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All the Hows, Whys and How Much’s of Upholstering with (Kid- and Pet-Friendly) Crypton Fabric

In an attempt to have pretty furniture while also living a full life with disgusting children equipped with hands and feet and mouths full of a marinara, jam or gold old-fashioned dirt, we’ve opted for finishes that are, well, forgiving. Gone are the days when you have to choose microsuede or a stiff outdoor fabric—THREE CHEERS FOR PROGRESS. So for today’s post, we partnered again with Crypton, and I’m going to walk you through how and why we used Crypton fabric throughout the mountain house while breaking down the details of the vintage sectional that we reupholstered (you asked, I got you).

First, though, my Crypton history:

We used it on my best friend’s sectional in her living room (a brave choice of white when you have small kids…even for a stain-resistant fabric).

Emily Henderson Corbette Crypton 70s Modern Makeover Living Room 21

It was and still is stunning, for sure (full reveal here). I stole that table back by the way. There are perks to being my friend, but it doesn’t come without some risks.

In her dining room, we opted for a light pink linen on her Verellen chairs (see full reveal here).

Emily Henderson Corbette Crypton 70s Modern Makeover Dining Room 12

In a prior iteration of my dining room, I had my chairs reupholstered in Crypton and chronicled my thoughts on the process in this post.

On to the mountain house.

I went with Crypton again, knowing that I wanted it to be kid-friendly without sacrificing style. You can see it in the kids nook, the dining nook, the vintage sectional in the living room and the darker sofa in the family room.

Let’s start in the dining room. I knew that even though it’s stain-resistant, this house, with as many kids that we have up there, needed leather so I thought that Crypton wasn’t going to happen until they proudly announced to me that indeed they now DO have leather—a ton of options, actually.

Crypton Lores 7

Crypton Lores 12

We went with a color called Earl Grey from the Cafe line by Cortina Leathers which has a really warm feel, and muted tones. Why Crypton leather? Well, the only bummer about leather is oil. Sure you can wipe off milk, but oil can make huge marks that might look okay after years of patina, but at first can just be a big old dark circle.

We had the House Beautiful shoot only weeks away so we had to choose from what was in stock (I wanted this gorgeous slate blue or a really dark green that wouldn’t have come until after the shoot). We figured that a dark charcoal was actually a very safe choice since the island was black.

Crypton Leather Samples Side By Side

There was a decent amount of hemming and hawing, making sure that it looked good with our table and popped enough without being too extreme.

Crypton Leather Sampling

We landed on the Earl Grey, the darker of the two grays we were debating (for some reason, the backs of the leathers are different colors, so it looks like the lighter gray is labeled Early Grey, but really it’s the deep charcoal).

Emily Henderson Moutain House Dining Room Lores1

So far so great. We love it and while we still want to figure out what to do with the back cushion (read about how that came in wrong here and I can’t handle the styling responsibility of the pillows) the leather itself is pretty, soft and yes, oil-spill proof.

Want proof of this spill-proofness?

We tried it (and storied it) weeks ago, and wanted to show you photos of that here. No cheating, folks, I promise. I could be at a booth in the mall demonstrating this and you could see it yourself (but I won’t).

Spilling Oil

Oil Spilling

Next up is the customized Cisco Home sofa in the family room.

Now, I talked all about the kid-friendliness of it, with its dark Crypton fabric in the family room reveal here, but for anyone who missed that post, it’s a room we use HARD when we’re up there. It basically doubles as the kids’ playroom, so the low-maintenance factor of just wiping off greasy popcorn hands is clutch. (A quick note on the Cisco Brothers Donato sofa: it’s really deep and cozy with a single bench cushion that’s basically a big pillow top and it’s VERY comfortable. We went with Black Slate from the Crypton Home line, which is one of several Crypton fabrics offered by Cisco Brothers though you can also get it from United Fabrics if you want to re-upholster something you already own (FYI, if you DO source this specific fabric through United Fabrics, this color is called Saturn Midnight). It’s great to be able to source a good-looking modernized sofa through a brand we love for its devotion to craftsmanship…made right here in southern California. It’s a bonus that Cisco offers the option to cover it in Crypton that acts like a shield to the filth of disgusting beautiful children).

Crypton Lores 4

With Crypton, we don’t REALLY need a dark color to cover up the grossness that materializes with little kids since everything would scrub out easily, but it does let you push off cleaning just a little longer.

Anyway, the sofa turned out GREAT and I never have to worry about popcorn grease.

And lastly, our vintage sectional that we reupholstered with a soft nubby Crypton.

When we first met this circa ’70s sectional (I found it on Chairish through Gallery L7 in LA), it was in a rusty brown terry cloth. Yes, towel material although we secretly kinda liked it.

Img 3218

My only regret is not finding this sectional earlier so we had to rush the upholstery decision time, as well as the actual upholstery job. Not ideal, but this happens in our field far more than you would imagine. You think you are happy with the sofa when you find THE ONE that will make your life complete, although temporarily very stressful and complicated.

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So here’s what happened:

We had to choose this fabric in ONE day from what was actually available in LA. Luckily, Calico Corners stores carry lots of different Crypton Home fabrics, including this one we chose called Maxwell in Pewter. For this sofa, we needed 30 yards and it retailed for $35/yard (but this was part of our partnership). Typically, a sectional like this would be anywhere between $900-$1,300 to recover NOT including the fabric or foam if any of that needs replacing. The sectional is ALL foam, like there aren’t any springs or a frame, so if we were to replace the foam then well, there was no way it would be done in time, plus it would have added about $800 because high-quality foam is VERY expensive. We took off the cushions and they were indeed in fantastic shape so all of us decided that they were salvageable. I’m sure someone will get upset that my kids are this close to dust mites, but listen, there was less waste. 🙂

We were charged $1,500 by our upholsterer because it was a rush job (I believe 4-5 days) so he had to push another client to squeeze us in.

But it turned out BEAUTIFUL and it’s been the easiest to care for. The texture of it really keeps any stain from penetrating so while our kids definitely knock off the back cushions and jump around like monkeys, it looks pristine.

Crypton Lores 17

Living Room Rug + Fabric Side By Side

I did the “smoothie test” on social, but wanted to show you here, too. We went green and healthy, you know, something a child might see and smack away in disgust (accurate). We brought down one of the back cushions of the dining room that we aren’t using—it’s not the sofa fabric because we didn’t have any around left over.

Spilling Smoothie

Step 1: Look SHOCKED when you splat green goo all over a perfectly clean cushion. It feels very very weird to purposefully pour smoothie on your fabric.

Step 2-5: CLEAN! They recommend you use water mixed with a couple of drops of a common household  enzyme-based cleaner (like Tide or Dawn). You put this mixture in a spray bottle and just have that handy for all of your Crypton (or pick up one of their own great cleaners). Blot/wipe, spray, brush, repeat as necessary (depending on how set in the stain is).

Smoothie Grid

Here is the cushion after some drying time:

Crypton Assets0109

It was undetectable. Pretty amazing, guys. Head to stories to watch it.

So for those of you interested in the details (i.e. how it works and where to buy) this section is for you:

Where to Buy:

Something to note is that Cisco Home is one of more than 150 distributors and retail stores where you can order a piece of furniture with Crypton fabric as a choice from the factory. A few other brands include Arhaus, Century Furniture, Kravet, Crate & Barrel and more. Check out the full list of distributors here:

For anyone who’s just like “give me that fabric” for your own project or say, you’re reupholstering an existing piece or something vintage, you can head to Calico Corners or Joanns (here’s the whole list of furniture and fabric retailers: As for pricing if you’re buying yardage, prices will vary by what you’re buying (obviously) but also by retailer, though you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $45 for their linen. As for their leathers, these are offered to the design trade, with pricing available by request. We found the pricing to be a great value for something this lasting and resilient.

How Is It So Stain-Resistant?

I’ve been using Crypton in my own home and other projects for the last few years, but I needed a little refresher as to how exactly it works, because if I needed to know, you’d probably want to know, too. The Crypton patented process permanently binds the technology to each fiber for lifelong stain, spill and odor protection. 

Every Crypton Home Fabric is third-party GREENGUARD Gold Certified for sustainability. Their performance technology actually extends the useful life of your furniture, so, less cost and waste. They have a team of textile scientists who work to make the performance technology literally become a part of the fiber itself (as in, it’s contained in the fabric, not applied to the surface), so it can’t ever wash or wear or rub off. It is not bioaccumulative, does not require the CA Proposition 65 warning label, does not contribute to environmental pollution because it’s free of PFOS, PFOA, heavy metals, phenols and odor and skin sensitizers. You can read more about this over on the Crypton site

A huge thanks to Crypton for partnering on this project and post. It’s a product we love using and recommend to everyone—including you. 🙂

**This post is in partnership with Crypton but all thoughts are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to support this business. 

***photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp and Veronica Crawford

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4 years ago

Does it handle blue jean rub off as well? It’s a killer for the light furniture I’ve had!

4 years ago
Reply to  Rene

Good question! I’d be especially curious about this on the light leathers

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

Crypton all the way, Baby! We recovered our family room chair and love seat in a Crypton fabric through Kravet, a year ago. We don’t have kids or pets, but we eat dinner on that furniture every night, and have had infant grandkids coming over for the past 13 years. And the one we picked feels so soft and looks just great!

Kathleen Stephenson
4 years ago

Just FYI when I go to “blog” in your top nav and scroll to the bottom blog post, there is no option to view “older” blog posts. I’m in Chrome!

4 years ago

I appreciate learning that the technology that affords stain resistance doesn’t wear or rub off. As a mom and a lazy person, I’m super into anything stain resistant. But as a chemist, I still worry about its safety for kids and pets and anyone else who puts their nose and mouth down deep. Does it degas? Does it REALLY not wear off at all, or just not enough to become less effective? Because these technologies are highly proprietary, I’ll probably never know. This concern comes from learning that toxic flame resistant materials have accumulated in our bodies from, yes, furniture treatment.

4 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

Wow, Lynn, that’s fascinating! I would also be curious if Crypton or someone with more knowledge about these types of materials could weigh in and shed some light on this.

4 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

Same! The toxisity of this stuff is nuts. It’s in so many carpets and sofas and we really don’t know what we’re buying. I know CA is really fighting hard to get these chemicals out of products but it’s a powerful industry…

4 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

Same! Also concerned about all the toxic chemicals that come through on rugs (especially bad), couches and event bedding! I was reading up on the powerful chemical lobbyist that keep CA from passing laws that would keep chemicals out of our products. It’s maddening!

4 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

I too get nervous about all these things, and like you am a mom who would love to keep things clean! I looked on he crypton site out of curiosity and this is what I saw under their frequently asked questions: “Crypton has eliminated all PFOA- and PFOS-containing long-chain C8 chemistry from our fluorinated formulas in favor of C6 chemistry, which is not bio-accumulative or toxic.”

So perhaps as a chemist you know more about what C6 chemistry vs C8 chemistry is. They also have another blurb about how they add fire-retardants as little as possible as required by laws. So clearly they are thinking about these issues too.

Hope that helps anyone else! We’ve been thinking of recovering our couch and using crypton so these are really good things to think about and do the research on. Best, other Lynn

4 years ago

LOVE seeing how functional this is in real life. 10/10 for real life smoothie and oil demonstrations.

4 years ago

Neatnik that I am, the puckering and wrinkling that will eventually be deep in the gorgeous dining room leather bench cushions would drive me insane.

4 years ago
Reply to  Steven

Me too!!! I noticed that right away. It would drive me nuts.

Karen Steinberg
4 years ago

Hi Emily,
Great article! I love Crypton! Just to let you and your readers know, Calico sells furniture as well as Crypton fabrics. Their furniture is all made in NC, very good quality. You can check out their furniture on their website. Or they can reupholster your existing furniture for you with their fabrics if you do not have your own upholsterer. They do a great job! Calico makes anything for home decor, custom with their fabrics. Window treatments, bedding, cushions, pillows, furniture…

Anne Davis
4 years ago

I apologize up front for having a question that’s nothing to do with the fabric – but can you source that great black and white throw on the sofa?

4 years ago

Thank you for this in-depth discussion! I ordered yardage last week to reupholster our sofa from Calico in Studio City, using Crypton. Happy to feel I made a good decision, given kids+dogs. Do you by chance ever share your upholsterer? I have 2 quotes but am nervous since I am changing the arms of the sofa….hoping to find a tradesperson who does really good work.

4 years ago

Love all of the Crypton fabrics you used for the mountain house, and can’t wait to see what you choose for the dining nook! If you’re still looking for suggestions there, how about a striped fabric? Seems like that could add a dose of happiness/playfulness to the space, but still in a quiet, sophisticated way. Plus, I feel like stripes are very on-brand for you. 🙂

4 years ago

Do Emily’s kids have hands made out of marinara??

4 years ago

Have you or anyone dealt with stains that weren’t cleaned off immediately like in your video? So often I don’t realize right away and am curious about oil, dirt, marinara, whatever that’s been sitting for a few days.