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Fabric: The Final Difference Between a $1000 and a $4000 Sofa

We’ve made it to the fourth and final post in our blog series on the differences between a $1000 sofa and a $4000 sofa. You’ve learned how features of the frame, suspension and seat and back cushions can make a huge difference in the quality and price of the sofa you are buying.

Today we’ll finish our series with the finishing layer of a sofa; the fabric.

Fabric selection can affect the cost of a sofa as much as the other components we’ve discussed, depending on many factors. You see, when a typical living room sofa is being upholstered, the manufacturer will use as little as 15 or as many as 30 yards of fabric depending on the overall size of the sofa. How much the fabric on a sofa costs comes down to the quantity required and the qualities of the fabric you choose.

First, let’s talk quantity.

It might seem hard to understand how the same sofa can take more yardage to upholster in one fabric than in another, but one important word will unlock the mystery. Pattern.

If you’ve ever wallpapered a room you’ll understand how much pattern size can affect cost. A typical sofa upholstered in a fabric that doesn't have a pattern might take 20 yards of fabric. If you upholster that same sofa in a fabric with a pattern it may take 25 yards or more. Why? Because a company that does a good job of upholstering a sofa will center and match the pattern of the fabric. This means that when you look at the sofa the pattern will be centered on each seat cushion, back cushion and on the body of the sofa. The pattern will flow from one area to the next without any obvious gaps. This is the proper way of upholstering a quality sofa, but doing it this way wastes a lot more fabric than if you didn't center and match the pattern. One thing to note is that the combination of some patterns with some sizes and shapes of sofas can make it impossible to achieve a perfect match on even the best sofas.

Sherrill sofas. like all brands we carry, are available in a wide variety of patterns.

Once we know how much fabric is needed, the quality of the fabric chosen can still affect the price a great deal.

We’ve already covered patterns, but there are many other reasons the price of fabric might vary. Let’s assume a typical sofa will take about 20-25 yards of fabric to make. That doesn't sound like a lot but when you realize how much the prices of fabrics vary and how expensive they can be you will quickly understand how the price of the sofa can rise quickly.

If you are looking at a good quality upholstery fabric you should expect to pay $50 per yard at a minimum. It is not hard at all to fall in love with a fabric that is $100 per yard or more (and when I say more I mean it could be $200-$500 per yard!) Multiply that very reasonably priced $50 per yard fabric times 20 yards the sofa takes you realize that the fabric alone is $1,000. not including labour or any of the other components we have already talked about. This is the the lowest price scenario. If you cannot resist a $100 per yard fabric with a big, beautiful pattern to it, you can easily be looking at $2,500 in fabric alone on your new sofa.

Something that I like to point out to clients is that while a more expensive fabric will increase the price of your sofa, it does not necessarily mean that it is better. Take silk fabric for example. Silk is going to be very expensive and although it is beautiful it is not a fabric that will stand up to daily use over a long period of time. Now contrast silk with a performance fabric that will cost a little more money but will provide excellent wear ability and stain resistance for years to come.

I hope I’ve helped you understand some of the differences between a $1000 sofa and a $4000 one as we explored the frame, suspension, cushions and fabric that make up a sofa.

All of these options can seem overwhelming but remember the choice is entirely yours to make as a consumer.

Your unique circumstances and preferences will determine the best sofa for you and your family. In the end, you need to determine how long you want to own this sofa and let that dictate to you which quality level you want to purchase.

In my own experience not just with furniture but in life in general, I’ve been better off buying good quality once and enjoying it for a long time, rather than facing the stress, waste, money, and time lost on future replacements.

I’m confident that a high-end sofa will provide you greater comfort, better longevity, and - although you have spent more money initially - better value in the long run.

Complete the series: Part 1: Frame | Part 2: Suspension | Part 3: Cushions | Part 4: Fabric

We are proud to carry high quality luxury sofas from manufacturers like Sherrill, Barrymore, Precedent, Hickory White, and more.