Decode Upholstery Labels and Choose the Best Sofa for Your Needs

When choosing a new sofa, many people are tempted by the piece’s appearance and, unsurprisingly, they often regret their purchase later. Knowing more about the fabrics and materials is essential to be happy with the sofa you’re buying. We have decided to share with you what do the abbreviations on furniture labels mean. That will help you avoid ending up with a sofa that is a nightmare to clean and maintain. But, before jumping to reading about the fabric abbreviations, there are three important questions you must ask yourself when getting an upholstered piece for your home or office.

Q1: Where and How Are You Going to Use Your Sofa?

Here, the homeowners made a great decision when they’ve picked this light shade for their sofa, as prolonged exposure to sunlight would eventually lead to fading of any dark colour.

As you shop for a new sofa or armchair, you should let your practical needs lead your choice, so consider how you live and how you will use the furniture. You may fall in love with the look of that velvet couch, but it will quickly deteriorate in a house with kids or pets. Upholstered furnishings in high-traffic areas, such as the living room, need durable materials which stand well stains and wear. Examples of such materials are wool, wool blends, or entirely synthetic fabrics. On the other hand, a piece that doesn’t get as much wear, such as a bedroom ottoman, can sport any material, including luxurious silk or linen upholstery. In terms of location, it’s also worth mentioning that some colours will fade if exposed to direct sunlight. So, a sofa with lighter colour upholstery is better for the sunny areas of your home.

Check also: How to Choose Carpets for Your New Home

Q2: How Much Time Can You Spare to Clean Your Furniture?

If you don’t want to hire upholstery cleaners every time your pup curls up on your sofa, then opt for synthetic or blend upholstery fabrics.

Another big mistake is not considering how the upholstery will age over time and its cleaning requirements. Check the furniture label and ask questions at the store to find out what is the fabric’s content. Ask yourself, how much time and effort are you willing to spend in maintaining the piece? How many times a year would you need to hire professional sofa cleaners to keep the furniture in top shape? Knowing the type of upholstery means you can choose a sofa which durability and level of care comply with your specific needs.

Read also: What You Should Know About Cleaning Upholstered Furniture

Q3: Is Thread Count Important When Choosing a Sofa?

A higher thread count means more durable material, which is a desirable quality in upholstery fabrics.

Yes, considering the thread count is essential when buying upholstered furniture! This measure indicates the number of threads per square inch, so basically, it shows how tightly the fabric is woven. When getting a new sofa or material to reupholster any piece of furniture, remember that the higher the thread count, the less the upholstery will wear. This rule applies to both synthetic and natural fabrics.

Check also: How to Care for a Velvet Sofa the Right Way.


What Do the Upholstery Abbreviations on Your Sofa Label Mean?

The abbreviation for polyester. Image source: Acronyms and Slang

After you’ve answered the previous questions, you can get on with decoding the abbreviations used for different fabrics. There are two types of materials used as upholstery – natural and synthetic. Also, there are the so-called blends – fabrics that combine two or more different materials. In general, synthetic fabrics are more common nowadays and have wonderful qualities in terms of maintenance and durability. Natural textiles and materials are beautiful and luxurious but usually quite expensive and have more specific cleaning requirements. Blends are a great upholstery option, as they combine the benefits of two or more materials and compensate for their flaws. Check the table below to decipher the codes on your furniture label.


Abbreviation     Fibre Type
AC   Acetate Synthetic 
AF Other Fibres These are the additional fibres included in the fabric, making up only a small percentage of the overall content. They can be synthetic, natural, or both.
CA Acetate Synthetic
CMD Modal Man-made (semi-synthetic)
CO Cotton Natural
CV Viscose (Rayon) Synthetic
EA Elastane Synthetic
EL  Elastane Synthetic
HL Cotton / Linen Mix Natural
LI Flax / Linen Natural
MA Modacrylic Synthetic
MO Modal (Modal Cotton) Man-made (semi-synthetic)
NY Nylon Synthetic
PA Nylon/Polyamide Synthetic
PE Polyethylene Synthetic
PES Polyester Synthetic
PC Acrylic Synthetic
PL Polyester Synthetic
PM Metallised Polyester Synthetic
PU Polyurethane Fibre Synthetic
RA Ramie Natural
SE Silk Natural
TA Triacetate Synthetic
VI Viscose (Rayon) Man-made (semi-synthetic)
VY Vinyl Synthetic 
WA Angora Natural
WB Beaver Natural
WG Vicuña Natural
WK Camelhair Natural
WL Llama Natural
WM Mohair Natural
WO Wool Natural
WP Alpaca Natural
WS Cashmere Natural
WU Guanaco Natural
WV Virgin Wool Natural