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How To Choose The Best Upholstery For Your Sofa

How do you choose the best upholstery for your sofa? There are so many materials to choose from, man-made and natural, and they all have specific qualities that fit specific needs. Deciding on the best upholstery will have practical implications for a customer’s lifestyle i.e. families, inevitable wear & tear, colour coordination with the internal décor, etc. So how do you choose the best material to cater to people’s needs?

Here are some things to consider for choosing the best upholstery for a sofa:

Who is the intended user/customer? 

When designing and manufacturing sofas, the intended customer should be at the top of your list for consideration. For example, if your customer is looking for a family sofa – they need a durable and easy-to-clean fabric. The sofa will be used every day and might be shared by kids/pets who are likely to cause wear and tear.

Cotton and linen are extremely durable; microfibres can mimic most fabrics (including cotton and linen) and are often stain resistant. Leather is also one of the best materials for upholstery as it is one of the easiest materials to clean. You can view our blog on Why Leather is one of the Best Materials for Upholstery for more information. You can also view our extensive range of practical and stylish fabrics for interior upholstery applications on our Sample Guide page.

For many customers, a sofa is an investment, so durability is a universal requirement. Choosing a material with a high-threat count for your sofa will allow it to last longer, this is something to look out for. Take a look at our fabrics for high-quality and durable fabrics.


Colour is another crucial factor when choosing the best upholstery for a sofa. It is typically the first thing customers notice. Whilst colour is largely down to consumer preference, a good question to ask is will the customer want a sofa that stands out or blends in?

Consider how colour will tie in with lifestyles, i.e. a neutral, lighter colour fabric will show marks easier but are often considered more stylish, such as Linum Tierra. Whereas a darker colour is good for hiding stains, such as Prizm Chocolate. Some people, however, view their sofa as the main event of their room and opt for a bold colour, such as our Filo Pistache. The main thing with sofa colour is that people choose them to go with their overall interiors – for some that’s bold, for others that’s neutral. Having a range of options means you can cater to more people.

Equally worth considering is pattern…

When considering a pattern, you need to think about size and scale. Larger sofas tend to look better with a plain and textured fabric, whereas a smaller sofa stands out with a pattern – this intelligent use of space makes a smaller sofa appear larger.

It may also be worth considering certain customer circumstances, in particular allergies. Long natural fibres are perfect depositories for dust, dirt, and pet hairs. So, if you are designing or manufacturing a sofa where the material can cause sensitivity or trigger allergies, it is worth using smooth, synthetic materials.

Should you need assistance in selecting materials, colour or use in your upholstery needs, give us a call on 01264 771414.


Boyriven is the UK’s leading independent supplier of fabrics to the interior/contract upholstery sectors, as well as the automotive and marine sector.

With extensive experience in the commercial upholstery sector supplying the healthcare industry and anything in the public domain, we understand the specific and often regulatory requirements for all types of applications.


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Boyriven Leathers

Boyriven has been supplying leathers to a multitude of upholstery sectors since it's founding in 1913. Whether the project is for marine or domestic uphosltery, we have you covered. 

Boyriven are proud suppliers to some of the world's premium brands

"After contacting Boyriven for advice on fabric selection, I was left in no doubt that I had contacted the right people for the job. Great communication, service and products!"

Interior Trim, BMW Mini

“Boyriven has been our supplier for over three years. Their product range is extensive and the level of service and support provided by the team is outstanding.”

Alan Bowers – English Harbour Yachts

"Boyriven delivered everything in a very efficient and timely manner with complete reliability. We are delighted with the products supplied and service provided."

Paula Mitchell - Clementine Creative

“After 42 years in the trade I thought another fabric supplier would not be of interest — I was wrong. Boyriven’s new fabrics and innovation have revitalised our range.”

Andrew Sykes - Foam for Comfort

"Boyriven continually work with us – and with our first tier customers – on new products, helping us to specify different fabrics and being totally responsive to our needs.”

Lee Ness - Global Upholstery Solutions

“Good quality products, reliable service, competitive prices and speedy delivery — what more could you ask for? Keep up the good work, Boyriven!”

Sam Gibbs - Upholstery Courses UK

Swatch guide service

We have an extensive selection of fabric held in stock to suit every type of project.

View our fabric swatches here.


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