Jay Takach Evolo Design Cincinnati OHThey finally decided on a fabric for the new sofa. The selected color was perfect. The saleslady at the furniture store had a very good eye for color to match their room and it would fit well with a favorite leather chair destined to be incorporated into the overall scheme.

Then delivery. Something didn’t look right as the sofa was unwrapped in the driveway. Much lighter and more gold toned than expected. The new sofa was supposed to be brown with a blush of red, but it really came off as dark gold and seemed very different than what they intended. So why the big surprise?



Fabric Color looks different from store to home

To begin with, colors under natural light are revealing of the true color, and, oh!, how they wish they would have seen a sample in different light. They had not considered that their large room with big windows and lots of natural light would force a critical view of the color, different from the artificial light in the store’s fabric department. They had seen a small six inch swatch, but that didn’t work. Should have taken the fabric sample home and looked at it from all angles.

They then learned a lot about color. The knap, or lay of the fabric, definitely affects color. They were amazed at how the new sofa cushions changed color simply by turning them in different directions. Sounds trite, but true. Interesting that cottons don’t have knap, just synthetics. Suddenly they gained a real appreciation for professionals who know about this. They missed on the color because they accepted a saleslady’s opinion when they really needed insight from a professional designer. This led to an expensive mistake, avoidable with professional help.

And the issues didn’t stop there. They occasionally dog-sit a beautiful and coy black lab, and the couch becomes inviting. They would repeatedly test not only the stain resistance, but also the durability when using cleaning solutions. Ever wipe away a spot with some spot remover and see significant couch color come off onto your cleaning cloth? With proper guidance they would have made a different decision on fabric. So what did was learned?

8 critical elements to factor into your fabric investigations:

1. What is the real color in daylight/your light? And the larger the fabric sample, the better. Verify true color with you eyes so you know exactly what you are getting. Perform the quarter-turn test to see the variation in color due to the knap of the fabric. You may not like one of the colors you see.

2.How durable should it be? Get an understanding of the Wisenberg Double Rub Testand get the rating on fabrics being researched. If don’t see it, ask.

3.What is the clean-ability factor? Kids, dogs, wine and grape juice all pose their own clean up issues, so be certain your fabric selections are up to the task. Cleaning codes are also available on all fabrics if you ask.

4.Thread dyed or just dyed? Color fastness is an issue for long term beauty. You need to know that it can stand up to cleaning. And don’t forget sunny versus dark room locations as some colors bleach out and after a short time will look faded and
cheap. Get the scoop before you buy.

5. Leather or not? Certainly leather is durable and color-fast. Leather has advantages, but is also limited in options when your goal is to beautify a room and add a variety of textures and colors. Leather isn’t for everyone. Frequently sounds like a good decorator option until you get the low down from a professional designer.

6. What is your price and longevity decision? Fabrics built to last (sofas and chairs) require more research than expendable pillows and drapes. Think about what is more important to you. By working with the right designer, there are wonderful moderately priced fabrics and furniture combinations that will get the job done for you. It is easy to default to price when one doesn’t understand value.

7. How important is the weave structure? When making significant investments in fabrics, get an understanding of thread count, thread type and heft.

8. Sit-ability? You won’t likely see the exact color but you can feel the fabric by sitting on floor samples of the same fabric type. Comfort is important, so get informed by feel. This on-site research is worth the time. Some Olefin feels fine, but oplefin is not necessarily Olefin. Same with wool. Same with cottons. There is great world wide variation in manufacturing. Once the fabric is ordered, you are stuck with it. Make your choice the best choice.

Again, here is where a good interior designer can give you excellent guidance. After all fabric is their business.

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