Best Upholstery Fabrics

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 28, 2021

White upholstered couch in a living room

Picking the right fabric for your new sofa or couch can be daunting. After all, it’s a choice that could be expensive to replace and it determines the whole style and flow of your room. When choosing fabric there are three things to consider- style, color, and durability. Our guide takes all three into account and can help you find the best upholstery fabric for you.

On This Page:

  1. Best Upholstery Fabric for Couches
  2. Best Upholstery Fabric for Dining Room Chairs
  3. General Upholstery Terms
  4. Cleaning and Repair

Best Fabric for Couches

Whichever design you choose, the best fabric for couches will be heavy-weight, tight-weave linen. It gives you a good balance between durability, feel and price. The heavier weight and tight weave mean your fabric will be more durable and can withstand heavy use.

Another great option is cotton, which is similar to linen in feel, but cheaper. Both materials will fade over time and are not completely stain resistant, so make sure to keep them clean.

For outdoor patios, which will typically have to withstand more sun or rain, the best fabric for sofas and couches will be microfiber. This material can easily be treated so it withstands the elements, is easy to clean and is usually stain-resistant. All important when dealing with people hanging out, eating and drinking on your patio or backyard.

Before deciding on a fabric for your couch or sofa, it is important to consider your interior design. Even though going with a bold pattern or color might seem like a good idea at the time, it could make it harder for you later, especially if you have to move or have to redesign. That is why most professionals recommend neutral colors and designs.

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Best Upholstery for Dining Room Chairs

For the best upholstery for dining room chairs, consider distressed leather. It is easy to clean, will not show stains and fades as much, and can give you a touch of ‘rebel’ attitude. It is also one of the best fabrics if you have kids.

If leather is not your thing, the best upholstery fabric might be a linen-blend. This fabric will give you all the benefits of linen (and again, go for heavier weights) while being a little easier to clean due to the fabric mixture. However, for most deep stains, you will still need to find a professional furniture cleaner near you.

Your dining room chairs are going to see less action than your couch or sofa, which means you can look for softer fabrics and take more chances with designs and colors. You do, however, want to avoid material that will easily stain or tear like silk or wool.

General Upholstery Terms

Upholstery generally refers to the layers of material that create that classic, plush cover for your sofa, couch or chairs. These layers usually include fabric, padding, springs and foam. When buying new furniture or reupholstering, make sure all of these are of high quality, as it will ensure your furniture lasts longer.

Today, most upholstery will go through a double-rub test by the manufacturer. Look for material that scores highly on that test, which mimics the effects of sitting and rubbing the upholstery over time. Feel free to ask about the materials and the double-rub test while in the showroom or talking to your local upholstery repair person, as these are important things to consider before committing and buying.

Cleaning and Repair

Having upholstered furniture is a great, stylish choice. However, over the many years of joy, you will get out of your couch, sofa or chairs, some accidents are bound to happen. Whether it’s spills or fading, you will eventually need to clean or repair your furniture. Unfortunately, most materials are hard to clean on your own. We highly recommended finding a trusted cleaning service, and we can help you hire a professional upholstery cleaning service.

If you’ve had your furniture for a while, or perhaps you are buying vintage furniture, consider a professional to reupholster your furniture. It’s a great way to give it a new life. Here’s a guide to help you calculate furniture reupholstery costs. If it’s within your budget, consider a local reupholster repair person.

With this information in hand, you are now ready to find pieces that will last a lifetime. All that’s left is to choose your color and design to really make it your own.

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