How Can We Choose Upholstery Fabric? 7 Factors to Consider

How Can We Choose Upholstery Fabric? 7 Factors to Consider

Is it time to replace your scuffed-up furniture? For every type of furniture, from sofas to dining chairs, learn which upholstery fabrics to use.

It’s time to update your sofa’s appearance. What factors should you take into account when choosing an upholstery fabric now that you’ve decided to reupholster your couch?

What color to choose is typically the first thing that comes to mind when you are considering purchasing upholstered furniture. When choosing fabrics, it is frequently the most important factor. While color is significant, other elements are just as significant.

Here’s how to make an informed decision about a fabric that you’ll be content to use for many years.

How to Choose Upholstery Fabric?

Here are a few things to consider when choosing upholstery fabric:


It is advantageous to take the amount of use your sofa receives into account when choosing a fabric.

Will the sofa see daily use? Are your kids going to train in wrestling techniques on your couch? Will Fido attempt to make a hole in the cushion’s middle? If the answer is “yes,” then you need a durable fabric.

A few things to check for to ensure durability:

  • Check the number of rubs that were used in the abrasion test. For residential use, a fabric should have a 15000 or higher count.
  • Prints fade more quickly than woven fabrics do.
  • Look for fabrics with tight weaves
  • olefin fabrics, such as Revolution!) are generally very durable
How Can We Choose Upholstery Fabric? 7 Factors to Consider


The excitement of bright colors. Colors that are trendy are in style. But should you use either of these hues to reupholster your couch? Although it is entirely up to you, think about using a neutral fabric instead.

Adding color to pillows, rugs, and curtains can instantly change the appearance of a space. When a trendy color becomes stale, it is much more challenging to change the color of your entire sofa.

A mood or a problem can be solved by using certain colors. A fabric in a solid lighter color gives off an inviting, airy vibe. A darker shade may conceal dirt.


Along with color and pattern, the textures of different fabrics will vary depending on the thread count, material, and other factors when choosing your fabric. The number of textures available is infinite.

Be sure to take durability, texture, and the fabric’s ability to resist fading into account. You can decide what will work best for your home and space by obtaining fabric samples.


Before choosing a fabric, take the design of your sofa frame into account. For instance, a traditional fabric and a traditional sofa frame will always look good together.

There are countless styles of textiles. Fabrics can have a casual, elaborate, formal, or fun appearance. Think about how your choice will complement your existing decor.

Consider the scale when selecting a pattern-printed fabric. In a small space, a large-scale pattern might be overwhelming or it might not center on your sofa in an attractive way. With a small pattern in a big room, the contrary might be true.

How Can We Choose Upholstery Fabric? 7 Factors to Consider


Depending on the material and quality, upholstery fabrics are available at a wide range of prices. But this doesn’t mean that “good” fabrics with desirable properties have to be expensive.

With the aid of modern technology, it is now possible to purchase fabrics that are incredibly affordable and comfortable. To make sure you don’t go overboard with your spending, research how much fabric will be needed to reupholster the object you want and create a budget.


Maintenance is a crucial factor to take into account if you’re a set-it-and-forget-it type of person. Leather, for example, can generally be wiped down and doesn’t adhere to dirt, odor, or anything else.

Fabrics, on the other hand, like velvet, show stains very clearly and simply draw customers who like to shop at Black Friday sales despite their pets’ dander. Even worse, extremely delicate fabrics like silk require professional cleaning to avoid damage.

As you can see, different fabrics call for different amounts of work in the maintenance department. In light of this, you should choose fabrics that are machine washable when it comes to heavy cleaning for large pieces.

Keep this in mind because you could end up saving yourself countless hours of cleaning time.

Cleaning upholstery fabrics needs some tips, and it is important to clean upholstery fabrics before using them for the first time, but don’t worry, we have provided you with a Upholstery Fabric Cleaning Guide. It can tell you how to clean different types of upholstery fabrics.

Special Considerations

You should also take into account a few other things before choosing the upholstery for your furniture. They relate to the setting in which your couch will be placed. Is there any moisture or a lot of sunlight in your room? Do you share the furniture with any animals? Has anyone ever experienced allergies?

How Can We Choose Upholstery Fabric? 7 Factors to Consider
  • Fade resistance: If it will be placed in a room with lots of natural light or close to a window, this factor is crucial.
  • Mildew resistance: If you live somewhere humid, look for fabric that is mildew-resistant.
  • Allergies: Because it is lint-free and doesn’t attract dust, fabric like microfiber is a good option for people with certain allergies.
  • Pets: Avoid using silk or any other delicate fabric or fabric with a lot of texture if you have pets. Instead, pick pet-friendly upholstery.

How to Choose a Luxurious Upholstery Material?

You can really flaunt your freedom if you don’t have to worry about having messy kids or pets. The top decadent picks: are fluffy Tibetan wool (“It feels so indulgent, but it’s not a great place to eat peanut butter crackers”) and Belgian linen.

While linen is very resilient, lighter colors don’t always provide the level of stain resistance that a family with young children may need, and they may not maintain a crisp, wrinkle-free appearance after extended periods of lazing around.

If maintenance (or cost) is a concern, you can always use these opulent fabrics on pillows, which can be changed out when they’ve seen better days or a new trend emerges.

Natural Upholstery Fabrics



The name of this fabric, chenille, is derived from the French word for caterpillar. The tufted fabric’s appearance of a line of furry caterpillars is the reason for this.

While cotton is used to make chenille in its natural state, it can also be combined with other materials such as silk, rayon, polyester, and nylon to increase its durability and keep the tufts from coming untucked.

The tufts are special in that they reflect light differently, which, when properly brushed down, produces a lovely luminous sheen. The way velvet changes appearance depending on how it is ruffled is comparable to this.

Untreated Chenille has a soft texture from the tufts and is very durable, making it a good option for furniture that will be used frequently.



Natural, plush, breathable, and reasonably priced. Despite not being the most durable fabric when it is not blended, it is still adored for how cozy it is. To be as pile- and abrasion-resistant as possible, high-quality cotton fabrics have a tighter, heavier weave.

Cotton needs a tighter weave in particular because loose threads catch on pet claws, jagged nails, and the like. Cotton also has the advantage of being heat resistant, which makes it possible to machine wash many pre-shrunk cotton fabrics when necessary.

If you want something with more durability, cotton blends are another option, though the feel will change slightly.



Leather has long been a preferred material for upholstery because of the special qualities it provides over fabrics. Leather, which comes from animal hides, doesn’t have a hot or cold sensation. When you use it, it quickly adjusts to the ambient temperature and reaches your body temperature.

Given that leather is hypoallergenic, repels pet hair, and is simple to clean, it is the best option for homes with allergy sufferers and well-behaved pets. Just wipe it down or vacuum it.

Quality leather is also resistant to tearing, and all but the deepest pet scratches can be easily removed with light buffing. Superior leathers may even become softer, more puncture-resistant, and even develop a lovely patina over time.

That’s not how fabrics work; they deteriorate over time. If not abused, quality leather can last decades if properly maintained with a leather conditioner to prevent it from cracking.

In terms of quality, less expensive leathers frequently conceal their flaws through extensive processing that obliterates the natural grain. The least processed leathers are the most expensive. Even the scratches and insect bites are still there, preserving the leather’s natural history.



The iconic farmhouse shabby-chic look is best achieved with linen, which is clean and rustic. It is organic, permeable, and resilient without sacrificing comfort. It is good to use linen upholstery. When it comes to durability, linen beats cotton hands down thanks to its high tensile strength.

The main drawback of using pure linen is the high cost; as a result, cotton, synthetic fibers, or intermediate materials like rayon or viscose are frequently incorporated into linen fabrics. In homes with children and pets, linen is not recommended due to its susceptibility to stains.



Silk is unquestionably one of those good things that aren’t inexpensive. It’s light, luxurious, and quite literally “smooth as silk”. Additionally, it is naturally soft and smooth without any chemical processing, which makes it very non-abrasive. An absolute game-changer for those with sensitive skin and skin allergies.

Even better, silk is hypoallergenic and highly resistant to mildew and moss. Silk is uninviting to dust mites.

Fun fact: The silkworm spins silk to protect itself from these dangers, which explains why. Due to these qualities, it has been a highly sought-after material used for centuries in upholstery and clothing.

The silk used to be reserved for the king, his family, and friends in ancient China. Silk is very inconvenient despite its grandeur. When cleaning silk, extreme caution should be used. One of the most delicate fabrics is this one.

It is damaged by harsh chemicals and severe abrasion. It must therefore be professionally dry-cleaned. Additionally, keep the sun away from it. It is highly photo-degradation-prone.

Be careful using it around children and pets as they may scratch and stain it, and of course, it is very expensive. Maybe after reading all of that, the question you’re asking in your head is “What doesn’t damage silk?”



Distinguished by its buttery soft feel and available in bold, luminous colors, velvet is a good upholstery material that screams “touch me”. Bring out your inner showman because velvet is the best fabric to use for dramatic pieces!

Since velvet refers to the distinctive short, dense pile that gives it the familiar softness and sheen, velvet isn’t technically a natural fabric. “Velvet fabric” actually can be made from natural or synthetic fibers and shares lots of similarities with chenille.

Similar to chenille, it is delicate and scatters light based on how it is arranged, giving it the appearance of a variety of shades and textures when rubbed down. It can draw a lot of attention.

Velvets are excellent choices for winter nights because they keep heat in and make lovely furniture. It is incredibly cozy to sit and lie on thanks to its creamy fleece-like texture.

But velvet has some pretty significant flaws as well. Velvet easily attracts pet hair and other allergens despite not easily catching it in pet claws. It requires a lot of upkeep because it also stains quickly and visibly. Making sure the fabric can be machine washed is especially important if you want velvet.



Good old wool has a spring-like crimp, is breathable, feels great, and is incredibly durable. No wonder it has been in use for so long! Sadly, the price is also fairly high.

Made from sheep fleece, wool is a great natural fiber that feels luxurious and is good for the environment. However, modern wool fabrics are almost always blended with synthetics, making pure wool less likely to shrink and making it difficult to clean.

This increases its resistance to wrinkling and piling in particular, as well as making it easier to clean. Some even support machine washing.

Synthetic Fabrics



Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is flexible, incredibly durable, and simple to maintain. It can be produced to have a range of emotions, textures, and hues. It’s difficult to believe that two very different-looking and feeling fabrics, whether crisp or soft, dull or bold, are both made of 100% polyester.

It also has a good price and is useful. One of the best fabric options for outdoor furniture is polyester because it is resistant to almost anything that is thrown at it.

It is lightweight, water-repellent, mildew-resistant, fade-resistant, abrasion-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, and durable. However, it does possess a flaw, just like a Pokemon. Oil stains are what those would be, and they are difficult to get rid of. With the exception that, machine washing can make many blends flawlessly clean and like new.

An outstanding candidate for the title of budget to performance champion! Because of this, polyester is the fabric that is blended with other materials the most. It will be less likely to wrinkle and more durable, and it will also be simpler to clean.

Lighter colors do stain on polyester, so keep that in mind when using them. However, it is simple to clean, though it will take more work.

Faux Leather

Faux Leather

Sleek, expensive-looking, and completely leather-like. It should come as no surprise that faux leather was created to look like the real thing. Usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU), it has a texture that mimics the patterns found in genuine leather.

The technology to make it has advanced to the point where most people would be unable to tell the difference between the two, despite the fact that it is entirely synthetic.

And compared to the genuine article, it is a huge bargain. What drawbacks exist, then?

Faux leather is more prone to peeling and cracking than leather. This is a problem with all faux leather, but it is particularly evident with the lesser-quality varieties. Faux leather can be maintained with conditioners, but over time, it deteriorates. Contrarily, genuine leather ages better and acquires a protective patina.

Faux leather is also vulnerable to punctures even though it is impressively scratch resistant. Moreover, it is impermeable. Anyhow, this means that sleeping on a faux leather sofa in a humid environment can be particularly uncomfortable.

Surprise! Faux leather is therefore the best choice for a leather substitute. If real leather is too expensive, you can still get the same appearance and, to some extent, benefit by covering furniture in faux leather. Since it is replaceable, simple to clean, and hypoallergenic, it really shines in homes with pets or young children.


What is Microfiber? An Overview

Wonder fabric of the twenty-first century that is lightweight. Usually, a mixture of polyester and nylon is used to create this ultra-fine fabric. Microfiber is extremely dense and durable, incorporating fibers measuring less than a fifth of the diameter of human hair.

Due to the density of the fibers, dyed microfiber is made to be especially soft and has a particularly vibrant appearance. Amazingly vibrant, lustrous, and fade-resistant colors are offered.

In addition, microfiber can be produced in a variety of ways to mimic the texture of cotton, velvet, suede leather, and other materials. Microsuede, which is microfiber with a suede-like texture, is an excellent alternative to faux leather for a sofa.

Particles do not pass through, which is another characteristic resulting from the dense weave. Spills of liquid bead up rather than immediately soaking in, though they are not stain-proof. The much-needed time to wipe them off is bought by this.

Additionally, allergens only adhere to the fabric’s surface rather than soaking into it, making cleaning a simple matter of vacuuming. Also unable to enter are bothersome dust mites.



Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a popular and cost-effective fabric option for furniture that will see a lot of use. Because the color is locked into the fibers during the melting process, olefin, which is entirely synthetic, is particularly fade-resistant. This makes it a fantastic material option for furnishings that receive a lot of light.

In addition to being lightweight, olefin is also highly resistant to fire, stains, and abrasion. Olefin is a strong and comfortable material that is essentially devoid of flaws, making it a very flexible option for any upholstery application.

Fun fact: One of the synthetic fibers with the least negative effects on the environment is olefin.



A variety of fabrics that all refer to the same thing are referred to as rayon in general. They are semi-synthetic fabrics created by chemically dissolving and reforming plant fibers like wood pulp.

These various names are the result of differences in the production process. When rayon was first developed as an artificial silk, it had a variety of issues, including pilling, wrinkling, and being easily scratched.

Since then, rayon has advanced significantly. Specifically, the type used for upholstery, which is typically blended with synthetics. A variety of fabrics, including cotton, linen, and silk, can be imitated by the new and improved rayon. It’s impressive how well the natural fiber characteristics of these are preserved.

It is soft, breathable, and absorbent like completely natural fabrics. It is also inexpensive, which places it as the third most popular textile in the world.

However, rayon is still not very durable, so it isn’t perfect. It has the lowest elastic recovery of all the natural fibers, which increases the likelihood that stretching and damage will cause it to lose its shape permanently.

Yes, it is still easily wrinkled, pilled, and scratched. It is temporarily made weaker when wet, even more so. The fact that rayon is highly flammable unless it has been treated only makes matters worse.

So, if you’re living in a more “adult” household without any foreseeable accidents to endanger your upholstery then this may be the choice for you. Simply avoid using it for items that will receive a lot of use. It’s essentially cheap silk!

These are the most typical upholstery fabrics. Of course, there are more, but sadly we are unable to discuss them all due to my aching fingers. The list above, however, should have something that will suit your needs.

Consult the store that sells them to learn more about what would be best for you. After all, choosing a fabric that will adorn your furniture for years to come requires careful consideration.

Conclusion: Choose Upholstery Fabric

Before selecting the appropriate fabric, there are some crucial factors you should think about.

The most crucial component of any upholstery project you take on is the fabric you choose for it. Both aesthetics and function are important in upholstery. Your furniture’s aesthetic will be made or broken by the fabric you select.


How Can You Tell Quality Upholstery?

High-quality upholstery is best evaluated by checking the inner frame, support foundation, padding, and cushioning materials. Currently, wood is used to construct the inner frames of upholstered furniture. Wood can vary in durability, depending on the type.

Which Upholstery Fabric is Most Durable?

Microfiber and canvas are two of the most durable furniture fabrics. However, strong fibers can also be found in cotton and linen. For fabric to be regarded as durable, cotton and linen must be tightly woven. The likelihood of dirt, dust, and liquid leaking through a tight weave is lower.

Which Material is Long-lasting for the Sofa?

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