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Honey, We Need A New Couch! Part I

Perhaps it’s the desire for a new sofa that leads to seeing a need for fresh paint, the carpet is tired and you have a piece of material that might create wonderful new pillows. You’re just waiting for that one spark of inspiration that will pull everything together. Where do you go for that?

Step One… The BIG Purchase

One of the first things you need to search for is that perfect sofa, the one that fits your family, your living room and your budget. Consider how you all use the sofa; lay down for naps, slouch on the couch or sit ram-rod straight in a formal setting. Be confident in your decision as this piece will be with you a long time, featuring in lots of candid family photos, game or movie nights and story/cuddle time. Go for the best quality that your budget will allow. And finally, figure out how you will get it into the house before you buy.

Add your personality to it, don’t hold back.

You will see lots of people choosing white, black, gray or brown because it makes an excellent background for pops of colour and texture.That doesn't mean it's the way you should go. If you and your family love boldness and pattern.

Fear Not - grab the bolt by the horns. Robert Allen Samples


What would happen if you reversed that – go for the fabric or finish that speaks to you? I promise, you will not be struck down by the material god. Fabric manufacturers do create all kinds of patterns that can adorn your living room, and not only for occasional chairs, pillows and throws.


Timeless Treasures Comfort & Joy Metallic Music Notes Black

Luxurious Suede adds

richness and sensuality.

Patterns and textures add richness and interest to any sofa and therefore to your space. Who knows, you may not even want or need throws and pillows because your furniture will be its own artwork.

​Give leather a real consideration, as it is a long lasting finish that really is easy to clean if you do it right away. Leather is also available in textures and many colours, so you are not restricted to conservatism here either

I’m not suggesting that a coloured or highly patterned sofa is for everyone, just as much as white or black are also not for everyone. I am saying that as a high ticket item that could be with you for a decade or two, your sofa should be your first consideration in redesigning your living room, and you might as well enjoy it!


Most furniture stores will have hundreds of upholstery samples for you to choose from. Ask about grades and rub counts and construction methods (machine or man-made). **Please read attachment for more info on the Martindale Rub Test) Ask your questions, have some fun with it because it is not a life and death decision.

Sit and relax however you normally do at home. The whole point of going to a store is to try before you buy! The sales people will not mind – they might ­even sit with you ;)

If you want to keep your sofa for decades, choosing the right textile for your sofa is as important as making sure the construction standards are high. Hard-wearing cotton and linen are winners, but when mixed with a cheap synthetic, they can often pill after a year of wear. High-quality synthetic microfiber fabrics, however, can mimic the weave and handle of most natural fabrics and are stain-resistant, making these textiles excellent choices. They are also less likely to fade.

Heylen-furniture-store- simplified transitional living room Tip: Choose fabrics with patterns in the weave as these tend to wear better over time. Ask the store you are buying your sofa from for a swatch to take home. See how the fabric looks in both natural daylight and under artificial light at night.

However, if you think there is something more fun than furniture hunting, Iconic Inspirations will happily offer you an affordable consultation & pre-shopping service. Call today to make your appointment.

Cheers, Wendy

Step Two…..Floored By Choices …. Next Week

4941-49 Street, Camrose AB T4V 1N3



**The Martindale rub test is a measure of the durability of a fabric. The tests are undertaken on upholstery fabrics to check their suitability for various uses – i.e. decorative chairs, heavy-traffic areas or commercial furniture. The test is also known as the ‘rub test’, and tests for abrasion resistance.

Test results are given as a score of 1000’s of rubs or cycles, and the higher the number is, the more suitable the fabric is for heavier usage. Fabrics are categorized depending on their test results.

Charles Parsons Interiors categorizes upholstery usage as follows:

Decorative (less than 10,000 rubs)

Recommended for decorative purposes (i.e. cushions and accents). Not recommended for general use.

Light Domestic (10,000 to 15,000 rubs)

Recommended for use on furniture that will only receive occasional use. This is due either to the use of delicate yarns in the composition of the fabric or due to the delicate construction of the fabric itself. Some decorative fabrics may not be suitable for use on heavy wear areas or fixed upholstery areas due to “dry clean only” cleaning being required, and this is not possible other than where the fabric can be removed and taken to a dry cleaner. Refer to the relevant sample if unsure.

Heavy Duty (25,000 to 30,000 rubs)

Suitable for heavy duty domestic use i.e. use on the main furniture in the house that will be subjected to high levels of everyday use. Also suitable for motion furniture (i.e. recliners) and for furniture with a fixed seat or back. Also suitable for light commercial applications.

Commercial Grade (30,000 plus)

Suitable for heavy duty commercial use and heavy duty domestic use. Suitable for all commercial furniture applications and environments.

A Martindale test is for abrasion only. There are many other factors that can affect the wear and tear of upholstery on a piece of furniture, including chemicals used in washing the fabric, UV exposure, embedded dirt, and surface treatments such as soil guard or flame retardant treatments. A high rub count does not mean the fabric will be impervious to cat claws!

Credit to:

For technical viewing, there are several you-tube videos available.

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