Some people are sensitive to using fur to upholster with, and rightfully so. I know for myself, I cannot think about anything else for days if I have seen a video on animal torture. Just to say, I tread on this topic cautiously, because I don’t want to ever see any animal abused for the senseless greed of nice things. During the decadent 1850’s, womens fashions styles were often very heavy featuring ornate designs which were often made tortoiseshell. The intricate natural designs of these turtles made them the choice material for ladies hair combs. During that time, these turtles almost went extinct just because the natural pattern of these creatures looked nice in the hair and as accessories. You can see the beauty of God’s genius hand in almost every creature, from delicate bright colors found in fish, to the zebra, tiger and leopard. So, it doesn’t come at a surprise that many people like to upholster with faux fur materials because the patterns are so nice. Keeping that very thing in mind,…….Is it ok to then buy a used fur coat at a thrift store or ebay and use it for upholstery? That is something that you must think about for yourself. Fur can be very luxurious. Animal prints are often seen in classical high end interior design and are used as neutrals. Animal prints are much like striped fabric, they act as a filler in most rooms, either to balance out patterns, or add some interest.
(Picture- Lovely French Louis XVI Fauteuil Chair From Stylized Design Blog)
Tip 1- Stay Away From The Typical Cheap Furs at Your Local Fabric Store Unless it is Real.
I have upholstered my own french chairs in faux fur, and to be honest, finding the right fur that looks realistic is the main challenge of this project.
There are a lot of cheap looking furs out there which could diminish the worth of a nice looking french chair. Even in the biggest cities have a lack of quality fur fabric, which cause most people to look on ebay. Even then, I would suggest ordering a small swatch of the fabric before proceeding to purchasing several yards.
Longer fur isn’t the best for upholstering. In fact, rarely does long fur look nice upholstered. Longer fur works best as rugs in baby rooms, or Hollywood Regency styled homes, but not for upholstery.
Fur should always kept short on furniture giving the opportunity for a person to see the lovely frame. Fur also shouldn’t be plush as if it was cotton based. (I am trying to discribe the cheaper fur fabrics that are sold everywhere.) Fur should flow in one direction such as what you would find on an animal.
Finding a fur that replicates the real thing with hair that is trimmed and short is ideal because it looks realistic. Try to find something as close to the real thing as possible.
Tip 2. Conisder Only Using Fur on Choice Decorative Accent French Chairs
Real Fur upholstery isn’t the greatest material touse on a daily basis. If you think of children crawing on and off furniture, the fur can be pulled in the wrong direction over time, causing breakage.
When considering upholstering with fur, think of only using fur with a pair of accent chairs that wouldn’t normally get used, but are there for display only.
I have picked up several real fur items in the past through thrift stores, and I have noticed that over time, the leather does deteriorate with a lack of moisture. What happens is the leather becomes quite brittle, and the fur susceptible to breakage. Over time the use of a real fur chair will cause damage to the hair, causing bald spots in the most used areas such as the seat. So if you are going to use real fur, consider the chair that you upholster to be a special chair for display or minimal use only.
Using fake fur, works much the same way. We have a faux fur Regency chair. The fur was quite short, and for decorative purposes, I sprayed down the chair with hair spray to get the grain of the hair to stay put in one direction. The hairspray gives it that real fur effect, and since I never sit in them, they hold up really well.
Tip 3: Use Bigger Fur Patterns
After looking around you will notice like I did, that most faux fur are sold in small patterns. The problem with this is the overall look can be imposing and look fake. The last thing you want is your french chair to look as if it has faux fur. You do want to buy something close to the real thing. The best fur, would be fur that features a large pattern, because this is more realistic. The cheaper looks often have small scale patterns which tend to look very fake. Consider bigger patterns for a subtitle luxurious look.
In addition, there are many upholstery fabrics with an animal print pattern which look just as nice.
Look at the two outside chairs in the picture below to view a nice looking upholstery pattern. The middle chair is fur, and the subtle pattern gives a hint of luxury.
Some additional Maintence Tips:
Having fur in ones home can attract a lot of dirt over time, so do keep this in mind when selecting a fur. It is a necessity to vacuum the fabric regularly to keep dirt, dust and soil from accumulating. If you have a sofa with faux fur, be sure to remember to rotate and turn the cushions to prevent uneven wear.
Fur should also be kept out of the exposure to sunlight. Keeping fur out of the sunlight will allow its colors to remain vibrant for longer. Do not place any furniture in direct sunlight, as the sun acts like bleach over time.
I have a lovely leather circular tapestry that I found at a thrift store, and it was already folded when I bought it. I have found over time that the folds have further deteriorated because the natural leather is not soft anymore, from a lack of moisture. When storing real fur, it is best to store any fabrics on rolls rather than folding them to prevent difficult creases from forming.
If you find a fur that you love, don’t be afraid of asking for a sample! Many ebay sellers would love to send out a sample for the possibility of selling a few yards of fabric. Once you get an idea of what you like, chances are, you will have a keen eye to figure out what you like and what you dis-like.