What type of fabric is best for upholstery?

The different types of upholstery fabric include cotton, linen, wool, leather, acetate, hemp, silk, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, rayon, and nylon. Upholstery fabric can be constructed from one type of yarn or a blend of yarns. Choosing the correct upholstery fabric will ensure the longevity of your furniture.

Sofas for everyday use need durable fabric. Cotton and linen are winners (but watch out for loose weaves — they can snag). Also terrific: synthetic microfiber, which can mimic most fabrics and is stain resistant.

These are common fibers used in upholstery fabrics. They can be 100% or blended with other fibers to join characteristics. These fibers can be made up into a variety of fabric types, which also have an effect on their performance:

  • Cotton – breathable, comfortable, and budget-friendly. Not fade resistant.
  • Linen – Very strong and breathable and classic. Less resistant to stains and fading, should not be used for heavy-use, but excellent for heirloom pieces.
  • Wool – Luxurious, great texture and feel, keeps its shape, less resistant to stains – look for stain resistance treatmemt or a blend.
  • Silk – Luxurious and strong, but should not be used for everyday.
  • Rayon / Viscose – Adds softness when blended with other fibers, not durable.
  • Polyester – Durable, easy to clean, low – moderate abrasion resistance – it can pill if double rub rating isn’t high enough.
  • Nylon – Durable, high abrasion resistance, easy to clean.
  • Acrylic – Very durable, color fast, easy to clean, great for heavy-use upholstery.
  • Olefin – Very durable, color fast, easy to clean, great for heavy-use upholstery.


First let’s talk about weaves. Every fabric is created by weaving threads together, and the tightness of that weave can determine not just the way the fabric feels but it’s durability. Think about the way a loose-weave cheese cloth or drapery sheer looks and feels versus a thick pair of denim jeans. The threads in the cheese cloth aren’t pulled tight, they’re loose which allows the fabric to drape more elegantly and it lets more light through. A thick pair of 100% cotton jeans have as tight a weave as possible which makes them more durable, easier to wash, and they don’t loose their shape as quickly. Let’s apply that same thinking to upholstery fabrics.


Linens typically have a looser weave without a lot of nastiness . That means they drape more elegantly on your sofa (great if you’re buying a slipcover), but it also means the threads are more susceptible to wearing out because they aren’t as tightly woven together. Now in the linen category, some are heavier than others.  Some material have a very tight weave and a heavier weight, so they’re better for upholstery. The same goes for our Garrison Linen . Our Danish Linen and Everyday Linen have a lighter hand, so while they’re great for headboards or chairs, they don’t stand up quite as well to wear as our heavier linens.


Velvet have a tighter weave because they aren’t just woven horizontally, they have a pile or nap to them. That means that the threads stand upright, creating a fuzzy, soft texture. The advantage to fabric with a pile (like velvet) is that it’s exceptionally soft to the touch. Our velvet are blended with polyester which makes them more durable to 100% cotton velvet, so they’re easier to spot clean and the pile isn’t as vulnerable to being crushed.


Synthesized as an imitation wool, acrylic was the original go to fiber for outdoor upholstery fabrics. Acrylic is good for fade resistance, soiling, and wrinkling, but can pill if low quality acrylic is used in the fiber.

Faux suede / Microfiber / Ultrasuede

Faux suede / Microfiber / Ultrasuede – Typically a polyester multi-weave fabric with a surface abrasion treatment giving it a fuzzy, sueded pile to mimic suede, this fabric is an excellent choice for heavy-use family rooms and pets. It’s very strong, abrasion resistant and easy to clean.


Acquard– Typically a heavier fabric, it has yarn dyed fibers that create a pattern, giving the fabric texture and style. Good fabric choice for home usage, primarily moderate use and decorative pieces.


Duck/Canvas – A strong, plain weave fabric, ideal for printed designs. When made of cotton, this fabric shape can warp over time with heavy-use, so it should be used on moderate-use furniture, decorative pieces or pillow accents.


The price of a fabric goes up or down based on a number of factors. Tighter, denser weaves often require more labor and more thread to construct, so while they’re much more durable, they can also be more expensive.

Velvets also tend to be more expensive because they require more steps during the weaving process. Not only are the threads woven horizontally, they have short threads that run perpendicular to the fabric, creating the soft nap.


Probably the most durable fabric for upholstery is leather. Leather is a great option for high traffic areas while looking comfy. Leather is also recommended for those who have animals or pets. It is very easy to vacuum hair out of and lasts for a long time. they’re actually one of the most durable, easy-to-clean materials out there. 

Every fabric has advantages and disadvantages, and hopefully now with all of the information, it’ll be easier to make a decision.

Browse all of our fabric options online, and shop our various sofa shapes and styles.

Xinyu Furniture Co., Ltd. has been focusing on wedding furniture and restaurant furniture for 10 years. At the same time, we are also a professional custom furniture manufacturer. We have a professional production team and service team to provide you with one-stop service. Once you choose, we will provide you with the most comfortable service and the best quality products.

Of course, if you want to change the color and material of the product, or you have designs and samples, we are happy to customize it for you!

Please visit our website for details;https://www.xyhotelfurniture.com.cn/ http://www.fsxinyufurniture.com/