’t realize that for most of my life, I’ve been dirt-poor. I mean, I could not even afford so much as a lamp from Walmart. I am not exaggerating. Of course, there were a couple of good years (2000-2002) and that’s when I ran out and bought stuff until the next unforeseen financial draught.

      They also don’t realize that I’m an old lady, now. I’d say “little old lady,” except I’m still 5’7″ lolReplyCancel

  • Pam - February 3, 2021 - 4:28 AM

    You are the best. Keep up all your good work. It is inspiring and appreciated.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:33 AM

      Thanks so much, Pam. I very much appreciate the support!ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - February 3, 2021 - 3:49 AM

    Velvet is cat-friendly. Their claws are able to go in without disrupting the fabric so much.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Roberts - February 3, 2021 - 1:19 AM

    Wow, a post on design trends set people off? That’s amazing. And so dang unnecessary. If people want to be angry how about being angry at the Covid virus–though any anger seems such a waste to me.

    Laurel, thank you so much for this post. I am in the middle of renovations for my new place and while I won’t go into details–I doubt anyone is particularly interested–I will say that I have been considering some white sofas and chairs. Not off-white, not beige, not cream. White. I also love black cats so I am sure you can see a potential problem. Your post this evening is very helpful and is now bookmarked. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2021 - 8:32 AM

      The fact that I’m walking and breathing sets some people off, Lauren. However, I very much appreciate the support.ReplyCancel