8 Common Fabrics Used for Upholstered Furniture

 Fabrics used for modern furniture upholstery are usually thicker than classic, vintage fabrics. A thicker fabric is commonly used on sofas, chairs and other living room furniture due to its durability and ability to withstand wear and tear. But is thickness the only major consideration when selecting a high quality fabric for your upholstered furniture? Make confident buying decisions by learning how to choose the right fabric by considering thickness, durability, texture, pattern and color.

 About Fiber Content

You probably heard about certain fabrics that are woven of a blend of various fibers. Just to make things clear, the suggested percentage of different fibers does not necessarily determine the fabric’s durability. Take note that the surface yarns get the greatest abrasion so it means although this fabric contains a high quality and high performance fiber but if this fiber was not found at the surface, well you still cannot maximize the fabric’s wear and tear ability. 


Natural Fabrics

Cotton– It is a vegetable fiber and probably the oldest. It blends well with other fibers and has fair resistance to sunlight and wear and tear. Cotton is soft and dyes well so the fabric exhibits various colors, patterns and prints. However, cotton is very absorbent so it is prone to molds and mildew. Make sure to keep it out of moist areas like basements. It also absorbs stains easily so take precautions when drinking or eating on/near cotton upholstery.

Linen– It is an elegant and comfortable fiber with tensile strength, in fact linen’s fibers are twice stronger than cotton. But linen does not take dyes well therefore it is used generally in its natural color. It tolerates heat better than cotton and is highly durable.

Leather - It is a natural upholstery material that signifies comfort and luxury. Leather is a durable fabric, easy to clean and maintain using a leather cleaner and conditioner. Moreover, it can complement other décor within your home. Leather upholstered furniture exudes a warm, inviting and elegant ambiance. 

Wool - It is a resilient upholstery fabric that is usually used on sofas. It absorbs dye well. Wool is often blended with other fibers to get the best properties of each fiber. Just make sure to apply a solvent base stain repellent after purchasing the wool upholstered furniture and after cleaning it to maintain its optimum level of stain resistance.

Silk - It is an elegant fabric which is often used to upholster high-end living room and dining room furniture such as sofas, loveseats, and chairs. It is the strongest natural fiber and considered by many as the “queen of fabrics”.

Synthetic Fabrics

Nylon – It is the strongest synthetic fabric widely used for furniture upholstery. It offers optimal resistance to soil and abrasion. Nylon is easy to clean and provides cool, airy and soft texture.

Acrylic – It is warm, light-weight fabric with a soft and wooly texture. Acrylic has high color retention so acrylic upholstered furniture pieces exhibit rich and vibrant colors. Acrylic is often used to create sophisticated, velvet looks. Many consumers consider it as a “cheap” fabric since Acrylic upholstery has a much lower price than other fabrics used for furniture upholstery.

Polyester – It is used extensively in home furnishings due to its advantageous properties such as wrinkle resistance, durability and takes dye very well. It is used to produce a fabric with blended properties by spinning it together with natural fibers. Polyester upholstered furniture is easy to clean and maintain.