How to Choose Contract Fabrics Like a Pro

Posted by Janet Voigt on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

In the world of contract (non-retail) furniture, fabrics take on a whole new dynamic.

Contract grade upholstery can get as technical as a Java code! Furniture and fabrics for heavy use and health care applications are made to exacting standards to ensure stability under constant use, resist staining, deter breakage, prevent fluid seepage, defend against bacteria and microbe growth, and so much more!

So when you are tasked with purchasing furniture for your facility what exactly do you need to know about fabrics?  Get The Upholstered Seating Catalog

Upholstery fabrics use a laboratory process called the Wyzenbeek Double Rub test. The Wyzenbeek test uses an oscillating mechanism covered with an abradant that repeatedly rubs against the fabric to determine its overall strength and resilience. The results are tabulated in a number of double rubs that the fabric resisted before fiber breakage. Sounds a little complicated but the scoring system basically breaks down as follows for contract grade fabrics:

  • 15,000 doublerubs is the minimum result for commercial applications. At 15,000 double rubs or greater, fabrics in this category are suitable for many contract or commercial applications. Fabrics at and above this minimum standard will be stiffer and thicker than what you might have in your home but that additional thickness is necessary to ensure durability.
  • 15,000 – 30,000 double rub fabrics are considered heavy duty. They are acceptable for many contract environments with moderate use like offices, conference rooms, dining chairs, and other similar use areas.
  • 30,000 double rubs and greater are considered extra heavy duty. They are extremely durable and can withstand use in constant, heavy use areas like waiting rooms, group rooms, and other common areas.

By comparison to r
esidential or retail fabrics, the double rub numbers are big. Fabrics for residential use typically hover in the 3,000 – 9,000 double rub range so 15,000 double rub minimums nets an upholstery fabric that is substantially different than what you see in a typical living room. These high double rub fabrics will feel stiffer and offer less comfort but will survive hard use.

When working on projects for
upholstered furniture for your facility, make sure to work with an experienced professional who is familiar with your customers and consumers.

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Topics: Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last, Fabric/Upholstered

Why Crate Furniture is Still King

Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 @ 09:10 AM

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Topics: molded plastic Furniture, Tough Stuff, durable furniture, anti-contraband furniture, Crate Style Furniture, Furniture For Incontinence, Behavioral Healthcare Furniture, Metal Furniture, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last, Camp & Retreat Furniture

The Power of the Right Upholstery Fabric

Posted by Janet Voigt on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

When selecting contract fabrics for upholstered furniture, there are many things to consider. When buying for commercial businesses or health care facilities you will  have to Selecting fabrselect upholstery fabric(s) for your furniture purchase.

Contract furniture is always “made to order” due to the enormous variety of furniture styles and fabric types, finishes, patterns and colors. The possible combinations that can be created imagining the endless number of furniture styles plus hundreds of thousands of upholstery fabric and its variables creates a dizzying assortment of potential groupings.

While you can expect contract upholstered furniture to take a few weeks to produce, you may be surprised by the pricing which rarely feels like “custom” pricing. The truth is that contract upholstery sales costs far lower than its residential / retail counterpart so while the options are more plentiful, price is actually lower and quality is substantially higher than retail.
  ic for contract upholstered furniture can be a daunting task. Choosing color, pattern, fabric type, and performance characteristics is a lot of decision on top of selecting the style of the furniture itself. While the technical aspects of fabric performance are important, let’s first focus on the more visible elements.
  • Color is an obvious consideration.  Color sets the mood for a room, especially if you are adding big pieces of furniture like sofas, loveseats and lounge chairs. Depending on the existing décor or tone of your facility, color can be used play up contemporary elements of the buildings design or conversely can be used to tone down more dated elements. Warm colors complement traditional designs and cool colors tend to highlight contemporary design. Mixing colors within a single room setting can add drama and can improve the overall look of a room compared to a single, repeating color. When mixing colors, look for colors that harmonize rather than contrast to create more of a designer look. Be careful not to choose colors that are too light. Whites and light earth tones are very “in” right now for residential design but tend not to perform well in contract facilities even when treated with soli and stain resistance. Instead, look at deeper solid earth tones with texture.  The textures add an additional natural element without compromising the dirt-hiding properties of darker tones.
  • Pattern is probably the most intimidating selection for many contract buyers.   Patterns do not always age well.  What is hip and trendy today might quickly end up looking like yesterday’s news.  Big, graphic patterns can be the riskiest patterns choices but the right selection can really add drama when the building design lacks character. The scale of the pattern should be in balance with the size of the room so large, bold patterns would not be an ideal match for a small room with small-scale furniture. Large, open spaces can accommodate more pattern. A designer trick for using large pattern in a room is to find a color that is present in small quantities in the patterned fabric and select a solid color fabric in that color. Use the large, bolder pattern on chairs and loveseats and use the solid color on the larger pieces like sofas to create a high-end look.
Durable furniture fabric is essential in any contract environment. Some qualities to look for include thread count, double rub results and fiber type:

  • The higher the thread count, the more durable the fabric since the weave of the material is denser and therefore more durable. Additionally, consider whether the pattern is woven into the fabric or whether it is printed on top of a solid color fabric. Woven patterns will wear far better than printed patterns.
  • Double rub results measure the number of times fabric can withstand being rubbed together under standardized, laboratory testing. The higher the double rub results the more durable the fabric. Results from 15,000 double rubs on up indicate better performance for heavy-use environments.  Results as high as 100,000 and above are commonly available from contract furniture suppliers.
  • Fibers can be mad made or natural. Man made fibers like acrylic, nylon, olefin and vinyl offer a higher degree of durability and stain and soil resistance than natural fibers. In addition to their inherent stain and soil resistance, many fabric treatments are available through contract suppliers that offer an additional measure of dependability. Crypton is far and away the most common fabric treatment for contract facilities. Crypton is a process that is applied on top, bottom and within the weave of the fabric resulting in a fluid and soil barrier that keeps fabric clean as well as hygienic.

When considering choices for your next furniture project, always contact a reputable contract furniture supplier who understands the needs of your facility.

upholsteredfurntiure   Free Ebook on Tips on How to Get started on Buying Contract Furniture   Need Pricing? Click to Get it!
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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Commercial Lounge Furniture, Contract Furniture, Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

Get Rid of Ugly Furniture Once and For All

Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 01:38 PM

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, durable furniture, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice, CAL 133, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

5 Creative Ways to Manage Patient Incontinence

Posted by Janet Voigt on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 @ 08:50 AM

Patients and consumers with incontinence create a special kind of demand on staff and direct service providers.

Not only is there risk to the health of patient, but cleaning both the patient, furniture and flooring takes the time and effort of staff trying to manage broad responsibilities. Furniture can often be ruined by bodily fluids that are either not cleaned entirely or due to soaking into hard-to-clean places like the foam and frame.
With the growing demands for WELL-DESIGNED FURNITURE to help care givers manage limited mobility and incontinence, consider these 5 little-known facts that might make life easier for anyone dealing with incontinence:
  • POP-OUT SEATS are by far the most innovative solution for fluid issues. With this design, the entire seat of an upholstered sofa, loveseat or chair “pops” out leaving just an open frame to allow easy mopping and cleaning of fluids. Urine, or any fluid, flows through to the floor and eliminates pooling on upholstery or into wood frames.
  • SELF-DECKING is a technique that uses a length of fluid-proof fabric under upholstered sofa, loveseat or chair cushions that “catches” fluids to prevent them from hitting the floor or soaking into foam and furniture frames. This is typically an inexpensive way to significantly reduce damage caused by urine and fluids.
  • VINYL fABRICS are a fluid-proof upholstery option that is low cost and highly durable. The best news is that vinyl is no longer the sticky, hot plastic-like fabric it was mid-century. Soft and stylish options make it a stand-out choice for incontinence or any furniture in areas that might take a few spills.
  • Many FABRIC TREATMENTS are now readily available on an endless variety of upholstery fabrics. Some treatments, like Crypton, penetrate the entire weave of the fabric, making the entire knit fluid-resistant. This penetration of the treatment makes it far superior to surface treatments that might wear off after repeated cleaning of soiled areas.
  • As an added safe-guard for any upholstery option, fluid-proof liners can be added to almost any contract upholstered furniture. These liners add extra protection for foam that can still be vulnerable to urine and fluids that seep in through fabric, zippers, welting and seams.
The excess demands of occasional or chronic incontinence on caregivers can be stressful, and the added expense of labor to clean fluids adds up. In addition, furniture is at high risk for ruin due to urine or fluids penetrating fabrics, foam and frame components. PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS are available but not widely known.

Consult a trusted Contract Furniture provider for the right advice for your patients, staff and budget.

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Topics: Health Care Furniture, Commercial Lounge Furniture, Furniture For Incontinence, Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

The Modern Rules of Institutional Furniture

Posted by Janet Voigt on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 @ 09:17 AM

The phrase “institutional furniture” is still used as a broad reference to furniture for group living and health care environments.

This phrase suggests high durability and virtual indestructibility, but the phrase “institutional furniture” also calls up images of unattractive, sterile and uncomfortable seating, bedroom and dining pieces.

In today’s group living and health care environments, institutional furniture has come to mean furniture that looks like what you would find in a home but is durable beyond retail furniture standards.

For furniture buyers choosing institutional furniture has become a tricky task.

Since institutional styles have morphed into something that looks like it came from local retail furniture stores it is easy to assume that what looks the same is the same. The reality in that contract/commercial furniture manufacturing is entirely different from its retail cousin.

Although stylistically retail and contract pieces mirror each other, what is “under the hood” makes all the difference.
  • Contract furniture construction methods require more durable frames, components that have been tested to standards that are typically mandated by organizations like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fabrics and finishes that are expected to last longer under higher-than-retail-usage and warranties that protect the buyer from manufacturers’ defects.
For the modern institutional buyer, it is important to know that the contract / commercial furniture industry has spent time researching ways to make furniture easier to use for consumers of all types.
  • Regardless of whether you are dealing with behavioral issues, limited mobility, obesity, incontinence, or just general heavy use there is furniture that can be part of managing these special needs.
  • Once just a practical matter of where to sit or where to eat, furniture for institutional settings is now designed to be part of a solution to easing demands on consumers and staff by using bariatric seating, fluid-proof fabrics, higher seat heights, pop-out seat decks, and metal furniture.

When it is time for your next furniture purchase make sure to choose a Contract Furniture Specialist who takes the time to understand your typical consumer and your facility’s real needs. Chances are that there is a furniture solution that will not only make your life easier but will stand the test of time.

upholsteredfurntiure   Created on 12/06/11 at 15:29:27   Need Pricing? Click to Get it!

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Topics: Bariatric, durable furniture, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

How to Use Self Deck Upholstery to Manage Incontinence

Posted by Janet Voigt on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 @ 08:11 AM

INCONTINENCE is a difficult issue for caregivers and direct service providers.

Making CLEAN UP EASY, preventing damage to patient skin and avoiding permanent furniture destruction is always a high priority.

The contract furniture industry has recently given incontinence (and limited mobility) a lot of attention.

  • Engineers and designers have interviewed hundreds of care providers and administrators to help create furnishing solutions for incontinence care.
  • The results of this intensive research include improved design in furniture including removable seats designed to pull urine to the ground and away from people and furnishings, specialized fabrics that easily sanitize, fluid-proof upholstery, fully water-resistant frames that prevent fluid saturation and warping, and more sophisticated styling that scales down cushy fill and deep seats.

One tried and true method of managing incontinence and general fluid spill issues is self deck upholstery.

  • Savvy furniture buyers have been using self-decking for decades as a simple and cost-effective way to “catch” fluids and prevent damage to internal furniture components. The concept is simple – a piece of fabric that covers the entire area under seat cushions is tightly attached under loose seat cushions.  This deck acts as a sort of reverse umbrella that catches and pools fluids into to allow for easy clean-up. Self decking for fluid concerns requires a fluid-resistant fabric, but inexpensive, solid color water-proof upholsteries are a readily available and are low-cost ways to make any new furniture last longer.

Few retailers offer self-decking but almost all contract furniture providers do.

  • Buyers for health care and social service facilities understand the importance of buying furniture from contract providers who understand the heavy use health care furniture endures. Contract furniture is built to higher standards that promise longer-term durability and proven improvements in the buying cycle. Strategies like using self deck upholstery are just one of many specialized solutions available only through expert contract furniture providers. 
When it’s time for your next furniture project make sure to ask your furniture seller what suggestions they have for your specific client and patient needs.
   Created on 11/09/11 at 14:24:35  Created on 05/03/12 at 21:55:16   upholsteredfurntiure


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Topics: Health Care Furniture, Furniture For Incontinence, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last


Posted by Janet Voigt on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 @ 08:57 AM

Gauging how long your furniture will last.

Let’s face it, buying furniture is like buying new tires.  Sure, it’s nice but not quite the satisfaction of booking a vacation or buying a new television – although often it is just as expensive. Ultimately, we all share the same goal of purchasing durable furniture that will maintain its nice appearance regardless of use. Even though furniture replacement is inevitable, delaying the cash expenditure is no doubt what most people desire.   
So, how do you assess how long to expect your furniture to last?

In most therapeutic or group living environments, facility managers plan on a 3 or 5 year buying cycle. The tougher the environment, the shorter the buying cycle. There are, however, a number of ways to expand the cycle:

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Topics: Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

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