Top tips for choosing upholstery for the family room – stain expert tells
Lounge suites, sofas, couches: call them what you like, they’re an indispensable part of home interiors and play a big part in our daily lives. They can also be a costly investment.
We turned to 30-year stain removal professional Gary Pracy, the Elite Carpet franchisee for Camden, for his top tips on choosing the right upholstery for your lounge to get the most out of it. Turned out, Gary had just spent the weekend providing fatherly advice for his son who was in the market for a new sofa.
Gary tells us – as he told his son – to look beyond style, size and comfort and think practicalities. Spillages, sweat, sticky fingers, splodged meatballs, feet and fur (from the fur babies of the house) will put any lounge furniture to the test. How can yours withstand such an assault?
When it comes to choosing upholstery for a lived-in family room, steer clear of white or cream.
But that doesn’t mean go black, says Gary.
“Black on a sofa is like honey to a bee: it’ll attract every little fleck of white in the house,” he says.
“Choose a colour that’s dark enough to hide a few sins.”
In Gary’s experience, darker colours hide stains and release the soiling better.
Feel that fabric
Linens and cottons are expensive upholstery fabrics – and they don’t take to everyday wear and tear, Gary says. Consider those for a rarely-used sitting room.
Synthetic fabrics have become increasingly popular for upholstered sofas and they do have some stain repellent attributes, Gary says.
Microfibres have also been popular for a few years – and they’re good for stain resistance to a point, he says.
“By their nature, microfibres hold a lot of moisture and soiling matter. At some point, it’s like teetering on a cliff: the fabric will only take so much and then it will look grotty irrespective of professional cleaning efforts.”
Prevention protection: the truth
While fabric protection is important — and if your sofa wasn’t treated prior to purchase, Elite provides a fabric protectant product — Gary warns buyers not to fall into the trap of thinking the red wine, the dog drool, and the crayons will be repelled entirely and forever.
“Fabric protectants typically last about two years but even with fabric protection, bad stains need to be dealt with promptly and professionally,” he says.
At home, Gary minimises some of the wear and tear on his own upholstered lounge chairs by using fitted arm covers that can be hand washed.
Annual professional upholstery cleaning gives your family room lounge a wonderful refresh and helps prolong the life and health of this family furniture favourite