Buying Guides

How to choose the right fabric for your furniture

Purchasing a new piece of furniture comes with many different decisions before you can finally sit or lay down on your dream design. There’s the style, size and of course, which fabric do you go for? Choosing the right fabric can determine the whole colour scheme of the room it’ll sit in for many years to come, so getting it right is a must! 

Naturally, opting for the perfect colour fabric to complement your current scheme is where most people will start their journey, however, there are other factors to consider too. 

At, we know no two homes are the same which is why we have over 160 fabrics for you to choose from. Choosing the right upholstery for your furniture, whether that’s a sofa, chair, bed or footstool can be quite challenging, but it should be fun!  

Our fabulous collection features luxurious velvet’s, practical leathers, lovely linens, cosy wool’s and so many more, so today, we’re taking a closer look at what factors you should consider when finalising your fabric choice. It’s a big investment, so don’t rush your decision and carefully consider the following factors… 

Swatch wall heaven in our Chelsea showroom


When choosing a fabric, functionality is key. You will need to consider how much use your piece of furniture will receive and whether it will be be used by pets or children?

If you’re choosing a fabric for a sofa which needs to withstand high footfall, lots of use and perhaps the odd spill or stain due to children, pets (or even red wine lovers) then opt for a durable fabric that’ll look lovely for longer.   Our Smart Linen range has been designed to withstand spillages and their versatile colours look great in any home, so these are worth checking out if you’re buying a sofa for a family home.

Our House Plain Weave and House Basket Weave ranges also offer greater durability in a selection of neutral colours, so if you’re looking for a fabric that’ll look great in your home for a longer period of time that won’t change with the trends, then be sure to add these to your wish list too. 

Humphrey showcasing our Pumice house basket weave

If you’re looking for a little luxury in your fabric but need it to work hard for your home too, our range of Smart Velvet’s are here to make your day. The special coating on this fabulous range mean they are easier to clean and maintain then other varieties of velvet, giving you a few extra precious moments to mop up any spills or stains before it sinks into the luscious pile. The smart velvet range is incredibly soft to touch and looks outstanding on a wide range of our styles, so if you’re looking for a luxe look with a great resistant quality, check out this special fabric. 

Light Lychee or dark Jet? Which Smart Velvet would you choose for our Harper armchair

Pet friendly fabrics

Most of us will consider our dogs and cats as part of the family, so try as we may to keep them off the sofa, we will often find them curled up in our favourite spot anyway! Contrary to popular misconception, one of the best fabrics you can opt for in a house with pets is leather. It’s hard wearing and only gets better with age and lots of use. So, if your four-legged friend’s leaves any muddy or dusty foot prints behind after they’ve sneaked on to the sofa for an afternoon snooze, then any traces can be easily wiped away. Our two ranges of leather, Bellweather Leather and Vintage Leather, offer a quality finish to your sofa with plenty of character! 

If leather isn’t for you but you still need to consider a fabric which is suitable for paws, opt for a fabric they cannot get their claws caught in. Our Brushed Linen Cotton would be ideal for this as its highly durable, plus, if you opt for a sofa where you can remove the covers, our Brushed Linen Cotton can be professionally dry cleaned – leaving you with less to worry about when your cat or dog jumps up beside you!  Avoid fabrics with a loose weave to protect their claws (and your sofa) and remember fabrics such as wool look cosy, but pet hairs can easily bed in making it difficult to clean. 

To avoid your pet climbing on to your sofa altogether, treat your pet to its very own place to rest with our pet beds in a choice of brushed linen cotton fabrics or a specially created design from Fenella Smith. Although we can’t promise that’ll keep your pet out of your favourite spot, but the option is there! 

Make a style statement, that is still family friendly, with our Costello in Satchel vintage leather
“A bed of my very own, you say?” Our Cecil dog bed in Pug by Fenella Smith being thoroughly tested

Fabric style

The style of your chosen fabric should complement your current decor, but also represent your own personal style. The wonderful thing about having over 160 fabrics to choose from is you can select a style that perfectly suits your interior preference. We have a wide range of options that’ll suit classic, contemporary and mid-century styles, along with colourways and textures that lend themselves perfectly to our sofa shapes, armchairs and beds.

Remember, a sofa or a bed is often an investment piece so you need to choose something you are going to be happy to live with for a long time. Opting for a neutral colour on a large piece means you can style the room around it and change it with the seasons – this way, the sofa will not dictate the room.  

If you are considering adding pattern to a room, consider the scale of the pattern. It should be appropriate to the size of the furniture it is covering as well as the room size. A large bold, pattern might work better in a larger room, while a more muted or smaller one might be a better choice for a smaller space. If the size of your home doesn’t quite work with a patterned sofa, accent it with prints and patterns from our House Scatter cushion collection or from our Design Lab partners

Our Walter armchair in Abstract Square by Tamasyn Gambell creates a heard-turning accent point in a neutral surrounding
Keeping it calm –  our Emilia bed in Albaster brushed linen cotton 


Colour is often the first thing we think about when purchasing a new piece of furniture. Playing with swatches, creating mood boards and making that all important decision are all part of the fun! Just like the style of your fabric, colour can easily dictate the feeling of a room. 

First, decide if you want your sofa to be the focal point of the room or if you want it to complement your current colour palette. If you’re going for a show stopping piece, then a brightly coloured or patterned fabric will work wonderfully. Our vibrant collection of Pure Cotton Matt Velvet’s will have no problem making a statement in your room as well our bold patterned choices from Design Lab partners Tamasyn Gambell and Gail Bryson.  If you’re opting for an energetic pattern, just remember, you will be styling around this piece for years to come! A smaller piece of furniture, such as an armchair or footstool, lend themselves perfectly for adding a pop of colour that can easily transform the look of a room and it can be moved to complement other areas in the house if you need to. 

Add pops of colour against a solid background for added interest, like our Jasper sofa in Cyan smart linen and our striking Gail Bryson Twist cushions and Potter Pineapple scatter cushions

If you’re adding a sofa into a room where the colour scheme has already been decided, a neutral option is often the most popular. Colour ways such as blue, grey and beige can easily be a part of your home for many years. Neutral colours are easy to style around and can be effortlessly updated as styles and trends change throughout the years.  If a solid neutral colour is a little too safe for you, our Speckle fabric provides a solid colour to style around with flecks of colour creating interest and texture to the overall look of the piece. 

Our Speckle fabric on Jetson dabbles just a little in colour so you can create a distinctive look for your home

Choosing a fabric isn’t just about how it looks on a screen, you need to get a good feel for it too before you make a decision. That’s why we offer free fabric samples to all of our customers. Choose up to 8 fabrics you love the look of and we will send the samples to you, along with any product cards you may want to request, straight to your door within a couple of days. As soon as they arrive, you can start creating something beautiful! 

Order your free swatch box here > Free samples