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Furniture fabric testing methods guide | KING

Preston Velvet Tan



Have you ever chosen something purely because of aesthetics? And not thought about whether it is fit for purpose? 

Let’s face it, the temptation can be hard to resist. Especially when it comes to selecting your furniture fabrics.  

But if you take a step back from the beautiful textures and colours drawing you in, you can first learn about furniture fabric testing methods to help determine which fabric might be best for you. 

The world of fabric and textiles is sewn together with jargon that can feel impossible to understand. With a team of in-house fabric experts who develop fabrics from scratch, KING can help guide you through the basics of fabric testing methods.  

“My passion is to make KING leading edge in textile collections. Because it's a furniture retailer, (the fabric) is a secondary thing… but textiles give the personality” - Sebastian Nash, Fabric and Leather Development Manager at KING. 

By exploring some of the basic fabric testing methods – from pilling to colour fastness to abrasion and durability – you can be assured the fabrics you love are both high quality and long-lasting, as well as aesthetically beautiful.  


Australia's multi award-winning sofaThe KING Fabric Collection features a broad range of premium fabrics.


What are the common fabric testing methods?


Fabrics are more than just aesthetics. Our fabrics need to perform in a way that suits their purpose, and our varied lifestyles.  

In order to test how a fabric will hold up in daily use, there are a number of fabric testing methods conducted which produce key performance indicators. The purpose of testing fabrics is to classify them by suitability – from delicate use right through to heavy duty commercial.  

While testing methods and the names of fabric tests do vary across the world, understanding some of the basic testing methods can help you determine which fabric suits your purpose best, and why KING and other furniture retailers categorise their fabrics.


Neo SofaNeo Sofa pictured in Olley Confetti fabric


Fabric abrasion test


For textiles, abrasion refers to the wearing away of fibres and yarns which is caused by rubbing and friction. The purpose of measuring abrasion resistance is to aid in measuring fabric durability. 

There are various widely accepted testing methods, however the main aspect of testing is centred around rubbing the fabric in particular way for a set amount of time. Each fabric will then receive a rating which categorises it by recommended usage based on the amount of wear and tear it can withstand.  

Test results are scored by 1000’s of rubs or cycles, with higher numbers referring to heavier duty usage. Abrasion resistance categories can range from 6,000 rubs (used for decorative accessories only) all the way to 30,000+ rubs for commercial uses.  
KING furniture fabrics are categorised by strength to help you choose which is right for you and range from light domestic (for cushion use only), all the way to heavy duty commercial.  


Australia's multi award-winning sofaPlaza Sofa pictured in Preston Velvet Aegean Teal.


Fabric pilling test


A pill refers to the small ball of fibers that collect on the surface of a fabric – which is more commonly known as a ‘lint ball’. It is important to note that pilling is not a fault in the fabric but the result of fabrics rubbing against each other.  

Pills are formed during general use, washing, and wear and tear, however some fabrics are far more prone to this occurring than others. Fabric pilling tests are performed to give consumers an understanding of how likely their fabric of choice will produce these pills over time.  

There are a variety of fabric pilling tests. The most important takeaway is that the level of pilling will be rated on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being considered a fabric that showed minimal or no change to its appearance after a pilling test. 

At KING, all fabrics undergo vigorous testing and feature pilling ratings of 3 stars or above, which is considered suitable for everyday furniture use.


Australia's multi award-winning sofaOliver Tub Chair in Bowen White fabric.


Colour fastness to UV light test


In the simplest terms, testing colour fastness to UV light refers to the amount of sunlight a fabric can withstand before it begins to fade in colour. All fabric colours will undergo some fading over time if exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. However, some fabrics will fade significantly faster.  

The colour fastness to UV light test is typically performed under artificial lighting that mimics the effects of natural light exposure. The results are then graded between 1-8 or 1-7 depending on the testing method, with 1 indicating the least resistance to light exposure. If your sofa or other fabric furniture will be placed in an area that receives significant sunlight exposure, it is well worth opting for a higher rating to ensure longevity.

KING recommend protecting your fabrics from a direct light source to ensure they are not subject to fading. If this is unavoidable, rotating the position of your furniture and even reversing your cushions is advised – this will help provide an even exposure and subsequent fading. 

It’s also worth noting that UV damage to fabrics occurs more during winter when the sun is lower and curtains are typically left open for the warmth of the sunlight.  

If your furniture fabric has faded this is unable to be reversed, and the only option will be to have your furniture item recovered. All KING furniture offers tailored removable covers that can be replaced, to give you peace of mind and help extend the life of your furniture.  

Australia's multi award-winning sofaKING designs fabrics in-house from scratch. Pictured above are prints from the Eden Check and Avoca fabric collections


Which fabric is right for you?


Understanding different furniture fabric types, as well as fabric testing methods, is the best way to ensure you end up with a long-lasting fabric choice that is fit for purpose. 

KING furniture fabrics are available in an extensive range, and we want you to select the best fabric for you.  

“King are at the forefront of Australian furniture design, so it’s incredibly important that we offer a broad range of fabrics to work across the spectrum of our furniture."  - Sebastian Nash, Fabric & Leather Development Manager at KING 

For more inspiration you can read all about the secrets of textile design, or view our fabric collection.

Similar to fabrics, not all leather is created equal and there are many factors to consider. Discover how to select the best quality leather furniture.