When choosing a piece of upholstered furniture, consider the types of fabrics you want. Linen, cotton and chenille are traditional fabrics that are durable and work well for upholstery. In addition to traditional fabrics, microfiber is a common covering for sofas and chairs. Although microfiber is not necessarily new, it are being used in new ways and you may want to consider it instead of the more traditional fabrics for your next couch or dining room chair set.
What is Microfiber?
Microfiber is a manmade material that is used to cover furniture because of its durability and aesthetic appeal. Microfibers are half the diameter of a fine silk fiber, one-third the diameter of cotton, one-quarter the diameter of fine wool, and one hundred times finer than human hair. Because of the small fiber size, microfiber is extremely dense and can hold color better than cotton or linen. It also resists water and stains better than other upholstery fabric, such as chenille.
Microfiber vs. Other Fabrics
In addition to being durable, microfiber is a dense material, so colors appear more vibrant than they do on other fabrics. Although it is available is an array of colors, microfiber furniture does not usually come in patterns or with different textures, like other upholstery fabrics.
If you are conscious about the environment, microfiber would not suit your lifestyle as processes used to make it do pollute, whereas natural fibers like cotton and linen do not.
Microfiber vs. Fabric Maintenance
Maintenance for microfiber is relatively easy. Unlike other fabrics like cotton or linen, microfiber is a naturally stain resistant material. If soiling does occur, a small amount of soap and water will usually clean microfiber. Also, vinegar and distilled water can eliminate stains from pets like urine. Microfiber couches can also be steam cleaned. For daily maintenance, a lint brush can be run over the material for easy cleaning. Maintenance for traditional fabric furniture like cotton or chenille, usually involves steam cleaning. However, a mild detergent and water can eliminate minor spills and stains from children and pets.
Because they are fine or small in diameter, heat penetrates microfibers more quickly than thicker fibers. As a result, glazing, melting or scorching can occur quickly. Keep candles and other heat sources away from microfiber furniture for safety.
Cost of Microfiber vs. Other Fabrics
Microfiber is relatively inexpensive and comparable in price to cotton, chenille and linen. A full sofa upholstered in microfiber generally costs between $500 and $1,200. The equivalent sofa in chenille, cotton or linen may range from $600 to $2,000.
Kathleen Jasper is a freelance writer and consultant. Her writing experience has been in public policy, environmental policy and education policy. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida State University and a Master of Public Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University.