When it comes to selecting the perfect office chair, the sheer variety of choices can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the chair's covering fabric or material. The options range from thick wools to plastic finishes, each catering to the diverse preferences and requirements of different workspace settings.
To help you navigate this extensive selection, we've created a concise guide that covers key considerations and what to keep in mind as you explore the diverse range of options.
For many people, this is the most important part of the decision-making process, and often where it stops. How well your chair fits into your overall interior plan is important, especially if you are buying a piece for your home. The type of material you choose can also affect how it looks, especially if you buy something that doesn't age well.
Thankfully, many manufacturers offer a wide range of materials and fabrics. This means you can find a material that not only matches the colours you want but is also tough enough to meet your needs.
Let's now explore some of the more popular materials and talk about why they might be a good choice.
Fabric is a very popular choice for office chairs. It comes in many colours and feels nice to touch. Fabric chairs are tough and can handle regular use. They're comfortable and better for cold spaces compared to leather or vinyl.
But there's a drawback – fabric is a bit tricky to clean, especially if you spill something on it. However, with the right cleaning methods, you can get your chair looking good again.
Mesh chairs are super comfy and let air flow through, which is great in warm places. However, some people prefer regular fabric chairs, especially if they get cold easily, and there is often a smaller range of colour choices available, as they are specially manufactured for each chair model.
Leather chairs often give a fancy vibe and feel luxurious. But they can be quite expensive. Leather is easier to clean than fabric, but it needs protection from direct sunlight and regular care to stay looking nice in the long run.
Plastic chairs are tough and budget-friendly. While they might not feel as cozy as padded seats, modern plastic chairs are designed to be more comfortable, especially if they have built-in cushions. They're super easy to clean, resistant to spills, and lightweight.
Although plastic isn't the most environmentally friendly material, some brands, including Flokk, now make chairs from recycled plastic that's just as strong as non-recycled plastic.
More and more people care about sustainability when they shop, even for chairs. When you want environmentally friendly materials, there are labels or certificates to look for, like the EU Ecolabel, Oeko-tex®, or Möbelfakta. Plastic chairs can be made from recycled or recyclable materials, and they usually have labels saying so. At Flokk, we've been working on sustainable solutions for almost 30 years. We offer many sustainable options, with 14 out of our 18 standard upholstery choices having eco-label certifications.
When buying a chair, you'll come across a lot of extra information that can help you pick the right one. Here's a brief overview of some of the most common things you'll encounter.
The Martindale scale measures how tough a fabric is by quantifying how well it can withstand rubbing. A higher number means the fabric is more durable. Different countries have their own rules for fabric use. For instance, in Germany, they recommend at least 10,000 for home use, 25,000 for office use with soft padding, and 15,000 for office use with hard padding. At Flokk, we look for tough fabrics. Most of our fabrics have at least 100,000 on the Martindale scale, and some are even stronger. This means they last a really long time.
Before buying a chair, make sure it's made from materials that have been tested and certified for fire safety. Look for at least BS EN 1021: 1–2 (Cigarette & match) as a minimum requirement.
This is about how well the material can resist fading when exposed to light. It's measured on an 8-level scale, with 1 being very low and 8 being exceptional. Ideally, aim for a rating higher than 5. If your chair will be in a lot of sunlight, look for materials with a light fastness rating of 6 or higher.
Pilling happens when the fabric surface becomes uneven due to broken fibers. This makes your chair less comfortable and doesn't look good. Pilling is also measured on a scale, usually from 1 to 5. A rating of 1 means severe pilling, while 5 means no change is detected. If pilling is important to you, check how a fabric's pilling is rated.
The many options for office chair materials show that people have different needs when it comes to seating. The right choice for you depends on where it will be used and what you need as an individual.
Armed with the above information, you should be able to narrow down your choices and ensure that the chair you choose not only looks good but performs well in the environment it will be used in.
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