Guide On How To Figure Out The Upholstery Fabric | DesignCafe

Everything You Need To Know About Upholstery Fabric For Home Interiors

Upholstery fabric for home interiors

Want to know all about upholstery? Keep our guide handy to make informed decisions about choosing the best upholstery fabric for your home.

Are you wondering what upholstery is? To begin with, upholstery is collectively defined as the materials which make up the soft coverings of armchairs, ottomans, etc. You can rejuvenate an entirely well-worn room in your house by just replacing the upholstery rather than the furniture piece itself, that too at a comparatively cheaper price.  

No matter what home design project you’re undertaking, knowing about the various types of upholstery fabrics, how to clean specific upholstery and factors to keep in mind while purchasing it helps you ensure that you’re making the best use of your home space. We answer all this and more in our complete upholstery guide. 

What Are The Various Upholstery Fabric Types?

Upholstery fabrics are segregated into two broad categories — natural upholstery fabric and synthetic upholstery fabric.

Natural upholstery fabric: It is woven from organic materials like plant fibres and animal-derived products. It is more expensive and reasonably durable, compared to synthetic upholstery fabric. Some examples of this type of upholstery fabric include cotton blend, pure cotton, silk, linen, leather and wool.

Synthetic upholstery fabric: It is machine-manufactured and developed using certain chemical processes. They are less expensive and comparatively more durable than natural upholstery fabric. Some examples of this type of upholstery fabric are acrylic, acetate, nylon, rayon, polyester and velvet.

Upholstery fabric types - natural and synthetic upholstery fabric
An armchair with floral-patterned upholstery fabric
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Which Is The Best Upholstery Fabric For The Furniture In Your Home? 

Not all upholstery fabric is made equal so you must not make the mistake of choosing the cost of the fabric over its quality. There are multiple factors that you need to consider while purchasing the best upholstery fabric for your furniture including chairs and sofa set.

The location of the furniture and its frequency of use: Sofas and chairs in the living room receive moderate to high amounts of wear so you can use a more durable and tightly-woven upholstery fabric (microfiber or leather) for the furniture in this room. On the other hand, bedrooms receive less amount of wear so you can use a comparatively less durable fabric. In short, the durability of the fabric is directly proportional to the amount of wear and tear the furniture piece is exposed to.

The environmental conditions the furniture piece is exposed to: If you have certain allergies then use microfiber fabric and if you have pets then avoid using silk and go for synthetic fabrics. Also, use fabric upholstery that is mildew-resistant in humid climates and fade-resistant in hot and sunny climates.

The type of upholstery fabric patterns available in the market: Go for digital prints if you want to give your existing home decor a refreshing and new feel. Traditional patterns ooze an old-world charm to the space while geometric patterns lend a modern vibe to it. Bright florals lend a tropical look while wovens and tweeds exude a formal look. 

Best upholstery fabric for furniture in your home
A brown faux leather armchair in the library room

Dos And Don’ts When Choosing Upholstery Fabric For Your Home

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re out shopping for upholstery fabric for your home.

The thread count and the amount of fabric needed on the furniture: Use the right kind of fabric in the right amount to ensure that your furniture piece turns out well. For this, always consult a tailor beforehand. Be aware of the thread count while purchasing the fabric. The higher the thread count, the more tightly woven/denser the fabric will be, hence making it more durable.  

The scale of the pattern on the fabric: The scale of the pattern on the upholstery fabric should be appropriate to the room size as well as the size of the furniture it is covering. A large and bold pattern works better in a larger room and vice versa. 

upholstery fabric dos and don’ts while choosing upholstery
Choose upholstery fabric that is easy to clean

Matching The Room’s Interiors With The Upholstery Fabric

When you’re choosing upholstery fabric, you have to make your decision while considering the entire room’s look and aesthetic. Take note of these factors when you’re picking upholstery fabric for your home.

The furniture style and the existing design aesthetic of the interior decor: The upholstery fabric should blend with the character and style of the furniture piece it is covering, and also echo the mood of the decor in that room. Some fabrics give a more casual look while some give a more formal look so choose wisely. Here’s how you can plan the upholstery for your home.

The colour of the fabric: Use light-coloured fabric for a smaller room to make it look visually big and use bold-coloured fabric in a larger room. Avoid using trendy colours and stick to a neutral colour choice that will tend to satisfy the mood of the room for a longer time and keep you happy as well. If you have children and pets, don’t use delicately-coloured upholstery fabric.

Choose upholstery fabric that should match the room’s interiors
Light grey-coloured upholstered fabric chairs

How To Clean Furniture Upholstery? 

Cotton and cotton blend upholstery fabric will need surface treatments every 3 to 6 months. It is also recommended to use a fabric and upholstery protector for everyday use. For leather upholstery fabric, gentle vacuuming should be enough. If needed, you can give it a few rounds of damp wiping. Clean with saddle soap or leather conditioner. Linen and silk upholstery fabrics require professional cleaning as the linen can soil and wrinkle very easily. Wool needs spot cleaning for smaller and lighter stains but requires professional cleaning for bigger and darker stains. Check out more tips on how to clean furniture upholstery here. 

How to clean furniture upholstery sofa set
An upholstered sofa set with a luxurious look

All in all, the type of fabric that you choose for your furniture upholstery ultimately depends upon your needs, preferences and lifestyle. If you’re looking for some help in picking up the best upholstery fabric for your living space then do reach out to the interior design experts team at DesignCafe and we’ll be glad to lend you some useful advice.

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Pooja Dara is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Pooja Dara

Pooja Dara is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of experience and has worked for several reputed companies in multiple niches. Having made a switch from quantitative research (of leading FMCG and durable brands) to secondary research, she is now an independent content specialist who believes in creating value for her clients through her work. She is also passionate about photography, spirituality, dogs, and traveling.

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