How to Use Red Upholstery Fabric

Walking into a room with a bright red accent furniture piece is sure to instantly draw your eye. 

A bright red sofa or set of wingback chairs will definitely demand attention. Yet, most homeowners shy away from a red upholstered furniture piece. Instead, a few bright red accent pillows or ornaments may be introduced in a timid statement of what red can really do for your decor scheme. 

Red is powerful, dominant, and brave. While doing your entire living room in red may not be the best choice ever, choosing a great shade of red for upholstering your occasional chairs or that great recliner you found at a flea market can be ideal. 

Before you make your decision from the 50+ shades of red at Kovi Fabrics, you should know a few facts about how to use red upholstery fabric. 

What Is Red Upholstery Fabric

While you may think this is a silly question, red upholstery is an enigmatic upholstery choice, with many different shades. It isn’t always that easy to say whether something is red, wine red, chili red, or watermelon red. The red you choose may need to be defined by more than just the name. 

Where other colors can offer more leeway in choosing something from an online picture, red upholstery can be really tricky. What you thought to be a deep scarlet red may end up being a garish shade of lipstick red that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) go in your home at all. The images, screen resolutions on a computer or smartphone, and the overall feel of red upholstery can be quite deceiving. 

So how do you know what color red upholstery fabric you are ordering? 

Order Samples

One of the best ways to really know what you are getting is to order samples before you purchase yards and yards of the wrong color red upholstery. Kovi Fabrics is a great place to do just that as the cost of your samples can be recouped on the purchase price when you are ready to order. 

With samples, you can really get an idea of just what that stunning new red upholstered sofa will look like in your space. Working with samples can be tricky. Not all fabric samples are the same size. If you are ordering a plain red, your sample size may be quite small. If this is the case, you may need to order more than one sample to really get a feel for the impact this particular red upholstery may have. 

Fabric and Color Impact When Choosing Red Upholstery

Your samples should be used effectively when considering the red upholstery fabric you want to buy. It is not a simple matter of laying out a few samples on the sofa you intend to cover and magically knowing what it will look like. Instead, you need to visualize the impact of that particular red. 

With red being a primary color, the visual impact will be all the more intense. If your room has lots of green in it, then the red you choose may become much brighter and redder than the original fabric actually is, and vice versa. 

This intensity increases because red’s complementary color is green, so a room with loads of greenery such as plants, green rugs, and green ornaments may not be a great choice for a bright red. However, you can use a muted red such as brick red or mahogany red with some green elements without ending up with the color-screaming match that matching green and red normally triggers. 

Another consideration is the way in which the particular upholstery fabric carries the red pigment. Primary red will have a very different appearance when used on smooth and glossy upholstery fabrics than when used on a woven or nubby fabric. 

Pitfalls of Red Upholstery 

While you may be excited to order your first couple of yards from the great range of red upholstery fabrics at Kovi Fabrics, there are some pitfalls that need considering before you jump at the brightest or cheapest red upholstery you can find: 

  • Red becomes brighter the bigger the upholstered section it is used on.
  • Red upholstery can become a problem when keeping it clean as it may easily show stains and surface damage from friction or scuffing.
  • While many red upholstery choices are colorfast, they may still be susceptible to sun fade and the impact of UV damage that can easily spoil the look of the bright red deck chair you are envisioning. 
  • Red upholstery can be difficult to match with other fabrics as one shade of scarlet isn’t the same as another shade of scarlet. 
  • With bright red upholstery fabric, any flaws in the upholstery process will be all the more noticeable. Every pulled stitch or out-of-place nailhead trim will become an ugly focal point. 

Why Choose Red Upholstery 

With so many pitfalls to red upholstery fabric, why would you even consider choosing it? Well, simply put, it’s RED! Red upholstery fabric is timeless, powerful, and oh so suave. 

Sitting in a red wingback chair will not only be a comfortable seat, but it will transport you behind the wheel of a Maserati or a Ferrari. As you sink into a plush red sofa, you can imagine yourself sliding into the seat of a royal carriage. Red has the power to awaken the imagination. So why not choose red upholstery? 

Great Combinations in Red Upholstery Fabric

Red upholstery fabric works well as a stand-alone upholstery choice, but it can also be used effectively to emphasize and delineate special furniture pieces. There are many ways to use red upholstery fabric. 

One of the most elemental ways to use red upholstery fabric is to make piping or edging from the upholstery fabric to accentuate the shape of the pillows, seats, and armrests of chairs. Red upholstery fabric is a great choice as a plain color for modern apartment living, while red patterns make great feature statements for boho and country-style rooms. 

Soften the red hue by choosing a textured upholstery fabric that will diffuse the red color while still making a great statement. 

Impact of Lighting on Red Upholstery

An important consideration when choosing red upholstery is the way in which the red color reacts to the light in your space. If you have a bright room that gets full sun, the red you choose will be amplified in its intensity. 

Should you choose a red upholstery fabric for your sofa that stands near the large picture window in your lounge, consider what the green filtered light from the large willow tree in your yard will do to the red’s color authenticity. 

However, you can also use light and the impact of different color lights to help you manage your furniture’s red footprint. 

If you have chosen a red that’s just a little too bright, tone things down by using a cool-hued LED light near the sofa. If your red is too muted and ends up looking more like brick than the scarlet you wanted, improve the red tone by using a bright, warm-toned light nearby. 

Using the correct tone light can really help you finalize your red upholstery fabric to perfection. The wrong kind of lighting or natural light can really ruin your choice. Be mindful to avoid disappointment. 

Cleaning Red Upholstery Fabric

Stains and soiling can ruin any upholstery fabric, but red upholstery seems to flaunt its imperfections, especially if the shade is bright red on smooth textured upholstery fabric. Knowing how to effectively clean your red upholstery ensures you get value for your money. 

How to Clean Red Upholstery Fabric

Cleaning red upholstery requires that you follow this approach:

  • Immediately take action when you have a spill or mess.
  • Spot clean the spill by dabbing at it with a clean paper towel, removing any excess fluid or food particles. 
  • Next, mix a drop of dishwashing detergent with warm water and apply with a sponge to the spill. 
  • Gently wipe the spill area by working from the outside inward to reduce the size of the affected area. 
  • Dab with a dry lint-free cloth to dry the spill area.
  • Evaluate how effective your initial clean-up was. 
  • If you need to step up the cleaning process, do so by mixing some baking soda with water and applying that to the stain. (This depends on the type of upholstery you are dealing with.)


Choosing red upholstery for your next upholstery project may not be the first choice that jumps to mind, but you should definitely consider the great range of red upholstery fabric from Kovi Fabrics if you are adventurous, brave, and energetic. 

With red upholstery fabric, you will create a stylish, striking, and unique decor scheme that will have all your visitors talking.

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