How to Prevent Upholstery Fabric From Fading in Sunlight

Creativity & Design

This is a guest blog post from Anette Ortenstone, a writer from Colorado who focuses on the world of home design, interior design, and home improvement.

It’s no secret that the sun’s harsh rays can do some serious damage when it comes to your favorite upholstery fabric. A piece of furniture that was once bright and vibrant may begin to look dull and weary when overexposed to the sun, as fading is an all too familiar occurrence for chairs, couches, rugs–you name it–when the sun is out and about.

While you can, of course, close the blinds and drapes to minimize the risk of damage, letting sunlight in to warm up your home is one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures. The good news is that you don’t have to turn into a vampire living in the dark to keep your fabric in great condition. Instead, inform yourself on the available options that can help you prevent unwanted discoloration.

To help you out, here are a few ways to do just that:

Pay Attention to Fabric Type and Color

When looking for new chairs, sofas, loveseats, rugs, etc., don’t shop blindly. Not all fabrics are created equal, as some are more resilient to fading than others. For example, silk is widely known to fade quite easily, whereas fabric blended with polyester often is more resistant to discoloration.

Taking time to ask the supplier questions and doing your own research ahead of time will help you make an educated purchase, and you’ll also have a better idea of what to expect in regard to wear and tear with your new upholstery.

Similarly, pay attention to what color the upholstery is. While you don’t have to plan your entire home design around possible sun damage, it’s helpful to keep in mind that darker fabrics tend to fade much more rapidly and in a much more noticeable way than lighter tones do.

Research Window Awnings, Treatments, and Accessories

You don’t have to keep your entire window covered in order to limit the amount of sunlight that seeps into your house. There are many options that will give you and your upholstery some relief from the strong and bright UV rays. Here are a few ideas for you to further look into:

  • Home window awnings help shade the inside of your home by blocking the amount of sunlight that enters through the window. There are many styles, colors, and models available, and many of them are simple enough to install yourself.
  • Window film is another good option to consider. Just like it sounds, this involves placing a type of film over your glass windows to block the sun. Some brands can block up to 99% of harmful UV rays.
  • Transparent solar shades are also a way to prevent damage from UV rays while still being able to see out of your window.

Look Into Protective Covers

It might seem counterintuitive to invest in a piece of furniture that you fall in love with only to keep it covered up, but there are many stylish protective covers available that can help keep your upholstery fabric in good shape.

You can take off the covers when you’re hosting and plan to have company over, but these slips can slow down the fading process as well as protect the fabric from damage due to dirt, dust, and spills.

Rotate, Rotate, Rotate

If the sun comes in through your windows and directly hits a certain edge of your sofa, rotating it consistently can help the fading happen uniformly and evenly, whereas if you never rotate it, one area will be obviously more affected than the rest, most likely resulting in an unfortunate eyesore.

Whether it’s bi-monthly, monthly, or even weekly, consistently revolving your furniture around can make any fading and damage look more gradual. This goes for cushions as well; flip them over now and then so that both sides get equally exposed to the sun’s rays.

Be Consistent Throughout the Year

Just because it’s colder and cloudier outside doesn’t mean you should drop all of your sun damage prevention tactics. It’s a common misconception that you don’t have to worry about UV harm in winter, but the majority of rays can still reach our planet even on gray days. Snow can actually reflect the sun, meaning you and your upholstery are still exposed to the possible deterioration. In other words, you shouldn’t remove the window awning or take off your couch covers just because summer is fading out of sight.


Seeing your favorite rug or a sentimental couch begin to fade is never a happy moment. The bright side is that there are many tactics you can use that will help you minimize sun damage and slow down any possibility of fading or discoloration. It all comes down to applying both dedication and consistency with your efforts.

How do you protect your upholstery? Let us know the comments below!


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