Upholstered goods, such as sofas and lounge chairs, are usually an expensive purchase. They're also items that many of us would like to have in our homes for a long time. I am usually guilty of selecting the most neutral of colors and materials, hoping that no matter how my style changes my sofa will always blend in nicely. But I envy those who choose unusual color combinations and styles.
The above examples from Elle Decor are perfect inspiration pages in case you are thinking of reupholstering or purchasing a custom-made piece in an unusual way.
Before taking on a re-upholstery project yourself, be sure to assess the type of fabric you are thinking of using. Fabric that will be sat on should be upholstery-grade, meaning that it should be able to withstand a certain amount of wear and tear that you expect from your environment. A more unusual fabric may be used on the back side of a piece. Just make sure that it's not too delicate as the fabric will have to be stretched during the upholstery process. If you are using a professional upholsterer it's a good idea to show them a sample of your desired textiles and discuss your choice before purchasing your yardage.
For a good ballpark of how much yardage to purchase for your furniture check out this chart from Fabric Guru .
From left to right:
1. Four different textiles on the armchairs, Met Home via Elle Decor 2008
2. Mirrored side chairs, unusual sofa, Elle Decor 2010
3. Unusual blue armchairs with contrasting piping, Elle Decor 2009
4. Using two different fabrics in two different ways, Met Home 2008 via Elle Decor 2008
5. Contrasting piping, Elle Decor 2006
Images: As linked above.