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  • Bethany Wheaton

3 Performance Fabrics You’ll Love for Worry Free Furniture

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Upholstery fabrics are a lot like quarterbacks. There are lots of average ones and a handful of great ones, but only one or two outstanding ones. Those outstanding fabrics are called performance fabrics. And just like the greatest quarterback of all time, our own Tom Brady, the best upholstery fabrics are durable, low maintenance, provide lasting value for the price, look beautiful and clean up really well!

The performance fabrics I recommend to my customers are Crypton, Revolution and Sunbrella. Depending on how much use your furniture will get and which room you put it in, I suggest the fabric that will perform the best for your needs. Club chairs in the family room always benefit from the durability and stain resistance that performance fabrics offer, while an accent chair placed beside your bedroom window is well suited to any upholstery fabric, including performance types.

Crypton, Revolution and Sunbrella all have some common attributes, as well as important differences. All are known for durability, stain resistance and cleanability. They each offer a wide range of upholstery fabric choices at many different price points. Arm yourself with the facts on performance fabrics, and you’ll be sure to pick a winner for your next upholstery project.

Crypton Fabric for Beauty, Durability and Stain Resistance

sofa slipcover polenta bone
Sofa Slipcover in Polenta Bone by Stout Fabrics

I sell a lot of Crypton fabric, both for upholstered furniture, slipcovers and cushions. My own living room sofa is slipcovered in a white Crypton by Stout Fabric. Crypton resists stains with ‘repel and release’ technology. Liquid beads up on the fabric and remains on the surface, giving you time to get a cloth and soak up the spill. I saw this technology demonstrated at a seminar at the Boston Design Center. The presenter poured a capful of Coca-Cola on Maxwell’s Snug velvet and left it there for the remainder of the discussion. About 45 minutes later he handed me a paper towel and I used it to absorb the Coke. There was no stain, no liquid residue and the fabric didn’t feel wet. I was sold! Crypton is based on nanotechnology; the fabric is completely immersed in a liquid solution that is 97% water. The treatment is permanent and does not wash off or wear off. Several equivalent nanotechnology treatments are available under different names including Alta (the Maxwell velvet was Alta), Fiberguard and Nanotex. Crypton repels odors and has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well. Your Crypton furniture will look new longer and be a lovely addition to your busy household.

stroheim dana gibson crypton
Stroheim Crypton Fabric from Dana Gibson

Crypton fabrics have high durability ratings, known as double rubs. Fabric manufacturers offer many styles of upholstery fabric featuring Crypton including textured wovens, velvets, prints, patterned jacquards, and linen. All colors and fabric types are available with Crypton. Fabrics start around $45 per yard, with many options in the $60 to $70 range. It upholsters well, makes beautiful cushions and slipcovers and is easy to clean with a solution of 1 cup lukewarm water and ¼ teaspoon Dawn. When you purchase Crypton fabric from Plymouth Upholstery & Decor, you’ll get detailed cleaning instructions for your specific fabric. I carry Crypton stain specific cleaners as well.

Revolution Fabric for Permanent Stain Resistance

Revolution Fabric

Revolution fabrics are fairly new to the market and are described as ‘virtually unstainable’. It is the construction of Revolution fabric, not an added treatment that elevates this textile to the performance category. Revolution is 100% solution dyed olefin. Well that sounds fancy but what does it mean when your husband spills Buffalo Chicken Dip on it? Solution dyed means the color is added when the material, olefin, is still in a liquid state, before it has been spun and woven into a fiber, so the color goes all the way through the yarn and is permanent. Think about a carrot, which has color throughout and an apple which has color on the outside. Revolution is a carrot. It is permanently stain resistant, has excellent durability and is fade resistant. Entrance mats and car carpeting are made with solution dyed olefin. These fabrics are easy to clean with a solution of 1 oz bleach and 30 oz. of water.

My friend Deanna Gilmore of Sewphisticated Upholstery in Eagle, Idaho home tested Revolution

Revolution Fabrics for upholstery and slipcovers

fabrics on her dining chairs. She has 10 year old triplet boys and she reported that Revolution lived up to its claims of being very stain resistant and easy to clean. It upholsters well and many styles make great slipcovers. One thing to note about Revolution upholstery fabric is that it comes in muted colors, whites, tan, beige to brown, grey to black, and subdued blues, greens and oranges so it’s perfect for your neutral decor. I offer several styles of this fabric in linen looks, textured wovens and patterned jacquards. Revolution Fabrics are attractively priced for any budget at $25 to $50 per yard.

Sunbrella, A Winning Fabric Indoors and Out

sunbrella suki green
Thibaut Design Suki Green

Who hasn’t heard of Sunbrella? Because of its brand recognition, my customers ask for Sunbrella by name. Most often I am happy to recommend it depending on the application. Sunbrella is primarily known as an outdoor fabric made of solution dyed acrylic. It is very fade resistant, dries quickly, and is easy to clean. Sunbrella comes in a huge variety of colors from warm neutrals and whites to leafy greens and bright pink. It is available in lightweight solids and heavier textured

wovens and jacquards. Stripes, florals, geometrics all coordinate with the solids.

You are sure to find the colors and prints you love to decorate your patio or sunroom. Durability ratings vary but I haven’t seen Sunbrella rated with less than 15,000 double rubs for heavy duty use. The heavier styles upholster beautifully. Most all styles make beautiful cushions, slipcovers and pillows. There are equivalent brands with the same attributes such as

Sunbrella Navy and Buttercup for a timeless combination

Tempotest, Bella Dura, and Covington SD. Solid colors start at $23 per yard, wovens up to $50. To create a designer look for your project, many manufacturers have exclusive Sunbrella fabrics with stunning patterns available only to upholstery and interior design professionals. Sunbrella is easily cleaned with a water and Dawn solution. Sunbrella has excellent customer support for detailed cleaning instructions.

My customers have high quality furniture that has survived pets, parties, kids and now grandkids, and has moved with them from the family home to the retirement home, They want upholstery fabric that wears like iron, cleans up easily and looks beautiful in their home. Performance fabrics add value to your upholstered pieces. Cleanable, stain resistant fabrics, with high durability ratings, look newer longer, ultimately lowering the overall cost of having your furniture reupholstered, because you’re likely to keep the piece longer. With every price range and every design and color represented by Crypton, Revolution and Sunbrella, you can choose them with confidence for all the furniture you entrust to Plymouth Upholstery & Decor. Try Crypton, Revolution and Sunbrella fabrics in your home for free! Email me at for details on a sample kit of each fabric.

Elegant living room with Crypton upholstered chairs and sofa


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