How to Choose the Best Upholstery for Your Sofa

Choosing the right upholstery for your home is a very important decision because the wrong one can leave you regretting your investment. A fabric with a low rub count won’t last long in a high traffic home. Wide weave fabrics can leave you with snags and scratches from pets that make your sofa look much older than it is. To help you make the right decision, we’ve detailed the fabric features that will keep your sofa from aging prematurely. We’ve also compared fabrics from brands with some of the best features out there. So let’s dive in!

What to look for


Pet-friendly fabrics can come in a wide variety of materials and features. It can include tightly woven weaves, micro fibers, leathers, suedes or velvets. Pet hair will easily brush off of these materials and claws will slip off instead of snag. For the most pet-friendly sofas check out our Pet-Friendly Fabrics Blog.

Performance Grade

When a fabric is labeled as performance grade, it means that it is durable and stain resistant making it easy to clean. The durability can be measured by the rub count.

Commercial Grade

Commercial grade fabrics have been tested with the Wyzenbeek or Martindale Test that assesses a fabric's resistance to friction. A fabric that can withstand 50,000 rubs or more is considered a commercial grade fabric because it has a high resistance to abrasion. Brands will indicate this durability by listing a fabric’s rub count. Check out more details on rub count in our Durability Blog.

Liquid Resistant

Liquids will not immediately sink into a liquid-resistant fabric, which allows for excellent cleanability.


Many brands will label their fabrics as simply “non-toxic,” however others go a step further and have Oeko-Tex Certified or Bluesign Certified fabrics. These fabrics are certifiably sustainable, non hazardous, and formaldehyde free.


Some brands list their fabrics as sustainable instead of non-toxic. This usually indicates that the fabrics are made from recycled and/or organic materials.


Sunbrella fabrics are UV-resistant because of a coating that protects it from fading due to sunlight. Some brands do not specifically use Sunbrella fabrics but still offer some UV resistant fabrics.

Upholstery Style

Consider the look and feel you prefer in a fabric. There are many styles to choose from including leather, suede, weave, velvet, boucle, chenille, linen, and tweed. Any of these styles can have the features listed above.

Now let's take a quick look at a few furniture brands with the most family friendly fabrics.

Benchmade Modern -

Skinny Fat Sofa With Chaise

  • Customize the overall width and chaise length as well as cushion comfort and leg style.
  • Their fabric features include: Family Friendly, Pet Friendly, High Traffic Environments, Fade Resistant, and Soft Touch
Crate & Barrel -

Axis Bench 2-Piece Sectional Sofa

  • The Icon in pearl is one of Crate & Barrel’s performance chenille fabrics. It is highly durable, family friendly and stain resistant.
  • Cushions are filled with plant-based polyfoam seat cushions wrapped in fiber-down blend and encased in down-proof ticking
Joybird - 

Daya Modular Sectional

  • The Taylor Gold is one of Joybird’s microfiber fabrics. The dense weave of the fabric allows fine hairs to fall off instead of stick and claws to slip off instead of snagging. It is also highly durable.
  • The cushions are made of high-density polyurethane foam core wrapped in multi layered fiber sheeting. This filling does not contain flame retardants or harmful chemicals.
Inside Weather -

Modular Bondi 3-Seater Sofa

  • Inside Weather’s Luxury Velvet in Cognac is pet-friendly, liquid-resistant, performance grade, commercial grade, and Oeko-Tex Certified. 
  • Choose between their 2 cushion options: the Classic Plush Blend or the Deluxe Memory Foam.

Get the big picture and shop your favorites below.

Benchmade Modern - Skinny Fat Sofa With Chaise

Benchmade Modern offers over 50 different fabric options, most of which are pet-friendly, family friendly and made for high traffic environments. However, their leathers seem to be more delicate due to the fact that they do not list these features for their leathers.  The rub counts range from 30k to 100k. When a fabric has 50k rub counts it is considered commercial grade so you can be sure they won’t wear out quickly. All the fabrics except their luxury linen and leathers are water and solvent cleanable. They do not specify how to clean their leathers and the luxury linen is water cleanable only. Be sure to take advantage of their free swatches and order here.


Crate & Barrel - The Axis Bench 2-Piece Sectional Sofa

Crate and Barrel has a lot to offer when it comes to fabrics. They have over 150 options, including Oeko-Tex certified, stain resistant, family friendly and highly durable features. They also mention Shield fabrics on a select few which means those fabrics have a coating that protects against moisture, grease, pollens, dust mites and dander. Each fabric has a cleaning code which is the determining factor of how to care for the fabric. Some can even be cleaned with bleach. Even though they do not have Sunbrella fabrics they claim that some of their fabrics are fade-resistant. The upholstery types include chenille, twill, boucle, microfiber, weave, and velvet. Fortunately, Crate & Barrel does indicate on the website when a fabric is temporarily out of stock. You can order swatches on each product page for that particular item.


Joybird - Daya Modular Sectional

Joybird offers over 65 different fabrics options. Some come with no extra charge, others come with an extra $195 or $255 charge. You can filter them by clicking on their preset categories which include popular, pet-friendly, safeguard and sustainable. Their safeguard fabrics are essentially the same as performance fabrics which are durable and stain-resistant. Although they don’t specify if these fabrics are also liquid-resistant, the gif in this section demonstrates liquid rolling effortlessly off a sofa instead of sinking in it. For more detail on this feature, we recommend contacting their customer service team. The fabric types include weaves, chenilles, and velvets. They also offer a free swatch kit that you can order here. For more detail on their fabrics, visit Pet-Friendly Fabrics


Inside Weather - Modular Bondi 3-Seater Sofa

With over 100 upholstery options, Inside Weather gives you more options than most. Fortunately, they have no extra charges for any of them. The fabric features include pet-friendly, liquid-resistant, performance grade, commercial grade, Oeko-Tex Certified and Blue Sign Certified. These features may apply to any of their fabrics except those with prints and patterns. Their commercial grade fabrics have rubs counts from 50k to 100k making them highly durable. Inside Weather stands out in that many of their fabrics have every feature offered, instead of just one or two. Read all the details on their swatch page and even order free swatches to check them out in person. For more information on Inside Weather fabrics, check out Pet-Friendly Fabrics


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