Updated: Mar 16, 2019
I get this question (actually, a concern) quite a bit - "I love white upholstery but I have young kids and pets". And many years ago, designing an interior with white upholstery use to mean kids and pets weren't welcomed in some areas of the home. But these days it is not so much of a concern.
So what has changed? Well, manufacturers have come to understand how people truly live in their homes, and the trend is leaning towards ease of use, casual family living. Formal spaces are becoming less popular.
The answer to that age old war between white furniture and kids, is performance fabrics. It no longer has to be a war, or at least it's one you can win. Haha.
As the name implies, performance fabrics are made to outperform the wear and tear of real family living. And when we speak of performance fabrics, we are not referring to those after-market spray-on coatings that furniture stores try to sell you after you've invested in an expensive piece of upholstery. We are talking about fabrics that have been made with stain resistance technology where stains can't penetrate the fibers. This is called solution-dyed fabrics.
There are a few great companies that provide high quality, sophisticated solution-dyed fabrics that are perfect for busy families. I will include three in this post, but they have become more widely available to consumers. Typically they come in a wide range of fabric types like velvets and linens, and colors including white. Most quality upholstery vendors will have performance fabrics options available.
If you are not working with an interior designer for your design project, be sure to ask for performance fabrics. They typically cost a bit more per yard, but it is a worthwhile investment in the long run.
One company that has made it affordable to use performance fabric is Revolution Fabrics
Revolution Fabrics is one of the most stain resistant fabric on the market. Spills like ketchup, mustard, and grease come clean with a little soap and water. For tougher stains, their fabrics are bleachable; even dark colors, no need to worry about fading from bleach. Their fabrics are free of chemicals and VOC's making them easy on your home and the environment.
They are widely available with retail upholstery companies like and are at a very reasonable price point. Revolution is also available for purchase by the yard direct to consumers
Of course you can access a line of luxury performance fabrics through your interior designer. Perennials is not available direct to consumers, but are available through to-the-trade sources if you work with a designer.
Perennials fabrics brings remarkable high-performance to luxury fabrics with designs in 100% solution-dyed acrylic. They are designed for outdoors, yachts, commercial spaces and of course, indoor spaces. With options like perennials’ prints, wovens, jacquards and velvets there is a wide range to chose from for any application. And even though they are outdoor fabrics, they aren't rough or rigid. They offer the same softness and comfort that you would expect from indoor fabrics.
Thanks to their Nanoseal technology, their fabrics are fade resistant, mildew- and mold-resistant, bleach cleanable and easily maintained
Another industry leader in performance fabrics is Crypton. Their philosophy is that they are more than performance fabrics; they are intelligent fabrics.
That's really what we require from our fabrics; to allow us to LIVE in our homes, and not create a hands-off show place.
Crypton fabrics are used in several environments including offices, hotels, hospitals, cruise ships, so you know they will hold up in your home. They stand up to repeated cleanings and abuse while ensuring lasting beauty. Plus, they extend the life of furniture by at least 5 years. Crypton fabrics are stain resistant and repel odors and moisture
So if you have been ready to decorate your home but afraid that your kids and pets will destroy the fabrics, you no longer have to wait. Invest in peace of mind and comfort and don't wait to live your best life. Technology has made it possible to have the best of both worlds.
I know I have just shared a lot of information. So where do you go from here? Well, my best recommendation is to call in an interior designer. Even having the knowledge that performance fabrics exist in the marketplace may not be enough to make an informed decision. There are still things to consider including pricing, sustainability, if that's important to you, and if they are safe for your family.
Your designer will look at your needs and recommend the right product for your specific application. There are options for adding stain protection to the fabric that are safe for the environment, and even vinyl lamination; your designer will have several options that are custom to your home and needs, unlike a retailer who will usually only sell you from what they have available to them.
If you do decide to select your upholstery on your own, be sure to ask questions like: Has the fabric been chemically treated? Was chemical applied after the sofa or chair was made? Is it solution-dyed? Is it bleachable? Is it fade resistance? Is it a suitable strength for upholstery? How to clean and care for the fabric?
You don't have to wait to have the home you desire. White upholstery and kids can co-exist. But you need to know what to look for to ensure it holds up to your family's needs
Book a studio session with me, and come and explore performance fabrics. Book HERE
Wishing you beauty and inspiration!