You’ve made the (wise) decision to invest in a bespoke sofa. You’ve carefully noted down the dimensions, the shape and size and the exact level of squishy that you want the cushions to be. Now, you’re considering the all-important fabric choice to top off your pride and joy.

As you’ve probably guessed, your options are extensive and it’s easy to get tied up in the complexities of upholstery possibilities. 

We’d like to walk you through a few pieces of information which may help you to navigate this process for the very best results.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Bespoke Sofa image 2

Deliberations for Bespoke Furniture

Likely, the whole point in choosing a custom sofa was so that you would get exactly what you want. Choosing a piece of furniture from a retail outlet is not likely to check every one of your boxes, so now’s the time to get really picky and make sure that what you end up with suits you perfectly.

Consider your lifestyle

Logically, a sofa in a family home with furry friends and a high likelihood of sticky little hands is going to require a different fabric to a high-end penthouse for a corporate couple. 

Practicality needs to carry the same weight as design and colour, or you may find that your stunning sofa shows wear and tear far too quickly. It’s all very well pre-empting sofa abuse with the threat of sitting on the floor, but let’s be honest for a moment – if the family put their feet on the sofa and eat dinner in front of the telly now, they are probably going to do it once you’ve taken delivery of your new piece of furniture. 

Another oft-overlooked factor to consider is that of allergies within the family. Will your choice of fabric attract dust? Is it easy to clean? Can you opt for a mildew-resistant fabric? 

How will your fabric age?

Whatever your choice of sofa fabric, it’s worth looking to the future to make certain you’ll still love it in five years’ time. For example, leather tends to develop a patina as it wears, crumpling up in Dad’s favourite spot and perhaps becoming dull in places. Various fabrics will gradually lighten or change shade from the sunlight through the living room window. Some might be more prone to pulling or snagging from sharp kitty claws.

Another point which we’d like to throw out there is your colour and pattern choice. We will certainly create whatever you have in your head, but it’s up to you to consider if you want to run with the trending purple paisley or if you want something a little more timeless? 

Furniture design

While many interior designers love playing with colour, texture and style, many of us prefer to make more conventional decisions. What do we mean? Well, if you are choosing a traditional style of sofa then perhaps the best fabric choice would be floral or muted colours and soft designs. A modern sofa would look great with sharp angles, strong colours, or sleeker fabrics.

Your choice versus the abrasion test

Abrasion tests for textiles aim to show how a product will stand up to wear and tear. There are two main tests which the industry refers to although this isn’t an exact science. 

As a guide, 30,000 – 40,000 ‘rubs’ is considered sufficient for high traffic areas which would include public spaces, guest houses and hotel lobbies. Low traffic areas, which may include executive offices or boardrooms, can get away with as little as 6,000 rubs. 

If you are buying for a busy family home and expecting heavy everyday use, then you would want to look at fabric above 15,000 on the abrasion test. 

Fabric Choices for Custom Sofas

Forgetting colour and pattern for a moment, let’s take a quick look at the fabric options that we have available to us and what their benefits are.


Leather is an age-old favourite which comes in a wonderfully subtle range of colours and textures. Some prefer a sleek and shiny finish, while others like a more weathered look.

Leather is indeed hardy and wears well. Spills can be quickly wiped up, and the distressed leather look is very forgiving if you’re likely to suffer the occasional scuff. Great for homes with pets and small children, and excellent for heavy duty wear.


Polyester, nylon, acrylic and rayon are some of the synthetic fabrics available to us. They are cheap and hardy options – but may not be as welcoming as a more natural fibre.


We love wool – a hard-wearing and comfy choice indeed. Wool is great for high traffic areas, is resistant to pilling and staining. On the flip side, wool needs to be cared for and cleaned carefully as it can hold onto odours.


A natural and cost-effective option, cotton is a comfortable and durable fabric choice. Easy to print on, and available in different weights, it’s a good choice. On the downside, cotton tends to stain easily and can hold onto dust and dirt.


Some of the most beautiful prints come in this strong and versatile fabric. However, linen can be a tricky choice as it wrinkles and stains easily, so is not going to be ideal for a busy family home. It will likely require specialist cleaning due to shrinkage, so bear his in mind when making your decision.


As far as luxury fabrics go, silk is simply beautiful. However, it is a fragile fabric and will stain and catch quickly. If you want a high-end look in a low traffic area, this may be the option for you.


Choosing removable and washable slipcovers is always a great idea. No matter your choice of fabric, being able to take them off and care for them without drenching your sofa padding or calling in a specialist cleaner is always a winner. 

Something different?

Let’s say that you are going full designer, children and pets are not an issue, and you want something with a “wow” factor. Choosing a rather decadent Tibetan wool which is incredibly fluffy and immensely cosy may be the best path for you.

Fabulous Fabrics for All

If you’re as excited as we are to get started on a stunning bespoke sofa for you and your family, then please get in touch. You may want to take a swatch of fabric home to understand how it looks and feels in your space. Or you may need a little guidance on fabrics which require special treatment versus those that don’t.

We have decades of experience in designing and creating sofas to the exacting requirements of our discerning customers.

Please feel free to call us on 03300 564 111 with any questions, and we will be happy to assist.