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How to Choose Upholstery Fabric

With so many choices of colour, texture and material, choosing upholstery fabrics can seem like a daunting feat. Whether you’re seeking domestic upholstery for an old sofa or investing in new chairs for a commercial property, you’ll want to make sure that you make the best choice for your taste and needs. 

You might feel overwhelmed with so many options out there, but once you have all the info, you should be able to select the perfect fabric for you.


There are many different types of upholstery material. Natural upholstery fabric refers to anything that is woven from materials that are found in nature, such as cotton, cotton blend or linen. 

Vinyl and leather are also natural fabrics, with leather usually being the more sturdy choice, and both being easy to clean with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner. 

Synthetic fabrics are fabrics made using man-made fibres, such as nylon, polyester and acetate. Although synthetic fibres are usually cheaper than their natural counterparts, they’re generally considered to be more durable, with some fabrics heavily resistant to wear.


The colour of your upholstery fabric will make a strong impact in your chosen space. Before we talk about which hue would work best, you might want to consider whether or not you want an understated piece of furniture or a statement piece. This would help you narrow your options down. If your personal style includes a lot of bright, flamboyant pieces, then it might be a good option to choose upholstery that’s bright and bold. 

On the other hand, if you’d have a simpler sense of style, then you might want to consider a neutral palette. Once you choose whether you want a neutral or more impactful fabric, you can begin to think about whether or not to go with a light or dark colour, and whether or not your chosen colour complements the rest of your décor.


When choosing upholstery, you might want to consider the durability of the fabric. This is especially true if you’re looking for upholstery for a commercial property. Commercial or contract upholstery is upholstery that’s specifically designed for commercial use, usually manufactured with added strengthening features so it can withstand public environments for a long period of time. 
Even heavily trafficked domestic furniture, such as a family sofa, might benefit from more durable fabrics. In this case, remember to look for fabric that’s tightly woven, with a high thread count.


As much as you try to take good care of it, your upholstered fabric is bound to suffer from spills and stains in the future. Determining your choice of upholstery fabric will impact how easily these stains can be taken care of, as different fabrics will require different care. 

Upholstery made with 100% natural fibres, such as silk and cotton, will usually need to be steam cleaned, as too much moisture will cause shrinkage. Synthetic fibres are easier to clean, because they stand water-based cleaning well and can even be cleaned with a water-based cleaning product. 

Other Considerations

There are also some other things to consider when choosing an upholstery fabric, and these are all to do with environment. If your upholstered fabric will stay in a sunny room, or a room that gets a lot of damp, it might be a good idea to choose mildew or fade resistant fabric. 

Does anyone in your household suffer from allergies? If this is the case, you’ll need to choose a fabric that is lint-free or doesn’t attract too much dust. 

Foam Cut to Size

Be sure to have a look at our new Foam Cut to Size service page.

Contact us today and let us help you decide on the upholstery fabric that’s right for you.


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