Fabric Grades

One big part of buying a new piece of furniture is picking out the fabric! When you see a piece of furniture on display in a store, no matter what fabric it is in… there may be other options than what’s shown. The fabric choice matters greatly, especially when it comes to price and to the durability of the fabric. If you have pets and children, you probably would want a stronger fabric that can handle all of the high traffic. More durable fabrics though do cost a little more. But have no fear if you’re on a budget… cheaper fabrics can also be good!

Let me break down some of the fabric grades you may see when out shopping for a new piece of furniture!

You may see the grades listed in alphabetical order such as A through E. You may also see them listed in numbers.
At Pottery Barn for example, the grades are listed A through E. That being said, A is basically the cheapest of the grades verses E being the most expensive. Although the fabric grade is cheaper, that does not mean it’s any less good than a grade E fabric. The reason why it’s basically cheaper because it doesn’t cost much to make. Grade A fabrics are usually 100% cotton. Anything above a grade A is usually a blend of cotton and other fabrics, and possibly 100% polyester. Now, with a higher grade fabric usually comes with a higher cost. Along with that higher cost are fabrics that are stronger and may last longer.

It’s important to research what fabrics can handle your household traffic. If you have kids and pets, investing into a more expensive grade that can handle everything it may encounter would be more worth it than purchasing a piece of furniture that you will have to replace in 5 years.

Here is a nice website I have found to break things down a little more! Enjoy!

Twitter: @schoeabi 



Furniture Fabrics

Over the past couple of weeks at Pottery Barn, I’ve been asked quite a bit of questions regarding fabric choices for furniture and rugs. Sometime I know the answer and others, well not so much because we are human and I don’t know everything. Basically, I’m going to give you a small guide to what the basic fabrics that most furniture are made out of and how to take care of them. 🙂


Cotton is a natural fabric making it naturally strong.

Favorable Properties:  excellent drapability, comfortable, long lived with proper care and maintenance, hydrophilic/ absorbent.

Unfavorable Properties:  wrinkles unless blended or treated, low abrasion resistance, mildews if kept moist, low resilience.

Designer Concerns: cotton upholstery would need to be washed right away. Cotton is flammable and burns readily.

Image via http://cottonncomfort.com/benefits-cottonq/


Polyester is a manufactured fabric.

Favorable Properties: Durable/strong, soft-hand, abrasion resistant, doesn’t wrinkle, easy care, dyes easily, blends easily, thermoplastic, acceptable taste.

Unfavorable Properties: Oil stains can not be removed, may have oily texture, pills, static issues, varied hand, hot, not green, does not breathe.

Designer Concerns: Area rugs are best, pilling, staining and static concerns, do not use blends for bedding and towels.

Image via http://tokzin.en.made-in-china.com/


Nylon is a manufactured fabric.

Favorable Properties: Exceptionally strong, lustrous, elastic with good recovery, abrasion resistant, low moisture absorbency.

Unfavorable Properties: Harsh hand unless modified, susceptible to sunlight deterioration, sheen can appear artificial, conducts static electricity.

Designer Concern: Carpet kept clean and out of sunlight, finish for static, upholstery for commercial as it last too long, blends of nylon and wool for commercial use.

Image via http://thefabricfairy.com/white-solid-nylon-spandex-tricot-specialty-swimsuit-fabric.html

Hopefully these few fabric facts will help when choosing your next furniture piece or even clothing!

All this information is from my wonderful instructors in the Interior Design program at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI.

Here’s the link to my school’s program! Check it out!