Types of Upholstery Fabric: The Ultimate Guide

There are several types of upholstery fabric, including velvet, leather, linen, and cotton. Each fabric has unique characteristics and is suitable for different uses.

Fabric choice can impact the overall look and feel of a piece of furniture, so it’s important to consider factors such as durability, comfort, and style. Velvet fabric is luxurious and adds a touch of elegance, while leather is durable and easy to clean.

Linen provides a natural and breathable option, and cotton offers a soft and versatile choice. Understanding the characteristics of each type of fabric can help you make the best choice for your furniture upholstery needs.

Natural Fibers

Discover the versatility of natural fibers as upholstery fabric. From durable jute to luxurious silk, these materials offer unique textures and eco-friendly appeal. Upgrade your furniture with the timeless charm of natural fibers for a sustainable and stylish interior.


Cotton is a common natural fiber known for its softness and breathability. It is versatile, easy to clean, and suitable for various upholstery styles.


Linen is a luxurious natural fiber that offers a crisp and elegant look. It is strong, durable, and resists pilling and fading, making it an excellent choice for upholstery.


Wool is a warm and cozy natural fiber with excellent durability and resilience. It is naturally stain-resistant and flame-retardant, making it ideal for upholstery fabrics.

Types of Upholstery Fabric: The Ultimate Guide

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Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers are a popular choice for upholstery fabric, offering durability and affordability. Nylon, polyester, and olefin are common types, each with unique features like moisture resistance and easy maintenance. These versatile options provide a wide range of colors and textures to suit any design aesthetic.


In the world of upholstery fabric, polyester is a popular synthetic fiber known for its durability and resilience. It is made from a combination of synthetic polymers, creating a fabric that is strong, wrinkle-resistant, and easy to clean. Polyester upholstery fabric is highly resistant to fading, making it ideal for furniture that is exposed to sunlight.


Another widely used synthetic fiber in upholstery fabric is nylon. Nylon is known for its exceptional strength and abrasion resistance, making it perfect for furniture that experiences heavy use. It is also highly resilient, meaning it can easily bounce back to its original shape after being stretched or compressed. Nylon upholstery fabric is suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture, as it is resistant to mildew and mold.


Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that closely resembles the look and feel of natural fibers like wool. It is known for its softness and warmth, making it a popular choice for upholstery fabric. Acrylic upholstery fabric is resistant to stains, fading, and mildew, making it a low-maintenance option for furniture. Additionally, acrylic has excellent color retention, ensuring that your furniture will look vibrant and appealing for years to come.

Blended Fabrics

Blended fabrics are upholstery fabrics created by combining two or more different types of fibers. These fabrics offer a combination of qualities from each individual fiber, providing a unique and versatile option for upholstery projects. In this section, we will explore two popular types of blended fabrics: poly-cotton and cotton-linen blend.


Poly-cotton blends are a common choice for upholstery fabric due to their durability and affordability. As the name suggests, these fabrics are made by blending polyester fibers with cotton fibers in varying ratios. The combination of polyester and cotton results in a fabric that is strong and resistant to wrinkling, while also maintaining the softness and breathability of cotton.

One of the key advantages of poly-cotton blends is their ease of care. These fabrics are often machine-washable and can withstand regular use without losing their shape or color. Additionally, poly-cotton blends are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, making them a versatile choice for any interior design style.

Cotton-linen Blend

A cotton-linen blend is another popular choice for upholstery fabric. This blend combines the natural fibers of cotton and linen to create a fabric that is both durable and breathable. The cotton fibers provide softness and comfort, while the linen fibers add strength and texture to the fabric.

Cotton-linen blends are known for their ability to absorb and release moisture, making them ideal for environments with fluctuating humidity levels. This feature helps to prevent the fabric from feeling sticky or clammy, offering a comfortable seating experience even in warm weather.

Tips For Choosing Blended Fabrics

1. Consider the purpose: When selecting a blended fabric for upholstery, consider the specific purpose of the furniture piece. Choose a fabric that aligns with the level of durability and comfort needed for the intended use.

2. Evaluate the fiber ratio: Pay attention to the ratio of fibers in the blend. This ratio can determine the characteristics of the fabric, such as its strength, wrinkle-resistance, and breathability.

3. Examine the care instructions: Check the care instructions for the blended fabric. Ensure that the maintenance requirements align with your preferences and lifestyle.

4. Seek professional advice: If you are unsure about which blended fabric to choose, consult with a professional upholstery expert. They can guide you in selecting a fabric that meets your specific needs and preferences.

Types of Upholstery Fabric: The Ultimate Guide

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Durability And Maintenance

When considering upholstery fabric, durability and maintenance are crucial factors. Understanding the abrasion resistance, cleaning, and care tips specific to different types of fabric can help you make an informed decision.

Abrasion Resistance

  • Fabric with high abrasion resistance lasts longer
  • Consider the Martindale rub count for durability

Cleaning And Care Tips

  1. Vacuum upholstery regularly to remove dust and debris
  2. Blot spills immediately with a clean cloth
  3. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning

Specialty Upholstery Fabrics

Specialty upholstery fabrics offer a unique blend of style, durability, and functionality, making them a popular choice for furniture and interior design. Whether you’re looking for luxurious leather, resilient vinyl, or performance fabric like Sunbrella, these specialty upholstery fabrics provide versatile options for a wide range of uses.


Leather upholstery fabric exudes timeless elegance and sophistication. The natural texture and rich color of leather add a luxurious touch to any furniture piece. Additionally, leather is highly durable and easy to clean, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas.


Vinyl upholstery fabric is a versatile and affordable alternative to leather. It offers a wide range of colors and textures, providing a durable and easy-to-clean option for upholstery. Vinyl is also resistant to moisture, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to spills and stains.


Sunbrella upholstery fabric is known for its exceptional performance in both indoor and outdoor settings. With its fade-resistant, mold-resistant, and easy-to-clean properties, Sunbrella fabric is perfect for furniture exposed to sunlight and weather elements. This makes it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture upholstery.

Types of Upholstery Fabric: The Ultimate Guide

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Decor Styles And Fabric Selection

In the world of interior decor, the selection of upholstery fabric plays a pivotal role in defining the overall aesthetic appeal of a space. Understanding the correlation between decor styles and fabric selection is essential for creating a cohesive and visually appealing interior. Whether you prefer a traditional, timeless look or a sleek, contemporary design, the choice of upholstery fabric can significantly impact the ambiance of a room.

Traditional Upholstery Fabrics

Traditional decor styles often embrace rich, luxurious fabrics that exude elegance and timeless charm. Fabrics such as velvet, brocade, and damask are popular choices for traditional upholstery. These fabrics typically feature intricate patterns, ornate details, and a plush texture, creating a sense of opulence within the space.

Contemporary And Modern Fabrics

For those drawn to a more contemporary or modern aesthetic, upholstery fabrics with clean lines, minimalistic textures, and bold colors are favored. Microfiber, linen, and leather are commonly used in modern decor, offering a sleek and sophisticated appeal. These fabrics emphasize simplicity and functionality, aligning with the clean, uncluttered look of contemporary design.

Choosing The Right Fabric For Your Decor Style

When selecting upholstery fabric, it’s crucial to consider how it complements your decor style. For traditional interiors, opt for rich, luxurious fabrics that enhance the sophisticated ambiance. In contrast, contemporary spaces benefit from fabrics that embody sleek, minimalist aesthetics. By aligning the fabric choice with your decor style, you can achieve a harmonious and visually compelling interior.

Budget Considerations

When it comes to selecting upholstery fabric, budget considerations play a crucial role. Finding the right balance between quality and price is essential. Here are some important factors to consider when looking for budget-friendly upholstery fabric options.

Cost-effective Options

Not all upholstery fabrics have to break the bank. There are several cost-effective options available that provide both style and durability. Here are a few budget-friendly options to consider:

  • Microfiber: Microfiber is a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers. It is a synthetic fabric that is known for its softness, durability, and ability to resist stains. With its wide range of colors and patterns, microfiber can mimic the look of more expensive fabrics without the hefty price tag.
  • Polyester: Polyester upholstery fabric is another affordable option. It is highly resistant to abrasion and fading, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas. Polyester also comes in a variety of colors and textures, allowing you to find a cost-effective option that suits your style.
  • Cotton Blends: Cotton blends combine the natural softness of cotton with the added durability of synthetic materials. This combination makes them an affordable and versatile choice for upholstery fabric. Cotton blends are available in a wide range of patterns, colors, and textures, making it easy to find a budget-friendly option that matches your aesthetic.

Long-term Value

While it’s important to consider your budget, it’s also essential to think about the long-term value of the upholstery fabric. Investing in higher-quality materials can save you money in the long run, as they tend to be more durable and require less frequent replacement. Here are a few upholstery fabric options that offer long-term value:

  • Leather: Although leather may seem expensive upfront, it is known for its longevity. Leather upholstery can last for years with proper care and maintenance, making it a valuable investment. It is resistant to stains and scratches and develops a unique patina over time, enhancing its visual appeal.
  • Wool: Wool upholstery fabric is naturally resistant to wrinkles, pilling, and fading. Its inherent durability makes it a long-lasting option for furniture upholstery. Additionally, wool is easy to clean and has excellent flame resistance properties, providing added peace of mind.
  • Industrial-Grade Fabrics: Industrial-grade fabrics, such as those used in commercial settings, are designed to withstand heavy use and provide exceptional durability. While they may be more expensive upfront, their longevity can make them a cost-effective option in the long term.

By considering both cost-effective options and long-term value, you can find upholstery fabric that fits your budget without compromising on quality or style.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Types Of Upholstery Fabric

What Kind Of Fabric Is Best For Upholstery?

The best fabric for upholstery is typically durable, such as leather, wool, or synthetic microfiber. These materials offer longevity and easy maintenance, making them ideal for furniture that will endure regular use. Consider factors such as comfort, style, and durability when choosing the right fabric for your upholstery needs.

What Are The Different Grades Of Upholstery Fabric?

Upholstery fabric comes in different grades such as light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. These grades are based on durability and suitable usage for various furniture types.

How Many Types Of Upholstery Fabric Are There?

There are several types of upholstery fabric available, including cotton, linen, polyester, velvet, and leather. Each type has its own unique characteristics and benefits, making it suitable for different preferences and purposes.

What Is The Longest Lasting Upholstery Fabric?

The longest lasting upholstery fabric is typically made from materials like leather, nylon, polyester, or microfiber. These fabrics are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear.

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In considering the variety of upholstery fabrics available, it’s important to choose wisely based on your needs. Each type offers unique characteristics that impact both style and durability of your furniture. By understanding these options, you can make an informed decision that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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