How to choose the right fabrics for furniture design in restaurants?

Changing furniture for a hotel or restaurant requires particular attention to fabric selection. Whether for chairs, curtains, armchairs, benches, stools, poufs or even floor coverings, the fabric must meet the customer’s expectations and last over time.

To select the right fabric for a project, a number of factors need to be taken into account:

Where will the project take place?

It’s essential to be familiar with the environment in which the project will be carried out, since the fabric chosen must meet the constraints sometimes imposed by the location. If the project is to be carried out in an establishment that regularly welcomes the public, such as a hotel, restaurant or hospital, you’ll need to choose a fabric that meets the standards in force in these sectors:
  • The M1 standard: applicable in France, which defines the behavior of a material under the effect of flames. It is set by taking into account the time during which the fabric resists fire.
  • B1 standard: applicable throughout Europe, this standard provides companies with information on flame-retardant fabrics (all fabrics treated against fire, making them more resistant to flames).
These standards must be complied with, as must fire alarms and fire doors. In addition to these standards, there are fabrics specially designed with fire-retardant fibers. These are called “Trevira CS” fabrics, and are world-renowned for the way they are manufactured: unlike other fabrics on the market, the fibers are treated upstream. On the other hand, if the project takes place in a private residence, the choice of fabric will depend on the products offered for sale by publishers and distributors. In this sense, it will be easier to respond to customers’ desires, which can sometimes be influenced by trends.

High stain resistance for easy maintenance

In the food service industry, especially in high-end restaurants, the premises must be constantly maintained.

During room service, team members may spill liquids or solids that are sometimes difficult to remove. To save time for the teams in charge of cleaning and setting up the rooms, some fabrics can be maintained more easily than others.

One of the most popular materials for easy maintenance is leather. By using a soft cloth moistened beforehand, you can remove dust or other visible traces without much difficulty.

To significantly reduce the risk of staining, it is imperative to:

  • Ban natural fabrics such as linen or cotton and favor synthetic fabrics.
  • Pay attention to the choice of color, since by adopting light colored fabrics, you will naturally expose yourself to more visible stains than on darker fabrics.

The golden rule remains unchanged: avoid natural fabrics which tend to be more fragile than synthetic ones.

  1. To obtain fabric, simply visit a fabric publisher or distributor. A visit to a showroom gives you an overview of what’s new: on average, two collections are released each year, including a “classic” range and a “fireproof” range aimed at specific establishments.
    As an interior designer, it’s also an opportunity to find out about the latest materials and manufacturing techniques, which can help give meaning to a project. Each fabric tells a story, which can sometimes be used to convey an emotion to the customer, especially when the fabric appeals to the sense of touch.
  2. Make an initial broad selection of fabrics and then refine it according to the challenges of the final project, bearing in mind that the fabric must first and foremost meet a very specific customer need. Every project is different, whether it’s a curtain or a seat, and the fabric used will never be the same. The question to ask at this stage is: “Does this fabric represent the spirit of the project?
  3. To materialize your ideas, there’s nothing better than a moodboard on which the pre-selected fabric samples are arranged. This makes it easier to test the coherence of the fabrics.
  4. The final choice will largely depend on the identity of the interior designer. This is where tests are carried out, juxtaposing fabrics with surrounding elements such as walls or floors. In this way, it’s possible to project yourself into the future environment with all the materials.
  5. Every project needs to tell a story, and fabrics are a good source of inspiration and will provide a tone throughout a project.

A sound methodology

Leading the way

Making-Of Studio has to create an environment that goes beyond current trends, proposing new materials to match the project in hand by mixing colors, different materials or aspects. This advice is especially true for hotel projects, since the aim for our customers is to invest for a period of 7 to 10 years. It’s at this crucial stage of the project that the new furnishings and fittings have to stand the test of time.

But don't forget practicality

In the hotel industry, you need to be innovative in terms of color and materials, but also functional (stain-resistant, sturdy, etc.). Here’s a concrete example: as customers pass by and use them, the armrests can become worn and dirty. We therefore need to use appropriate fabrics, or find a way for customers to avoid putting their hands on the armrests. In a hotel environment, and particularly in a hotel room, it’s essential to use highly blackout fabrics for room curtains to ensure that light is impenetrable in the room, even via the sides. This requirement may come from some guests who demand complete darkness during their night.

Enhancing the existing fabric

Some manufacturers offer designers the option of designing the fabric themselves, depending on the project, especially for large-scale projects involving a lot of yardage. It’s also possible to add your own signature to an existing fabric, using trimmings such as tassels, braids or piping. These decorative elements are very often appreciated, as they add a certain elegance to furniture. A wide range of suppliers is available, including Houles, Declercq and Passementiers de l’Île-de-France in Paris.
In conclusion, the choice of fabric for a project is a difficult and specific exercise, and requires a good knowledge of the players present on this market. Let’s not forget that your needs and the location of the project are decisive factors in choosing the right fabric. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further advice or recommendations.

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