Upholstery is the materials like fabric, padding, webbing, and springs that make up the soft coverings for furniture. The word upholstery comes from the English word upholder, which refers to an artisan who upholds or maintains. The person who works with upholstery is called an upholsterer. Traditionally fabrics like springs, animal hair, coir, straw and hay, linen scrims, wadding were used but today popular fabrics like Dacron, vinyl, serpentine springs are being used.
Types of Upholstery Fabric for Home Furniture
In today’s market, a wide range of fabrics is available to choose from. Here is a list of furniture fabric types with the pros and cons of each so that you are able to make the correct choice.
Leather is the most commonly used upholstery fabric to provide a comfortable, luxurious, grand look to any upholstered fabric furniture.
- Easy to maintain.
- Durable material.
- Leather does not absorb spilled materials; therefore, it does not smell bad.
- It is well-suited to heavy use while maintaining its style and elegance.
- Leather is harder as compared to other fabrics.
- It has tanned skin and can get damaged easily with sharp objects.
- It is quite expensive.
Polyester is a microfibre which is available in many colors. Polyester upholstery looks attractive and gives an expensive and royal feel.
- Polyester is a very soft and comfortable fabric.
- It is extremely easy to clean.
- The fabric dries very quickly in case of spills or washing.
- It is stain and abrasion-resistant.
- The fabric can crack if it is exposed to extreme or fluctuating temperatures.
- It is a tensile fabric, due to which it will stretch over time.
- The material is flammable.
Wool is a natural fabric that is soft, warm and comfortable upholstery material.
- Wool is fire, water and mildew resistant.
- It is environmental-friendly.
- It has insulating properties that make it warm in cold weather and cool when the weather is hot.
- Wool is durable and does not fade and wrinkle.
- The only disadvantage is wool is an expensive fabric.
Cotton is the most common popular upholstery fabric. It is a natural fiber that can be dyed very easily.
- Cotton is a soft, comfortable and durable fabric.
- It is breathable.
- It resists pilling and is resistant to abrasion.
- Cotton wrinkles easily.
- Cotton is easy to dye in a wide range of colors.
- It can stink over time.
Silk is the most luxurious and expensive natural filers. It is famous for unmatched shine and softness.
- Silk can last a very long time with proper care.
- It has a luxurious and formal look and can retain its shape well.
- It is available in a huge variety of colors, patterns, and designs.
- Silk is an expensive and delicate fabric.
- It is susceptible to damage by the sun.
- It is receptive to spills and fading.
Things you need to consider before buying
The following points should be kept in mind before buying the best upholstery material.
- The shape of the furniture
Take the size of the furniture into account as the fabrics for larger pieces, such as a sofa should be different from smaller pieces such as statement chairs. A pattern that looks great on large furniture may not look great once it is chopped up and put back together on smaller pieces. The colors, textures, and patterns of the fabric should suit the furniture.
The best and easiest way to be sure you’ll like an upholstery material on a certain frame is to visit the store and check how it feels when you sit on it. If you fall in love with a fabric then it is advisable to drape the fabric over a furnishing to get a better idea of how it will look.
- Colour, Pattern, and Texture
These are the key factors to consider before buying any fabric. The fabrics mentioned in the previous section will help in making a better decision.
- Think out of Box
If you are a creative and imaginative person, you can consider unconventional materials such as vintage blankets or rugs on traditional furniture to create a new class. Contrasts always work well – a traditional wingback armchair can look stunning re-covered in a geometric fabric.
Even though fabric can always be changed, the upholstery fabric for a new sofa or armchair is a big investment and correct decisions should be taken with proper research. Reupholstering a piece of furniture is not something you do regularly as it is an expensive task. Always buy a fabric that is durable and has high abrasion rates and at the same time fits your budget.