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Is It Popular To Buy White or Cream-Colored Fabric For Your Couch?

By Jeff Frank

White, off-white and cream colored fabrics have become increasingly popular over the past 5 years.

Stain resistant white and off-white “high performance” fabrics can now be found everywhere. They are available in a huge assortment of textures, shades and patterns.

White and off-white colors can be matched with practically any other color scheme within a room. Despite their versatility, many furniture purchasers avoid whites.
Dirt and stains are easily visible on white toned fabrics. Cotton and linen fabrics are difficult to clean. Many types of stains cannot be removed, even with professional cleaning. Polyesters (including microfibers) are more stain resistant, but could become discolored by dirt.

“High performance” fabrics have built-in, permanent and effective stain protection. Even for white and off-white colors.

There are several different “high performance” fabric technologies currently available. Brand names include Crypton, Sunbrella, Revolution, Bella-Dura, LiveSmart and several others.

  • Cryptons are primarily 100% polyesters and polyester blends, available in a wide price range
  • They offer extensive fabric lines, consisting of thousands of different high performance fabrics.
  • Crypton fabrics are available in a huge range of different textures, colors and patterns
  • They can mimic cottons, linens, silks, wools, velvets and other fibers in both light and heavy weights, with both rough and smooth textures
  • Crypton also licenses its high performance technology to other mills, including Valdese Weavers.
  • Sunbrella fabrics are 100% acrylic. These have been primarily outdoor fabrics until fairly recently.
  • Sunbrella high performance fabrics are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. The line is very popular with interior designers.
  • The acrylic fibers used in Sunbrella are sometimes not as durable as the polyesters used by Crypton and have lower abrasion test ratings
  • Revolution fabrics are 100% olefin (also known as polypropylene.)
  • Revolution is a generally a “budget priced” high performance fabric line.
  • These have a rougher texture than most of the Cryptons, Sunbrellas and Bella-Duras.
  • Revolution has a far more limited color palette than the other high performance brands. Although there are some patterns, most of the fabrics in the line are solid colors.
  • An advantage of Olefin high performance fabrics is that difficult stains can be cleaned with bleach
  • Most Revolution fabrics have loose weaves. Some compete in pricing with low cost microfibers.
  • Bella-Dura uses the same 100% olefin fibers as Revolution. The denser woven fabrics look and feel very different. They also have substantially higher prices.
  • Bella-Dura olefins are far more durable than the Revolution fabrics. Many meet the 100,000 double rub test level for commercial and institutional use.
  • Bella-Dura textures are more tightly woven and feel smoother than the Revolution fabrics. They have a much wider color palette.
  • Bella-Dura emphasizes brightly colored patterns. The cheaper Revolution fabrics are primarily neutral solid colors.

High performance fabrics were first introduced in the 1990s. At that time they were suitable only for outdoor fabrics.

  • Outdoor high performance fabrics repel water and are virtually stain proof.
  • These outdoor fabrics, but were not suitable for use on indoor, residential furniture.
  • They were stiffer and less comfortable than people preferred for indoor residential furniture.

High performance fabrics for home use, with a “softer feel” took longer to develop.

  • Residential “high performance” fabrics have become widely available only within the past 5 years. They are softer and more comfortable than the outdoor fabrics.

High performance fabrics are currently available in all price ranges.

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