Which Performance Fabric is Best for me?

by Melissa Dubroc, ASID

Performance Fabrics are becoming increasingly popular for use inside the home, not just the outdoor areas. Look for fabrics that have luxurious texture, so that people do not immediately identify it as a performance fabric – like a chunky linen weave or a soft, rich velvet. Incorporate them onto the major furniture pieces in the space. They will protect your investment for years to come.

What are Performance Fabrics?

Performance Fabrics are more durable than other fabrics. Typically, this means they are water-resistant, are not likely to stain and easy to clean. Performance fabrics are sometimes made from materials that naturally possess these qualities, but often, they are made from materials that would not be quite so strong on their own then are treated to enhance their performance.

1. Perfect for Someone Who Prefers White Furniture

If you enjoy the look of white or very light-colored furniture but assume this fabric will show every little smudge and sign of wear, then you should consider performance fabrics. White or light-colored performance fabrics are better equipped to maintain their bright, clean appearance without becoming yellowed or dingy over time. This way, you can continue to enjoy that beautiful, clean color, long after delivery day.

2. Child- Proof

Anyone with children or frequently hosts kids in their home should strongly consider performance fabrics for some of the furniture in their home. The most durable furniture for kids is leather. Its about four times more durable than typical material, but leather is not a traditional choice for certain pieces of furniture.

3. Pet-friendly

Children are not the only ones who can contribute to extra wear and tear to furniture. Performance fabrics are also great for people with pets, particularly if you welcome your pets onto your furniture. Pets can scratch material with their claws. If you are wondering about performance fabrics vs. leather, this is one instance where performance fabrics are likely a better choice. While leather furniture is easy to wipe down, its not the best option for pets with claws that might puncture the leather. Performance fabrics are easily cleanable fabrics and tend to resist damage from claws and teeth better than leather.

What are the best Performance Fabrics?

Not all performance fabrics are created equal, so let us talk about which performance fabrics are best on the market. The winning combination for modern performance fabrics is an effective balance of practical performance and a luxurious look and feel.

1. Revolution Fabrics

Revolution fabrics come in a variety of color and patterns, all of which are durable and nearly impossible to stain. In fact, Revolution fabrics can only be colored through a solution dying process known as “dope dying” because they are so stain resistant. This process works by mixing pigments in the liquid polymer, so the color becomes part of the yarn. Despite their tough function, Revolution fabrics are soft to the touch, so they belong on any type of furniture. If your furniture is positioned near a window, you will also be glad to know that Revolution Fabrics are less likely to fade from exposure to sunlight.

If you are interested in finding an eco-friendly performance fabric, Revolution Performance Fabrics are created with up-cycled fibers. They also have performance qualities on their own without having to be chemically treated. This means your fabric comes free of prefluorinated compound (PDF) chemicals, and you do not need to treat it with anything. Just sit back and let the material perform, no assistance needed.


2. Sunbrella Fabrics

These performance fabrics are comprised solely of acrylic which is solutions-dyed in the same way that olefin yarn is. Sunbrella fabrics are mold-, mildew- and chemical resistant and will not fade badly from the sun, which makes them an excellent choice for your poolside furniture.

If you know the Sunbrella brand and associate it with outdoor fabrics based on its origins, make sure you do not only consider it for your pool or patio. Sunbrella fabric is also a great option for interior fabrics, from sofas to drapes and more. Sunbrella is committed to creating interior upholstery fabrics that are as beautiful as they are functional, so whether you want performance fabric with the look of light linen, jewel-toned solids or fun prints, you can choose a fabric that is sure to fit seamlessly with the rest of your décor.

It is important to note that Sunbrella is not as stain resistant as some other performance fabrics, so it may not be the best choice if resisting staining is the main reason, you are interested in performance fabrics. However, a positive feature that sets Sunbrella apart from other brands is that you can bleach it. The Sunbrella global support team works together to produce textiles that are of the highest performance quality.


3. Crypton

Crypton fabrics are made of different materials depending upon the application. In every case, these materials are treated to have the performance qualities that Crypton fabrics are known for. This treatment involves an immersion process to give the fabrics their resistance to stains and odors along with the addition of a moisture barrier that causes water and other liquids to bead on its surface rather than sink in. It is worth noting that Crypton cannot “cryptonize” any fabric material. Only specific materials work with their process.

There are other fabrics out there that are similarly moisture-resistant, but Crypton fabric sets itself apart by being vapor-permeable. In other words, it is breathable, which makes it more comfortable. This is not just a claim or marketing gimmick. They test the fabric to make sure it really lets vapor through.

If you are worried about the fact that Crypton fabrics are treated rather than made from inherently durable or stain-resistant fabrics, it is helpful to know that Crypton was awarded the GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This means the fabric keeps chemical emissions to a minimum so you can breathe clean air in your home, even with Crypton fabrics present.

Examples of Performance Fabrics –


Melissa Dubroc, ASID
Registered Interior Designer
Louisiana License No. 1078
Studio Design LLC
1015 Wisteria Street
Alexandria, La.  71301

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