The first thing you should know in order to choose a fabric for sofa covers (or upholstery) is its degree of abrasion resistance, in other words, the resistance to the erosion we produce every time we sit on it. It´s measured with the Martindale Test and its result is expressed in cycles.

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The Martindale machine measures the durability of a fabric, rubbing the surface in all directions to reproduce the effects of daily use. Milagros Blasco, specialist in B&B Collection, recommends fabrics over 22,000 Martindale cycles for domestic use. More cycles mean more resistance. For example, a fabric with 40,000 cycles would be suitable if the upholstered furniture will be used intensively.

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The Martindale cycles are indicated on the technical label of the fabric. You can consult it or ask the dealer. Often this information clarify in price between two fabrics that look the same at first glance.

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Fabric for sofa covers: Composition

After being sure about the fabric strength, other thing to keep in mind is if we choose a natural or a synthetic fabric for sofa covers. You will get right for sure with a natural fabric. In addition to provides high resistance, natural fabrics preserve the properties of the fibers present in their composition, such as the feel, freshness, breathability and other thermal characteristics. They are also eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable and renewable. However, to optimize some property, such as resistance, often small amounts of synthetic fibers are added in their composition.

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Among natural fabrics, linen is recognized as the best fabric for sofa covers. It has a great drop, certain degree of elasticity and high resistance. The higher the percentage of linen in the composition, the stronger the resistance of the fabric. Mixed with a small percentage of polyamide provide even greater resistance.


It’s essential that linen comes prewashed, which ensures perfect results after washing or dry cleaning. As a natural material, linen always has small irregularities. Those small knots are a part of its charm, like its colors, which are not entirely flat.

fabric for sofa covers

Samples of prewashed 100% linen by B & B Collection.

Finally, the decor is purely a matter of taste or “feeling”. If you don´t like wrinkles, don´t choose linen covers. There is none that don´t wrinkle. And if you want a warm touch, rule out the linen because it always gives feeling of freshness.

In this post you can find more tips on sofa covers.