How to Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric?

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How to Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric?

It goes without saying that the choice of the right upholstery fabric has a major impact on both the look and the practicality of your living room. The texture you decide to go with will give your home some character. While its properties might come to determine the comfort that your furniture provides. Aside from that, different types of upholstery fabric require different amounts and types of maintenance, which can sometimes be reason enough to make a particular choice. All in all, there are several factors you need to consider when choosing the right upholstery fabric.

Here are a few points to consider on how to choose the right upholstery fabric for your living room.

1. Style and colour

Sheep skin rug

The first two issues that most people address when choosing upholstery fabric for their home are style and colour. These two require the least amount of previous research. But they do require you to have a detailed plan of what your future home is going to look like. Those who aim to create a theme in their living room (rustic, vintage, Scandinavian minimalism, contemporary) need to look for the style to match. Some materials and patterns are simply more formal or old-fashioned than others, which is something you could turn to your advantage.

As for the colour, while the choice may seem quite obvious at the moment, keep in mind that you are more likely to change the paint, the coffee table and the light fixture in the next five years than your couch or sofa. This is why it might be best to plan for the future and avoid bold colours except in some extreme cases.

2. Maintenance-friendly upholstery

person weaving a rug manually

People with children or pets are usually in a great dilemma when choosing the right fabric type. On the one hand, their first choice might go well with the rest of their living room, but then again, this might not be that good of an idea due to their present situation. Of course, you could introduce strict rules about playing on the sofa, but this is A) too harsh and B) not 100% efficient. Moreover, while you are not going to spill things intentionally on the sofa, you always need to keep in mind that such a thing is bound to happen sooner or later. The safest three choices here are suede, vinyl or even going with outdoor fabric for your indoor furniture.

3. Durability

Display of durable, multi colour fabrics

Another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the overall durability of this particular fabric. This is especially important for those furniture pieces that are expected to be used quite often like living room sofas, chairs and armchairs (these get used on a daily basis and are, therefore, more prone to all types of damage). Once the fabric starts thinning or begins ripping, you will either be forced to replace it or to try and conceal it. The first option is incredibly expensive, while the latter is awfully inconvenient and may fail you at the worst possible moment (for instance, during an important visit).

As for the choice of fabric, it all depends on whether or not you have pets. Microfiber is extra resistant to wear and tear caused by claws, which makes it an obvious first choice. Aside from this, keep in mind that the pattern of fabric plays as important a role as the material itself. Here, you should always go with woven patterns, with as tight a weave as possible. The denser it is, the better.

4. An allergy-free upholstery

Profile photo of a master bedroom in white linen and wooden furniture

What a lot of people don’t know is that some types of fabric may contain certain allergens. The main symptom of this is usually dermatitis, which is a hive-like rash appearing on a section of your skin. The reason behind this is the fact that some fabrics get treated with formaldehyde resins during their production process. Even though cotton isn’t supposed to cause any allergic reactions on its own, this material is commonly treated with chemicals. When you are looking for cotton prints upholstery, it is vital that you find reliable retailers. Seeing as how in this industry, different brands can have a serious impact on your long-term health.


After you read through all the points above, you might get the impression that choosing the right upholstery for your furniture may be a tad more difficult than it actually is. In fact, this isn’t such a daunting task after all. All you need to do is go through the gallery of different fabrics and patterns and consider those that suit your style the most. The rest of these tips you can interpret as tiny red flags to look out for. Finally, remember that this isn’t something you do every day.

Emma Joyce

Emma J is blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She got hooked on home accessories and decorations during her traveling and now cannot stop searching for new inspiration.

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