What Are the Types of Upholstery Fabric for Furniture?

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Upholstery is what gives your furniture its comfortable seating and beautiful appearance. But it can be challenging to figure out just what kind of upholstery fabric is right for your own furniture. After all, there are so many different types of upholstery fabric including natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

Each type of upholstery works for different aesthetics, which makes it important to consider the kind you’re choosing for your decor. So how do you know what fabric is right for your furniture? Let’s take a look at the various kinds of upholstery fabric that are out there for you to choose from.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers refer to materials that come from animals or plants such as silk and jute. These fibers are especially durable and eco-friendly because they can be recycled. The most popular types of natural fibers include:

  • Leather: Leather is comfortable and luxurious while adding great value to your home decor. Many people like it because it’s easy to maintain and highly durable, capable of lasting over five years when taken care of. 
  • Cotton: Cotton is a popular upholstery fabric choice because it dyes easily. This makes it versatile for a wide range of color palettes. Cotton is also hypoallergenic, which makes it suitable to most people.  
  • Velvet: Velvet has been making a comeback in recent years, especially with furniture. This soft, fun-textured, and luxurious upholstery fabric has great insulation properties. However, it can be challenging to clean and is best left for more formal furniture. 
  • Wool: Wool blends are great for upholstery because of its insulation properties and its inability to fade or wrinkle. Wool is also easy to maintain because it’s simple to clean and withstands wear and tear.

What Are the Types of Upholstery for Furniture

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers refer to materials that are manufactured. Fabrics such as olefin, nylon, and rayon are engineered to be resistant to fading or staining. Some of the more popular types of synthetic fibers for upholstery include:

  • Faux leather: Faux leather is the synthetic alternative to leather. No animals were harmed in the making of the material. But, like real leather, faux leather is biodegradable, which makes it especially eco-friendly. 
  • Polyester: Polyester is one of the most common upholstery fabrics. This is because polyester is a microfiber that’s soft, comfortable, and dries quickly. What’s more, polyester doesn’t absorb outside odors like cotton does. Unfortunately, polyester can stretch over time and it’s extremely flammable. 
  • Acrylic: Acrylic materials are microfibers used to imitate wool. Like cotton, acrylic comes in a wide variety of colors, which makes it great for different furnishings. It’s easy to maintain, sun-safe, and quick-drying. Because of this, acrylic is commonly used for outdoor furnishings. However, acrylic can sometimes trigger certain allergies and it can melt if given too much exposure to heat.

There are many different types of fabric you can choose from when DIY-ing your own upholstered furniture. Make sure to consider not only the aesthetic you’re going for when choosing your fabric but also maintenance and durability.

About The Author: Shawn Singh is the Marketing Manager for Fabric Wholesale Direct, a fabric provider that specializes in discounted wholesale fabric for designers, event planners, fabric retailers and more.
Photos by Sidekix Media on Unsplash & Maiar Shalaby on Unsplash