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Kristen, a designer at Nell Hill’s, spends her days raving about high-performance fabrics. She’s a big believer in the miracle fabrics that refuse to stain. But she had never really tested them out in her own home.

Then, her fur baby Mowgli decided to turn Kristen’s brand-new day bed into his favorite hangout. Kristen had the foresight to cover the daybed in a performance fabric, so when her husband called out to her, “Look at how cute this is! Mowgli is sleeping on the day bed,” her heart only skipped a few beats. Now that she’s seen firsthand how the fabric handles Mowgli’s hair, dirty paws and even the peanut butter from his dog bones, she’s been amazed. The day bed still looks new.

For all of us who long for light-colored furniture, this is a game changer. We no longer have to select upholstery the color of mud if we have kids or pets (or in my case, a very messy husband). Or opt for patterns that will hide our friend’s party fouls, like spilled dip or splashed drinks.

If we like, we can now cover our furniture in snow white fabric that looks like linen, but wears like iron. That’s because high-performance fabrics are light-years ahead of where they were even just a few years ago, when they were stiff and hard. If you’re looking for new furniture for holiday entertaining, here’s why you should give performance fabrics a look.

You will have stunning furniture that can also handle all that life dishes out. Here’s proof: Carly, one of our designers, received a panicked call from one of our customers, a young mom whose 3-year-old child had just taken a black Sharpie and drawn a pretty picture of a house and trees on their brand-new white sofa. Carly told her to breathe and follow the manufacture’s cleaning method. Every bit of the Sharpie art came out!

One of my friends asked us to help her design her living room, a light and bright space filled with blues and creams. This is how the room is supposed to look: dog-free.

 

But, this is how it looks the minute she turns her back: A lounge for her dogs. Daisy, her standard poodle with perpetually muddy paws, makes herself at home on the sofa when no one is looking. And Tess sneaks in whenever she can to bask in the sun.

I wish I had high-performance fabrics years ago, when I hosted my boisterous family for Christmas Day. After Dan cooked a wonderful feast, we moved to the living room to open gifts. That’s when my 90-something-year-old mom accidentally spilled her red wine all over my white sofa. If I had had Sunbrella or Krypton or Revolution fabric, the wine would have wiped right up.

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This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at nellhills.com

 

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