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What Will Performance Fabrics Do for Your Home?

What Will Performance Fabrics Do for Your Home?

You’ve heard of performance fabrics. Perhaps you heard first about their use in the gym, or on outdoor furniture that can withstand the elements.

Performance fabrics have also moved inside the home, though pretty recently.

10 years ago, I remember certain upholstery jobs using performance fabrics for indoor designs. However, the technology wasn’t to the point yet that those fabrics had all the design options people wanted. Homeowners had to sacrifice texture and softness, not to mention color and style.

Just a few years ago, all of that changed. Now, performance fabrics are about much more than your patio or pool sides.

If you formed your opinion on performance fabrics more than a year ago, it’s time to reassess the direction these fabrics have gone in. Let’s start with what performance fabrics really are, then talk about how and where to use them…


Performance fabric options for home upholsteryWhat does “performance fabric” mean?

A performance fabric is typically water-resistant, stain resistant, and generally wear and tear resistant. These fabrics will age, but their strength and the ease of cleaning them extend their life by years.

Some performance fabrics are made from natural materials that have these qualities, but generally they’re manufactured. This is why the changes in technology recently has had such a big impact on what performance fabrics can do.

The most common threads used are olefin, acrylic, polyester and nylon. Each can be treated with chemicals that give them added qualities, too.


Performance Fabrics Comparison Chart

Select the right performance fabric, and you’re looking at a combination of benefits like:

  • Water-resistance
  • Chemical-resistance
  • Anti-abrasion
  • Stain-resistance
  • Washable with a simple cloth
  • Quick to dry
  • Recyclable
  • Low-static
  • Heat-resistance


Where should you use performance fabrics?

You clearly have choices of what kind of fabric to choose! Each option comes with its own benefits, and choosing will be easy after a conversation with your designer or the fabric vendor.

The better question is…where should you use performance fabrics?

Here are some places I recommend:

  • Barstools…barstools can be pool side, of course, but you should ALSO favor performance fabrics on the bar stools in the kitchen. You’ll never have to worry about staining someone sits there with a cocktail! Bar stools also get LOTS of wear with their high seats and people sliding on and off…
  • Nooks…the breakfast nook should have performance fabric cushions so NO ONE feels bad when they spill the ketchup! Especially if you love those light and bright colors for this sunbathed seating space, performance fabric will keep seats bright MUCH
  • Family rooms…anywhere you know that someone will be crawling up to relax, performance fabric will protect furniture from play, food and beverage, plus long-term wear and tear.
  • Dining rooms…your dining room chairs deserve to be upholstered in performance fabrics, too. You can easily clean them whenever food or drink is spilled without anyone feeling bad later!
  • Playrooms…whether it’s a child’s playroom or a “family” space like your home theater, snacks and popcorn and sippy drinks will soil the furniture at some point. Performance fabrics are especially important here.

Performance fabric velvet on dining room chairs

Once you decide where you’ll use performance fabrics, let me tell you exactly what that will do for your home…


1: You’ll make it more “family friendly”

Whether “family” means regular foot traffic, the little ones or your fur babies, performance fabrics are the perfect (and really only) solution to keep furniture looking beautiful long-term. Messes will happen, and clean-up is easy with the right fabric selection.


2: You’ll finally have FUN with white furniture!

If you LOVE white furniture but have rarely braved that risky selection, this is your opportunity to GO FOR IT.

White furniture will generally show every smudge and sign of wear. It quickly turns a nasty shade of gray! White and light-colored performance fabrics were engineered to maintain their bright appearance, and their life is extended even longer with how easy it is to clean them when a mess does happen.

White furniture

What do you think about the rising trend in black and white design, by the way?


Performance fabric velvet on throw pillows3: You’ll lock in a bigger return

You’ll get two WONDERFUL returns on your investment in performance fabrics:

  1. First, you’ll get a bigger return on investment. It’s unlikely you’ll sell much of your furniture. It will go with you when you move, or you might just donate some of it. HOWEVER, in the case you do sell any furniture, performance fabrics will bring the value up considerably. You don’t want to have to re-style your upholstery every few years due to stains, scratches and mildew, either…protect your investment with performance fabrics instead.
  2. Second, you’ll get a bigger return on ENJOYMENT. These days, even velvets and other wonderful textures can be achieved with performance fabrics…meaning you do NOT need to sacrifice style!!

A beautiful home should reflect your personality, but the function MUST reflect your lifestyle. Now, performance fabrics can finally do both.


Performance fabrics can handle spills and dirt while keeping up with your style, whatever “look and feel” you’re going for.

Without sacrificing softness or style for durability and ROI, the only argument against performance fabric is for the spaces you hardly ever use. In fairness, the investment isn’t necessary there.

To start designing and selecting your fabrics and other home projects, use our walk-through remodeling planner. It’s a complimentary download and SO easy to use.


And once you do start shopping, here’s how to get a good deal on furniture, and here’s what you need to know about bedding fabrics.

More questions I didn’t answer? Get in touch to talk about your interior design dreams…

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