Guide to Fabrics & Colours
Think about the space you are furnishing; is there natural or artificial light? Do shadows and seasonal changes in the light need to be considered? Check how your chosen fabrics look in different lighting, as it can have a significant effect on the appearance of colour. Light fabrics will brighten low lit areas and darker fabrics help add depth to well-lit spaces. Would you prefer a reflective, shiny finish to the fabrics or perhaps a matt finish? For example, would reflective glare be something you would need to consider?
Have you considered how different coloured fabrics can be used to separate areas for different zones/purposes? This can be a great way to help users navigate through spaces and understand what each area is for.
Think about the space being furnished and the colours already there that cannot be changed (walls/carpet/floor) and consider colours that will complement these.
When choosing a colour don’t forget the finish of the upholstery can change the appearance of the fabric, for example, a linen effect royal blue will look different to a shiny vinyl royal blue.
Check whether there are any behavioural triggers associated with the colours you are considering. For example, reduced vision causing concerns over distinguishing dark fabric from a hole or overly bright colours being too provocative.
Think about the colour tones or the feeling you wish to create. Cool, earthy and fresh – pastel blue, green and yellow. Whereas a warm cosy feel could use red tones, peaches and oranges. If more than one colour is required, do they complement each other? Do they complement their surroundings? Perhaps the colours need to match company brand colours or staff uniforms?
If you have a colour in mind for the fabric, think about if you want the entire furniture covered in the same colour or maybe just the seat in a bold colour and the rest in a plainer finish. If more of an accent is required the piping of the furniture can be done in the colour with the main upholstery being a more natural finish. Consider having one colour which is the main theme and using accessories around the room to highlight it, such as artwork and cushions.
When looking at patterned fabric, these often include a few colours being used together. Don’t forget to make sure at least one colour in the pattern matches either the surroundings or another fabric chosen on another piece of furniture. Are patterns suitable for the environment or will they cause confusion or behavioural issues? Does the entire piece of furniture need to be upholstered in a pattern or would just the seat be enough, so it’s not too bold or busy looking?
When choosing the material needed for your upholstered furniture, think about the need for water-resistance, wipeable or anti-microbial fabrics. Vinyl-backed fabric creates the look of soft materials but retains the functional benefits of vinyl for being waterproof. Vinyl fabrics are harder wearing, easier to wipe clean and suited to more challenging environments. If you are concerned with repetitive behaviours and how long the fabric will last before looking worn, in which case the Martindale Rub Test should be considered when browsing. What do the fire regulations require on the premises and in the space being furnished? All of our fabrics are Crib Source 5 as a minimum but Crib Source 7 is also available is required. We always recommend upholstered products are cared for in accordance with our care guidance to prolong the life of the fabric.