How to choose restaurant fabrics


Fabric is an integral part of restaurant interior design. From seat covers to swags, table cloths to pelmets and curtains to carpets, choosing fabric for a restaurant is a blend of practicality, design and careful budgeting. At Fernwood Interiors, we work with franchise and independent restaurants to create attractive yet practical interiors. Here are our top tips.

Know your multiple

Fabric and carpets are sold by the meter off standard size rolls. This means that if you’ve covering a room 3m wide, you’ll need to order carpet from a 4m or 5m roll. So a 3m x 6m room will use at least 18m2 – but more likely 24m2 or 30m2. Multiply even a small number by 30, and it starts to look a bit scary. Knowing what your multiple is, whether it’s number of place settings when buying table linen or room dimensions for buying carpet, will help you stick to your budget without under buying.

Invest in quality

Each refit you have to do will lose you business, so it’s worth investing in high quality materials now to put off that day. Stain resistant fabrics are a prime example. The treatment is often an optional extra, but it will quickly pay off. When you think of the volume of people that will be using the seating areas and walking across carpets, accidents start to seem inevitable.

Don’t compromise your vision

The exact details of which fabric you choose for upholstery, curtains and other features will depend on all the nitpicky details like availability, budget and delivery timelines. Don’t let these details compromise your design vision or you may wind up with an unsatisfactory hotchpotch of a room. Use sketches, Pinterest or whatever tools work for you to make it clear. If you’re working with one of our designers, they’ll provide clear designs for you to feedback on.

Look for durability

A fabric with a tight weave and a low (or no) pile in a dark colour is likely to be the most durable. Why? A tight weave makes a more dense cloth, and is less likely to snag. A thick pile flattens quickly in areas of use, making the carpet or velvet cloth look prematurely worn. Dark colours are less likely to show stains and marks, while light colours are more likely to pick up dirt and dye transfer, particularly from indigo denim. Leather and similar fabrics are also long lasting, but can be pricey.

Make sure you meet safety standards

Fire regulations and other safety standards apply to fabrics as well as other materials used in building and fitting out a restaurant. As an example, most stain proofed carpets should not be used on stairs as they can be slippery. Carpets should also meet fire safety standards, as should curtains and upholstery. We can provide detailed information about relevant industry and government standards as part of our fit out service.

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