In Praise of Microfiber.

1 Mar

Microfiber: it’s what unicorns eat for breakfast. It’s also a get-out-of-jail-free card for toddlers everywhere. Mine included, because this actually happened last week:

You can't see it, but trust me, there are crushed strawberries in there.


Last night I taught my class about materials. One of the exercises we did was a little Q&A game where I laid out a bunch of material samples and asked questions about them. For example, “True or false?: these are the same exact color” was the question regarding two paint chips I’d cut out of virtually identical shades of beige (the class was about 75% correct on this one, which means I’m doing my job teaching people about color!).  Another question asked which out of three stone samples was imitation (about 30% got this one). One of my favorite questions, and a true testament to the amazing properties of microfiber, was in regards to the situation pictured below. The question was “Will this stain come out?” (Please forgive the photo quality.)

Chocolate: not just a fancy name for a particular shade of brown.


The answer?



Despite the above experiment, not everyone loves the pedestrian un-specialness of microfiber; it’s frequently identified as a “dislike” on my new-client questionnaires.  For those with kids, pets, or messy spouses though, I always try to highlight the virtues of a fabric that you can pour coffee on time and time again and have it come out on the other side A-OK.  I certainly don’t advocate an entire house of faux-suede, but I think it’s fantastic to have a single chair or loveseat that you can sit your kid in with a few cookies and not have an aneurysm while you stand on the other side of the room and go about your business.

I love Crate and Barrel’s Diplomat fabric. It comes in a huge range of colors like Mango, Fawn and Poppy.  For those of you who like a little something extra I also adore Room and Board’s Doss, which is essentially a poly-blend of microfibery goodness with a sophisticated texture.

Left top: Diplomat, Mango and Left Bottom: Diplomat, Poppy (images via Crate and Barrel). Right top: Doss, Otter and Right bottom: Doss, Bone (images via Room and Board)


At the end of the day, it’s good to come home to gorgeous textiles, but it’s INCREDIBLY satisfying to be able to literally wipe away the paw prints of a fingerpainting two-year-old with a single wet paper towel…that’s something you just can’t do with Belgian Linen.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


2 Responses to “In Praise of Microfiber.”

  1. Erin Miles March 1, 2011 at 5:09 PM #

    And this is why our couch is microfiber even though I would prefer a different fabric. I will have time and the budget for nice stuff when I have a bigger house and older kids. As of right now, I just want something functional, nice looking and that my toddler can’t ruin.

    • jgbinteriors March 1, 2011 at 6:35 PM #

      Yep. It’s definitely not the sexiest material, but it holds up well and is great for more contemporary aesthetics.

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