Choosing the Right Upholstery Fabric

Upholstery fabric

Upholsterers use many different types of upholstery fabric. From leather to silk, choosing the right upholstery fabric for your project can mean the difference between success and disaster.

But with so many fabrics to choose from, where do you even begin to decide?

If you’re new to upholstery, choosing a suitable fabric may not seem so simple. That’s why we’re here to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Upholstery Fabric

Let’s look at some different types of fabrics used in upholstery and outline their pros and cons. Doing so will hopefully help you to make a better decision when it comes to choosing the perfect kind.


Silk is a naturally occurring material which comes from the cocoon of the silkworm caterpillar. If looked after, this material can last for a good amount of time. It also has a soft feel and is available in many colours, patterns and weights.

This fabric is considered a luxury material and the price often reflects this. It also needs to be dry cleaned and isn’t a hardwearing material.


Linen is a naturally occurring material manufactured from flax plant fibers. It is a visually appealing material on upholstery, which is relatively affordable.

However, linen isn’t particularly hardwearing. It can easily wrinkle and requires professional cleaning if it becomes dirty.


Leather is typically made from cowhide. It’s a comfortable material that ages well over time. Leather is also easy to clean and hides scratches well.

On the other hand, leather is a relatively expensive material. It is also a by-product of the meat industry, which may sway your decision depending on your personal beliefs.


Polyester is a popular upholstery fabric and is made from synthetic fibers. It is often used in conjunction with other fabrics to help increase its durability. As such it can often last a long time if properly cared for. It is also soft, available in many styles and can be easily cleaned/maintained.

In lighter colours, polyester is susceptible to visible staining. Try to use darker colours where possible.


Cotton is a naturally occurring material manufactured from cotton plant fibers. It is a durable material suitable for daily use. Cotton is also easy to clean and can be dyed into a wide range of colours.

There are many cotton blends available on the market. For upholstery purposes, pure cotton is recommended. This is because it does not wrinkle as easily as blended upholstery fabrics.


Wool is fine hair shorn from sheep, goats and sometimes even camels, llamas or certain rabbits. Wool is considered a comfortable material. It is naturally fire resistant, durable and doesn’t wrinkle, pill or fade.

Wool is generally more expensive than other upholstery fabrics. The ethics surrounding wool harvesting is also often debated. This may alter your choice, depending on your personal beliefs.

Foam Sheets to Use with Your Upholstery Fabric

As our name suggests, we specialise in upholstery foam sheets. Why not browse our wide selection of upholstery foam grades? Pick one out for your next project and use it with an upholstery fabric of your choice!