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Office Furniture Fabric Selection

September 2022

Selecting the right fabric upholstery for your office furniture can seem like a daunting task. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when selecting fabrics as there seem to be an infinite amount of options when it comes to colours, textures and patterns. Some of the most crucial components in the design and planning of a work space are the fabrics. To make the process a little bit easier, we've put together a useful guide on things to consider when choosing the fabric for your office furniture.

fabric selection

Office Furniture Fabric Selection

Before you start flicking though fabric swatch booklets you should ask yourself two questions based on the demands of the user group and the intended usage of the furniture.

Firstly (and the most important question to answer) you need to know what environment will this furniture be used? It’s important to evaluate the function and use a piece of furniture is going to have before choosing a fabric. Is it a standard office or home environment or will you require furniture made specifically for healthcare or educational settings? Depending on your environment, it may help to limit the number of fabric options.

Secondly how will the furniture be used? Depending on where the furniture is used in your office can determine what type of fabric you want to use. If a chair is being used daily in a busy open plan office, you will want a sturdier fabric than one you would use on a conference chair that is only used occasionally. The same can be said about canteen chairs or sofas in a shared breakout areas or social spaces. You may want to select office furniture fabrics in this area that are stain resistant and easier to clean.

Fabric Options

Fabric is selected for office spaces because it has a nice appearance, is comfortable at different temperatures, is easy to maintain, and comes in a variety of options. To ensure that everything measures up, factors including materials, colours, and patterns must also be taken into account. Consider the space's overall mood as well as the durability of the material. The upholstery fabric for office chairs can be relatively straight-forward once you have carefully considered answers to the above questions.

However the fabric for a new sofa, lounge chair or even a meeting booth is a big investment—you don’t want to be second-guessing it a few months after the furniture arrives in the workplace. Choose the wrong material and you’ll find yourself battling snags and stains. Make a mistake on the colour or pattern, and the whole room suffers (or you’ll may end up splashing out again to have the piece re-upholstered). So before you pick your new upholstery fabric, read on to find out what you should consider in terms of durability, comfort, and style.

Fabric Maintenance

The specific location of the furniture in your building is another factor, as sunlight and artificial light can fade the colour of fabric at different rates. How frequently furniture is used will also determine how long any upholstery will last. The wear and tear of continual movement and change must be able to survive your furniture and other textile characteristics. It is vital to select dense, wear-resistant fabrics for office furniture for this purpose.

When making your decision, you need to pay attention to collections that will withstand heavy loads. This indicator is determined by the Martindale test, which is the friction in a circular motion of furniture fabric until the textile begins to deform. If the fabric shows an estimate of 15,000 Martindale cycles, then it is considered suitable for use on commercial furniture.

No matter what fabric you end up selecting, make sure to care for your furniture on a regular basis. Cleaning up spills right away, wiping down with a cloth and water-based cleaner, and vacuuming furniture weekly will enhance their lifespan and help maintain the appearance better. Some upholstery fabrics also include stain-resistant treatments that offer water resistance, anti-bacterial qualities, and protection against the development of mould, mildew and odours.

Mood and Aesthetics

Your workplace's atmosphere and overall appearance will be greatly influenced by the colours and patterns you select for your furniture. Warm hues will help to provide a comforting, relaxing impression on people, while bright colours will create a joyful and amiable mood. Patterned fabrics conceal stains well and they withstand use better than plain materials. However, you should check that the patterns are welcoming to your customers or visitors and they complement the overall concept, aesthetics and style of your office.

When choosing your upholstery you want to keep in mind that office furniture should echo the character and purpose of your company, as well as the people who work there. Fabrics may be used to promote brand awareness by including the colours of your company logo or brand in the fabrics you select for your furnishings. By doing this, you build a connection between the physical environment and the brand's identity and communicate the pertinent ideas and messages about the values and reputation of your business.

The Final Decision

The look of your workplace can play a very important role in the success of your company. Having an aesthetically pleasing office can help with attracting customers and retaining top talent. You need to consider furniture that can match the aesthetic you are trying to achieve. Consideration for the finishes and fabrics used in your furniture will help make matching your look and feel for your office easier.

As the saying goes – the devil is in the detail. Spend some time planning out your purchase because it will be an investment you will live with for years to come and will influence the first impression you make on your customers and visitors. Many companies, such as Dams, will allow you to order fabric samples so you can see in advance what you will end up with. Don’t be afraid to use this option and get a fabric swatch in your hand to view in your office setting, because it may appear different than how it looks in an image or a showroom.

Dams in-house team of space planners and design experts can analyse your room, suggest the perfect furniture solutions for your space, and make recommendations on what fabrics will work the best for your business, with mood boards and photo-realistic static visuals. We will also evaluate your current and future office needs. Our goal is to create an interior that improves the office workflow, efficiency and amenities for your workplace, and that looks good too.

We can retro-fit your existing products, re-design your spaces, and help you re-imagine your new normal. Whatever that looks like, we will work with you to make sure your employees feel welcome, inspired, and are comfortable in their place of work. Contact our team today to find out more!

Contact Us

Dams Furniture Ltd
Charley Wood Road
Knowsley Industrial Park
L33 7SG


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