Upholstery is an important part of many interior design projects because it can transform the entire look of a space. Choosing the right upholstery textile or leather is a vital part of selecting furnishings for a space. Interior Designers for the Cruise Ship and Hospitality Industries have always been focused on the design of textiles to enhance the experience of their guests and attract them for future cruises.

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COVID-19 will definitely influence the criteria of interior design choices, as priorities will shift to protect the wellbeing of guests and avoid unnecessary risks. The new trends will demand high performance fabrics that can stand up to heavy abrasion, are bleach cleanable, are water repellent and have inherent antimicrobial properties to reduce the spread of bacteria and disease. Although these fabrics have been developed primarily for the education and healthcare markets, the variety and offer is limited for the hospitality sector which opens a window of opportunity for manufacturers to fulfill the demand.

Research and understanding what antimicrobial is will be a first step in finding the right suppliers. The use of antimicrobial additives is regulated by the Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The complexities of the law makes it possible for manufacturers to stretch the truth of their marketing claims about the benefits of antimicrobial products, potentially misleading consumers. It is extremely important that any decision making process consider the experience, product maturity and certifications of the manufacturer as to avoid deception in this new product trend for the cruise and hospitality industries.