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Choosing the right upholstery fabrics.

Choosing the right fabrics isn't just about picking the right colors and patterns, it's important that you choose the fabric type that matches your style and habits. Since fabric shopping can seem so overwhelming, we put this guide together to help you choose the most suitable fabric type for your space. Before we get into the different fibers and types, you should know how to measure the durability of a fabric. The amount that a fabric can withstand is measured in double rubs. Check the ranges below to know the amount you need for each piece of furniture.


For light use: 8,000 -10,000 double rubs.

For medium use: 10,000 - 15,000 double rubs.

For heavy use: 15,000 - 30,000 double rubs.


Now we move on to the different natural and synthetic fibers and the other types of upholstery fabrics. You can either go for a 100% of a certain fiber or you can look for blends of various types.


Natural Fibers.


Cotton.



pros: Cheap, soft, resistant to pile and abrasion, comfortable and durable.

cons: Not fade resistant, stains easily and catches dirt and dust.


Wool.



pros: Very durable, fire and water resistant,doesn't wrinkle or fade, doesn't wrinkle or stain easily.

cons: Smells when wet and expensive.


Leather.



pros: The most durable. Comfortable, easy to clean. Ages well and suitable for high traffic areas.

cons: Somewhat expensive.


Silk.



pros: Expensive, very luxurious and suitable for formal areas, available in a wide variety.

cons: Needs to be professionally cleaned if it got stained.


Linen.



pros: Affordable, soft, comfortable, has good resistance to fading and abrasion, very durable and Eco-friendly.

cons: Wrinkles and stains easily, needs to be professionally cleaned.


Synthetic Fibers.


Polyester.



pros: Retains dyes, easy to clean and maintain. Stain and abrasion resistant. Lasts long and is available in a variety of options.

cons: Can crack and will stretch over time.


Olefin.



pros: Water and stain resistant. easily cleaned. Fade resistant.

cons: Very limited variety, vulnerable to light, heat and oil.


Rayon.



pros: Imitates the look of silk, Cheap, soft, comfortable and is available in a variety of options.

cons: Doesn't last long, scratched easily and loses its' shape in contact with water.


Acrylic.



pros: Soft, easy to clean and dries quickly which makes it suitable for outdoors.

cons: Can melt, not resistant to abrasion and can develop excessive piling.


Nylon.



pros: Rarely used alone, usually blended with other fabrics to make them stronger and more durable.

cons: Not fade resistant and tends to pill.


Fabric types.


Velvet.



pros: Very soft, looks luxurious, comfortable and available in a very wide variety. It's often blended with natural fabrics to improve its longevity.

cons: Difficult to clean and maintain, can be expensive.


Chenille.



pros: Very soft, durable, easily cleaned, comfortable and available in a very wide variety.

cons: Very stretchable and collects dust easily.


Tweed/ Basketweave.



pros: Very durable, hides stains, comfortable and available in a very wide variety.

cons: Not stain resistant, can develop piling.


Faux suede.



pros: Very soft, comfortable, doesn't stain easily and available in a very wide variety.

cons: Not easily cleaned.


Going for a natural or synthetic fiber depends on your preferences and needs. If you prefer the natural option I would recommend linen or leather, if you prefer going for a synthetic blend, choose something with a polyester blend, it will be more durable than others.Don't forget to mix different textures to create more interest in your space. If you still have any questions, drop us a comment below. Happy designing!



*All photo credits go to their owners.

*Cover image by Zoffany.


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