10 Types of Fabrics for Upholstery with their Pros and Cons

Upholstery is putting padding, springs, webbings, fabric or leather on furniture, mainly for seats or chairs or such furniture. Upholstery work includes putting some fabric covering on top of the furniture. There are different types of fabrics available in the market for the upholstery purposes of different types of furniture. The most important thing used in the reupholstering process is the fabric and it is very important to choose the fabric wisely. Most people get confused in choosing the fabric for getting their furniture reupholstered. No one wants to change the upholstery fabric just after redoing it; so it is better to know about the fabrics and choose the best one before purchasing and getting the furniture reupholstered.

In this article, we will discuss the 10 different types of fabrics that are used in upholstery along with their pros and cons.

Popular Fabrics used for Upholstery:

  1. Leather
  2. Polyester
  3. Olefin
  4. Rayon
  5. Wool
  6. Acetate
  7. Cotton
  8. Silk
  9. Acrylic
  10. Linen

Features of Different Types of Upholstery Fabrics

1. Leather

Leather Fabric Upholstery

Leather is one of the natural fabrics that is used for upholstery. It is a very comfortable fabric. The leather upholstery looks amazing in your house. Leather is the best choice for houses with pets and children. Leather provides you more comfort over time. Cleaning leather upholstery is not too hard.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to clean leather upholstery.
  • It hides scratches, making it suitable for places with slightly rash usage.
  • It ages well, giving you more comfort over time.

Cons:

  • Leather is somewhat expensive.

2. Polyester

Polyester Fabric Upholstery

Polyester or microfiber is one of the synthetic fibers that are used commonly for upholstery purposes. Polyester is very soft and comfortable. Cleaning the polyester upholstery is very easy. Polyester fabric is commonly used in blends with other synthetic or natural fabrics. Blending polyester with other fabrics increases the durability of the fabric. Mostly the dark colors are used as the stains do not appear as much as in the lighter colors. Polyester upholstery is easily cleanable.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to clean and maintaining the fiber does not take up much effort.
  • It is long lasting if well maintained.
  • You can choose from a variety of appearances for your upholstery.

Cons:

  • The lighter colors of polyester are subjected to get stains more often than the darker colors.
  • The combination of polyester with wool exaggerates and increases the pilling problem in the fabric and is not recommended.

3. Olefin

Olefin Fabric Upholstery

Olefin is another synthetic fiber that is used for upholstery. Olefin is petroleum based synthetic fiber. It looks like wool. It is extremely durable. It does not have any sort of major weaknesses. It is suitable for furniture receiving heavy wear. Using olefin is a good option for lasting upholstery on your furniture.

Pros:

  • Olefin is made using melted, plastic pellets which makes it resistant to wet conditions.
  • It is highly durable.

Cons:

  • It is vulnerable to heat, light, and oil.
  • The available variety is very limited for this fabric, making it a little less desired for the indoor usage and upholstery.

4. Rayon

Rayon Fabric Upholstery

Rayon is a made using wood chip fibers. It is very cheap and used in blends with other fibers. Rayon is durable. It was made as a copy of silk, cotton, and linen. It is relaxing and resistant against mildew and moths but it doesn’t do so well against the wrinkles. It gets scratches pretty easily. It can be highly flammable if not treated. A much more practical brand of rayon has been created recently and can be used for upholstery. New and improved brands of rayon are a good choice for upholstery.

Pros:

  • Rayon is very cheap because it is made up of wood chip fibers.
  • It is durable.
  • It is comfortable and tough against moths and mildew.

Cons:

  • It gets wrinkles easily.
  • It gets scratches easily.

5. Wool

Wool-Fabric-Upholstery

Wool is a natural fabric. Wool reacts well to treatment and dying. Wool is more expensive than some of the other fabrics used in upholstery but it has a huge variety to choose from. Wool can be blended with other synthetic fiber as well. Blends of wool are more durable and easier to clean. Wool blends are resistant to pilling, wrinkling, soiling, and fading.

Pros:

  • Wool blends are comfortable.
  • Wool is fire resistant and does not need any chemical treatment.
  • It is environment-friendly.

Cons:

  • Wool is more expensive than some of the other fabrics but it is durable and long-lasting.

6. Acetate

Acetate Fabric Upholstery

Acetate is a synthetic fiber made as an imitation of silk. It resists pilling, mildew and shrinking problems but does not resist soil as much. It is reasonably fragile for a synthetic fiber. It is not a good choice for the furniture that will go through tough everyday use. It is a good choice for blends and is cheap.

Pros:

  • Acetate is resistant to humidity and wrinkling.
  • It is a cheaper replacement for silk.

Cons:

  • It might get stains and scratches easily.
  • It is not a good choice for everyday usage.

7. Cotton

Cotton Fabric Upholstery

Cotton is a natural fiber and is commonly used for upholstery. It is resistant to fading and wearing problems. Cotton is also used in blends with synthetic fibers, adding texture and durability but these blends are somewhat less resistant to wrinkling and soiling. Pure cotton is a better choice for upholstery. Cotton is very comfortable on the furniture.

Pros:

  • Cotton reacts well to die, resulting in a huge variety available in the market.
  • It is durable and good for daily use.

Cons:

  • It might get wrinkles easily.

8. Silk

Silk Fabric Upholstery

Silk is a natural fiber that is a good choice for formal and adult areas. It is luxurious and delicate. Silk is an expensive option for your upholstery fabric but it is worth every single penny. It is receptive to fading and spills. There is a wide variety of colors and patterns available in the market. Silk retains its shape pretty well.

Pros:

  • Silk can last longer if taken care of properly.
  • It has a formal and luxurious look.
  • There is a wide variety of patterns, colors, and weights available.

Cons:

  • It is expensive.
  • Silk does not react well to areas with pets, children and direct sunlight.
  • It requires dry cleaning.

9. Acrylic

Arcylic Fabric Upholstery

Acrylic is a synthetic fiber. It is also used in blends. It is inexpensive and imitates wool. It is easy to clean and resists stains, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Cheaper and lower quality acrylic wears and pills easily. It is often blended with natural fabrics to achieve more durability.

Pros:

  • It is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture.
  • It resists most of the problem in upholstery fabrics.

Cons:

  • It is harder to clean.
  • It may contain chemicals and is flammable.

10. Linen

Linen Fabric Upholstery

Linen is a popular natural fiber used for upholstery. It is mostly used in blends with other natural fibers to make it more resistant to wrinkling. Linen upholstery needs to be kept informal and adult areas as it might get wrinkles and scratches otherwise. Linen upholstery needs to be cleaned by professionals in order to avoid shrinkage.

Pros:

  • Linen upholstery looks beautiful.
  • It is affordable.
  • It is fairly resistant to fading and pilling.

Cons:

  • The fabric gets wrinkles and soils easily.
  • It doesn’t do so well in everyday use and heavy wear.
  • It doesn’t do so well in humidity.
  • It requires professional cleaning and maintenance.

These fabrics are mostly used for upholstery. You can compare each fabric with the other and choose the one for your furniture according to your specific needs. The pros and cons help you choose the fabric that will last longer and serve your purposes in daily life.

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