Reupholstering furniture and creating hand-made decorative accents can be a time-consuming, but rewarding hobby. It also gives you the freedom to show your personal taste and style in designing a piece of furniture exactly how you want it!
When you start out covering furniture, you need to consider the type of fabric that is best for the job. You will want something that stands up to the daily wear and tear and is still beautiful. Here are some factors that you need to think about before you make your fabric selection.
Embellishments and Accents
If you are new to reupholstering furniture, you may want to start out with something simple. Instead of creating a whole new look by covering the entire surface, try adding some decorative details to show a pop of colour and add contrasting texture.
Try attaching some ribbons or a new cording for a border. With the right kind of fabric paint, you can even paint a design on a piece of furniture you already own. For a highly unique and personalised piece, you can add some decorative mesh fabric that has been printed with the design or photograph of your choice.
The fabric that you choose for your furniture creations should be stain-resistant or easily washable. Regular use brings along accidents and mishaps. Someone may spill their morning coffee or get ink on a cushion.
When you have small children and pets in the home, the likelihood of stains increases quite a bit. Sticky hands and muddy pawprints will surely show up at some point. Keep this in mind as you peruse your fabric options.
Any piece of furniture that is made to sit on needs to be highly durable. It should hold up to consistent use. The fabric on a sofa or chair stretches and shifts when it is occupied. There are some types of fabric that can withstand this repetitive action and others that will be prone to tearing and losing their shape.
Cotton is usually somewhere in the middle of the durability scale. The choice of colours and patterns is enormous, but you should always select heavier cotton if possible. Leather and vinyl are the toughest choices available. They are traditionally used in furniture making because of their ability to withstand a lot of wear. However, they can be more difficult to work with and require special tools that are able to puncture the tough fabric. Others, such as linen and silk are much more delicate and should be used with care and caution.
Patterns and Textures
Part of the fun of recovering old furniture or creating your own is playing with all the different patterns and textures that you can come up with. There is no limit on the freedom you have to make some stunning and stand-out pieces.
If you can’t find any fabric that has a pattern you love, think about making your own design. Buy a few yards in contrasting or complementary colours and sew them together in stripes. You can also applique patches made from various materials onto a plainer piece of fabric.
Placement and Usage
Each time you begin a new project, think about where this piece of furniture will be kept in your home. Some rooms get much heavier traffic than others, which will restrict your fabric choice somewhat.
A chair meant to be placed in your main living room should be comfortable and functional. A decorative bench seat for a spare bedroom, however, can be more of an accent piece since it won’t get heavy use. You can use a lighter fabric like fancy silk without fear that the piece will be ruined so quickly.
Purchasing fabric for a big project like furniture coverings can get expensive. Reduce your costs as much as possible by following a pattern. This way you can calculate the exact yardage you need and not waste money on excess materials.
Creating custom-made pieces of furniture can be a wonderful creative outlet. With time, you will learn what works best and discover shortcuts and the techniques that work best for you. You may even get some requests from your family and friends to make something for them to have in their home!