How To

Everything you need to know about buying a velvet sofa

June 21, 2021

Cosy, luxurious and stands the test of time – it’s easy to see why velvet has become one of the most popular upholstery fabrics for our homes. There’s a common misconception that velvet can be a high maintenance material, but in reality there are lots of options when it comes to choosing a velvet that’s as easy to care for as it is durable, depending on your lifestyle.

One of the most important decisions to make when choosing a velvet fabric is whether you’ll be opting for a natural or synthetic fibre. The key difference here is that synthetic velvet (often polyester) is more resistant to stains and watermarks, making it a great option for busy family life where the sofa can double up as bouncy castle, bed and floor-is-lava safe point. A good polyester velvet retains its softness, but if you want the touch of a classically plush material then a natural cotton velvet will be the one for you. Generally, cotton and polyester are the most common velvet options you’ll find on the market.

If you’ve also got a furry friend, we understand that this plays a huge part in choosing your new sofa fabric. As velvet’s thick pile naturally attracts more dust and pet hair, it’s a good idea to factor in regular weekly cleans. Being doggy parents ourselves, we also feature an Aquaclean Velvet in our Urban Collection, which is a fabric treatment that allows most household stains (plus whatever our pooch has been pawing at outside) to be cleaned up using just water. It’s the ideal velvet if you want that extra peace of mind when it comes to dirt or stains.

Now, hands up if you’ve ever completely abandoned what you’re doing to sit and stroke a plush velvet backwards and forwards, watching the tone of the fabric completely change? There’s been many a distracted moment in the showroom as we ooh and ahh over the way a velvet moves, and this is all down to the pile – which is the fibres of the fabric. The direction in which the fabric lies is called the “nap”, and so as you change the nap the fibres can appear lighter or darker due to the rich tones that velvets possess.

Another key factor to consider is the “rub count” of your velvet. This may be a term you’ve heard before, which refers to the durability of the fabric in question. To determine the rub count of a fabric, a specialist machine vigorously rubs the material in a figure of eight motion until it begins to show distress. The fabric is then given a numerical score to indicate how durable it is – anything above 30,000 is considered a high rub count which is ideal for frequently used furniture. It is worth noting that a rub count is a measure of exactly that – rubs – so this test does not take into consideration other varying factors, such as sunlight, which we always recommend to keep your upholstery out of.  

Ready to find your perfect velvet sofa? You can view our polyester classic velvets and Aquaclean velvets in our Urban Collection, or for our natural cotton velvets have a browse of our more traditional Snuggle Collection. You can order samples from the product page to make absolutely sure that you’ve found your ideal fabric match!

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