Performance Fabrics for Your Busy Home

by Karen Kloostra

What is it that makes a house a home?  Is it the fur baby that happily greets you at the door with wagging tail and wet nose or the squealing kids running through the yard?  The smell of homemade mac and cheese bubbling in the oven or the sound of tires arriving in the driveway after a full day of work?

Our homes are a place where we make memories, cook for friends, wipe tears, give hugs, do laundry, clean toilets, and a host of other things.  They are a place of comfort and security. We bring children, pets and guests in to share life with us. For many of us, our homes are a place where we have ultimate control of the environment: we choose everything from paint and rugs to toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

Choosing the right fabrics for our homes is dependent on many variables. Do you have messy little kids, pets that sleep on the sofa, regular wine parties or Friday night pizza dinners in the family room? Performance fabrics are a new trend in home furnishings. Today’s homeowner wants a home that is comfy and low maintenance;  durability, cleanability, fade and odor resistance, liquid repellency as well as a soft luxurious feel are a top priority to most shoppers when looking at fabric for bedding or furniture.  

What does the average consumer need to know about performance fabrics? There are plenty of them on the market, and some of the more common tradenames for performance fabrics are Sunbrella, Crypton and Revolution. 

“For many of us, our homes are a place where we have ultimate control of the environment: we choose everything from paint and rugs to toilet paper and cleaning supplies.”

Sunbrella fabrics are made of solution dyed acrylic and are fade resistant, very durable, bleach cleanable and liquid repellant. They resist mold and mildew and are often found on outdoor furniture.

Now they are using the same technology and making fabrics more suitable for indoor upholstery as well. Patterns, textures and the overall feel of Sunbrella fabrics have improved greatly in the past couple of years.

Crypton is known to be resistant to stains and odor.  They too are very durable fabrics and are liquid repellant. Crypton is one of the best choices if you have pets because of the odor resistance. Crypton fabrics are dipped in a chemical bath, but don’t let that scare you; they are green guard certified which means they meet industry standards for low emissions.

Your greenest option would be to look for fabrics that are 100 percent Olefin, such as Revolution brand fabrics. They are inherently stain resistant and durable; however, they are typically not liquid repellent.  Revolution fabrics are resistant to sun fading and have the smallest carbon footprint of any upholstery fiber. It requires very little land or water for its production.

For today’s busy, fast-paced lifestyle, performance fabrics are a win-win. They are relatively maintenance free while extending the life of your furniture so you can focus on enjoying your home just as you intend to: with pizza, wine, kids, pets and all of the other messy joys of life!

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