You may have heard of performance fabrics in the context of activewear, but performance fabrics don't only belong at the gym. Performance fabrics also have an important place in your home — and we don't just mean on the back patio. For decades, indoor/outdoor fabrics have been featured on decks, patios and poolsides, but now, performance fabrics are becoming increasingly popular for use inside the home.

Especially if your furniture experiences a lot of wear, performance fabrics are the perfect solution for keeping your interior upholstered furniture strong and beautiful. Let's take some time to explain in more detail what performance fabrics are, why they're useful, and where you should use them. Then, we'll highlight three of the best performance fabrics you can choose for your home.


What Are Performance Fabrics? | Why Are They Useful?Child-ProofPet-Friendly | Perfect for Someone Who Prefers White FurnitureWhere Should I Use Them?What Are The Best Performance Fabrics? | Revolution FabricsSunbrella | CryptonFind Fabrics That Perform From Davids Furniture & Interiors

What Are Performance Fabrics?

Performance fabrics are more durable than other fabrics. Typically, this means they are water-resistant, aren't likely to stain and are easy to clean. Performance fabrics are sometimes made from materials that naturally possess these qualities, but often, they are made from materials that wouldn't be quite so strong on their own then are treated to enhance their performance.

Some performance fabrics will be composed of a combination of fibers. Let's look at a few types of performance fabric materials:

  • Olefin: Olefin has inherent performance qualities without needing to be treated. It is naturally resistant to chemicals, stains, water, mildew and abrasions. Olefin is also easy to clean. Olefin can feel fairly smooth or more textured, depending on the weave's design.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic fabric is also resistant to chemicals, mildew and water and is easy to clean, but it is not as effective at resisting abrasions and is known to pill (become balled up). It looks a lot like wool and takes dye well. It is also wrinkle- and shrink-resistant.
  • Nylon: People tend to associate nylon with stockings, but this synthetic fabric has plenty of other applications. It's durable and effectively resists mold and mildew and shrinkage, but it stains easily if not treated. One unique quality of nylon is that it's elastic.
  • Polyester: Polyester is durable and easy to clean. It resists water, abrasions, stretching or shrinking, wrinkling and pilling. It is also resistant to most chemicals. One downside of polyester is that bacteria can multiply on it, which can result in an odor.

Some of the performance fabrics we'll discuss later are patented combinations of fibers that include some of the ones above.

Why Are They Useful?

So, why are these fabrics useful in your home? First, let's talk about when they're not necessary. If you have a formal sitting room you rarely use, this isn't a room where you necessarily need performance fabrics. Performance fabrics are the perfect choice for furniture that will experience more wear. Specifically, there are three instances where performance fabrics are especially useful.

1. Child-Proof

Anyone with children or who frequently hosts kids in their home should strongly consider performance fabrics for some of the furniture in their home. That way, when your baby spits up on the couch or your family is gathered for dinner, and your toddler drops a meatball on the dining room seat, you don't have to fret over a hard-to-clean stain or resort to reupholstering the whole thing. The most durable furniture for kids is leather. It's about four times more durable than typical material, but leather isn't a traditional choice for certain pieces of furniture, including dining room chairs.

2. Pet-Friendly

Children aren't the only ones who can contribute to extra wear and tear to furniture. Performance fabrics are also great for people with pets, particularly if you welcome your pets onto your furniture. Pets can scratch material with their claws or can have accidents from time to time. If you're wondering about performance fabrics vs. leather, this is one instance where performance fabrics are likely a better choice. While leather furniture is easy to wipe down, it's not the best option for pets with claws that might puncture the leather. Performance fabrics are easily cleanable fabrics and tend to resist damage from claws and teeth better than leather.

3. Perfect for Someone Who Prefers White Furniture

If you enjoy the look of white or very light colored furniture but assume this fabric will show every little smudge and sign of wear, leading to a dingy rather than bright appearance, then you should consider performance fabrics. White or light-colored performance fabrics are better equipped to maintain their bright, clean appearance without becoming yellowed or dingy over time. This way, you can continue to enjoy that beautiful, clean color, long after delivery day.

Where Should I Use Them?

Performance fabrics are especially helpful for particular pieces of furniture throughout your home. Think through which rooms and specific pieces of furniture in your home experience the most wear or are most likely to need cleaning.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Dining room chairs: Whether your dining room chairs are fully upholstered or only have upholstered seats, the upholstery material on them should always be a performance fabric. This way, you can easily clean them when food or drinks get spilled on them. Since these seats also tend to experience more wear in general than some other pieces of furniture in your home, they should be able to hold up to it.
  • Barstools: Barstools, whether they're at a kitchen island or wet bar in your home, should also be upholstered with durable performance fabric so you don't have to worry about your family or friends staining the material with drinks. Kitchen bar stools will also typically experience a high level of wear. You can also consider leather for bar stools.
  • Breakfast nook: If you have a breakfast nook with upholstered cushions, this is another perfect example of a place where performance fabrics can help prevent stains. Especially if you want a light color for a bright, airy feel, opting for a normal upholstery rather than a performance fabric could cause your cushions to become dingy rather quickly.
  • Home theater seating: If you have a home theater room where you and your family like to relax and snack on popcorn or sip on drinks, then you should consider performance fabrics. Leather is also an excellent option for home theater seating, but if you would prefer fabric, then make sure you choose a performance fabric.
  • Family room seating: More formal sitting rooms or living rooms may not need performance fabrics on the furniture, but a family room, den or great room where your family spends a lot of time or where your kids play could benefit from performance fabrics on the sofa or chairs. Any furniture that you want to be able to clean easily should be upholstered with either leather or a performance upholstery material.

What Are The Best Performance Fabrics?

Not all performance fabrics are created equal, so let's talk about which performance fabrics are the best on the market. As Furniture Today points out, the winning combination for modern performance fabrics is an effective balance of practical performance and a luxurious look and feel.

1. Revolution Fabrics

Revolution Performance Fabrics are manufactured by STI, a family-owned textile mill in North Carolina. The mill has been operating and producing Revolution fabrics since the 1960s, though the composition of the fabric has changed over time, from natural to synthetic for even better performance. Revolution Fabrics are woven from olefin yarn. The base yarns are made in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, so the entire manufacturing process is domestic.

Revolution fabrics come in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which are durable and nearly impossible to stain. In fact, Revolution fabrics can only be colored through a solution dying process known as “dope dying” because they are so stain-resistant. This process works by mixing pigments in the liquid polymer so the color becomes part of the yarn.

Despite their tough function, Revolution fabrics are soft to the touch, so they belong on any type of furniture. If your furniture is positioned near a window, you'll also be glad to know that Revolution Fabrics are less likely to fade from exposure to sunlight.

If you're interested in finding an eco-friendly performance fabric, Revolution Performance Fabrics are created with up-cycled fibers. They also have performance qualities on their own without having to be chemically treated. This means your fabric comes free of perfluorinated compound (PFC) chemicals, and you don't need to treat it with anything. Just sit back and let the material perform, no assistance needed.

2. Sunbrella

Sunbrella also started in the 1960s, though they intended to make fabric for awnings which was more durable than the traditional choice of cotton. Sunbrella's awning fabric performed so well that they ended up adapting it for many other applications, including both interior and exterior upholstery fabrics.

These performance fabrics are comprised solely of acrylic which is solution-dyed in the same way that olefin yarn is. Sunbrella fabrics are mold-, mildew- and chemical-resistant and won't fade badly from the sun, which makes them an excellent choice for your poolside furniture. Some Sunbrella fabrics are intended for marine use, but they certainly don't stop there.

If you know the Sunbrella brand and associate it with outdoor fabrics based on its origins, make sure you don't only consider it for your pool or patio. Sunbrella fabric is also a great option for interior fabrics, from sofas to drapes and more. Sunbrella is committed to creating interior upholstery fabrics that are as beautiful as they are functional, so whether you want performance fabric with the look of light linen, jewel-toned solids or fun prints, you can choose a fabric that is sure to fit seamlessly with the rest of your decor.

It's important to note that Sunbrella is not as stain-resistant as some other performance fabrics, so it may not be the best choice if resisting staining is the main reason you're interested in a performance fabric. However, a positive feature that sets Sunbrella apart from other brands is that you can bleach it. The Sunbrella global support team works together to produce textiles that are of the highest performance quality.

3. Crypton

Crypton was founded with the intention of engineering a fabric that was resistant to stains, moisture and bacteria, all while maintaining a breathable, pleasant feel. Crypton Super Fabric emerged in 1993. At first, Crypton fabric found its way into more industrial applications and the hospitality business, but today, Crypton offers fabrics intended for your home.

Crypton fabrics are made of different materials depending on the application. In every case, these materials are treated to have the performance qualities that Crypton fabrics are known for. This treatment involves an immersion process to give the fabrics their resistance to stains and odors along with the addition of a moisture barrier that causes water and other liquids to bead on its surface rather than sink in. It's worth noting that Crypton cannot "cryptonize" any fabric material. Only specific materials work with their process.

There are other fabrics out there that are similarly moisture-resistant, but Crypton fabric sets itself apart by being vapor-permeable. In other words, it's breathable, which makes it more comfortable. This isn't just a claim or marketing gimmick. They test the fabric to make sure it really lets vapor through.

If you're worried about the fact that Crypton fabrics are treated rather than made from inherently durable or stain-resistant fabrics, it's helpful to know that Crypton was awarded the GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This means the fabric keeps chemical emissions to a minimum so you can breathe clean air in your home, even with Crypton fabrics present.

Find Fabrics That Perform From Davids Furniture & Interiors

If you're looking for fabrics that perform on every level — look, feel and appearance — come to Davids Furniture & Interiors. We offer the highest-quality performance fabrics on virtually all of our upholstery lines, including Henredon, Bernhardt, Sherrill, Fairfield, Stickley. and more.

Browse through our catalog online to see what sorts of performance fabric furniture we offer, along with other materials and even decor. If you can't find the piece of furniture you're looking for with the performance fabric you need to ensure it lasts, our designers can work with you to create custom furniture, outfitted with performance fabric that will perfectly meet your needs.

Whatever types of furniture or decor you're looking for to complete your home, we can help you find it at Davids Furniture We understand that every individual, family and home are different, so we want to reflect your style. You don't have to compromise to furnish your home with furniture that is easy to clean and made to last. With modern performance fabrics, you can enjoy these practical features and love the look of your furniture, too. Stop into one of our showrooms today to talk to our designers about where performance fabrics can fit into your home.

May 28, 2019