Upholstery Fabric Types and Names: Ultimate List

17 min read

If you have a chair or sofa in your home, it will be utilized at some point by a person. The only way to ensure that your chairs, sofas, and other furniture will last for years to come is to cover them in high-quality fabric. In addition, they must maintain their aesthetic appeal over the course of many decades.

The names of the different varieties of upholstery fabric are the same. Depending on the type of material used, you can choose from a variety of different styles and colors. Others last longer and require less maintenance than others.

Continue reading this article to find out more about the many types of upholstery fabric. Using it, you can make an educated decision on what furniture to buy for your house. It’s worth spending a few minutes to brush up on this vital topic.

What are Upholstery Fabrics?



It’s crucial to use these materials in your home because they’re harder than regular. The look of your furniture is one of the first things that visitors notice. Because of this, the fabric on your sofas and armchairs sets the tone for the rest of your decor.

These materials are built to withstand heavy traffic and hefty weight. Homeowners use these materials for more than just sitting; they store groceries, books, briefcases, and other objects on them.

That necessitates that these textiles be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Even though the thread count will be higher, this is a good thing. As a result, you can be confident that the material will outlast some of your current wardrobe’s pieces.

Most people appreciate having this material in their homes since it hides all of the construction and padding that make up your sofa or chair. In order to create a beautiful and cohesive look, fabrics are the final component.

The fibers used to produce them also make cleaning and other tasks more easier.

Upholstery Fabric Types

Natural and synthetic upholstery fabrics are the two most common varieties. Many subcategories can be found under these two main categories, and the accompanying chart will outline those subcategories as well as give a brief overview of each.

Textile Type and Description

A natural product made of fibers sourced from the natural world is the first option.

Although cotton is highly resistant to wear and pilling, it is also susceptible to dirt, wrinkling, and fire. The weave style determines the product’s longevity.

Cotton Add a few more favorable traits to the mix. Can be an extremely strong material.

Leather is a durable, stylish, and easy-to-clean material.. lends a dash of sophistication to any room

Linen is ideally suited to more formal living rooms due to its proneness to staining and wrinkling. High traffic locations and heavy use are not suitable for this product.

Delicate silk should not be handled by children or anyone else. When it gets unclean, it requires professional attention.

Easy to clean and maintain, vinyl is ideal for high traffic and heavy-use areas.

Wool is extremely resistant to wrinkling, pilling, fading, and soiling. In several cases, it’s possible that it’ll be combined with synthetics.

Velvet this is the wild card of of these fabrics as it can go in either category. This is a long-lasting fabric, but it’s quite tough to keep clean.

#2. Synthetics man made fibers coming from petroleum products, etc.

Acetate feels like silk but vulnerable to fading, dirt, wrinkling, wear but it does resist mildew. Not for heavy use areas

Acrylic is ideal for high-traffic areas since it resists fading, filth, wrinkles, and wear.

Microfiber made from polyester, it resists water, spills, stains and fading and has a velvet like texture to it

Nylon is almost always found as part of a blend rather than as a pure substance. this material is strong, resists dirt and wrinkles but will fade on you

Indoors or out, it’s a good choice. Resists fading,mildew, cuts and scratches as well as stains

Wool will pill when polyester is combined with it. Polyester is most commonly found in blends and is resistant to crushing of the nap, fading, and wrinkles.

This material will wrinkle but it is durable and good for families with small children

List of Upholstery Fabrics Names

The description of the upholstery fabric

Natural fibers are used in the construction of these products.

This means that cotton is able to withstand pilling and fading, but it’s also susceptible to dirt, wrinkling, and fires. The weave style determines the product’s long-term viability.

Cotton As above, but with a couple extra beneficial qualities. Sturdy to the core

Leather is a durable, stylish, and easy-to-clean material. to any environment, it adds a dash of sophistication

Since it can readily become soiled and wrinkled, linen is better suited for use in more formal living rooms. Not recommended for regions with a lot of foot traffic or heavy use.

Children should not play on silk because it is very sensitive. Getting unclean necessitates the services of an expert

High-traffic and heavy-use areas benefit greatly from vinyl flooring’s affordability, ease of maintenance, and resistance to wear and tear.

Unlike other fibers, wool does not fade, wrinkle or pill. It also resists stains and grime. It’s possible that it’ll be mixed with synthetics a lot.

Velvet is a bit of a wild card among these textiles, as it may be classified as either formal or informal. Silk, cotton, or polyester can be used to make this fabric, however cleaning it can be a challenge.

There are two types of man-made fibers: synthetic and natural fibers derived from petroleum products, etc.

Acetate has a silky texture, yet it is susceptible to fading, filth, wrinkling, wear, and mildew, although it is resistant to the latter. Not recommended for heavy-traffic locations.

As it is stain and fade resistant, acrylic is ideal for high traffic areas.

Polyester microfiber has a velvety feel and resists water, spills, stains, and fading.

Nylon is almost always a composite, not a pure form. While it’s resistant to dirt and wrinkles, this fabric will eventually wear out on you.

Indoors or out, it’s a good choice. Durable: won’t crack or peel and is impervious to cuts, scratches, and stains.

Wool will pill when polyester is combined with it. Polyester is most commonly found in blends and is resistant to crushing of the nap, fading, and wrinkles.

Wrinkles are to be expected, but it is long lasting and suitable for families with young children.

To put it another way, the list of names for these fabrics is far longer than what is presented here.

  • Cotton – can be found in a variety of forms for upholstery, including canvas, duck, and lame. Wears nicely and is really comfortable. In addition, it is reasonably priced.
  • Even though denim is also made of thick cotton, this fabric merits its own section since it gives any area a more relaxed vibe while also delivering a high level of durability for spaces that see a lot of traffic.
  • Wool – usually wools are blended with synthetic fibers to make them more durable and avoid any felting that may take place during use
  • Blended wools are frequently made with synthetic fibers to increase their durability and prevent felting, which can occur during wear.
  • Compared to standard polyester, microfiber is a bit softer and more pleasant to the touch.
  • Velvet — both natural and synthetic – can be found in the market. The silk version is more expensive than the cotton or polyester version, and it is ideally suited for formal living areas.
  • It’s petroleum-based, yet it’s cheaper than genuine leather. It’s easy to maintain and gives your area a leather look without the high price tag.
  • There are certain drawbacks to vinyl, such as its tendency to stick to hot skin, but it’s a relatively easy material to clean and should resist staining and liquids.
  • For boats and other outdoor seating, this upholstery material is ideal. It is built to withstand the rigors of a journey across a body of water. It also does a good job in the rain.
  • As far as adding class to your home is concerned, leather is the best option. This material can last under the right conditions for over 30 years and it never goes out of style. It’s worth the money because of the long-term value.
  • Chenille is an excellent material for indoor furniture since it is both beautiful and durable. As a poly-cotton blend, this fabric is designed to withstand fading, wrinkles, and other fabric imperfections.
  • Poly-cotton blend Coquet also stands up nicely under heavy wear. For chairs and tablecloths in the dining area, this fabric is ideal.
  • Just the word “silk” conjures up images of a luxurious material. However, it is pricey and should not be used in a family room, but it is ideal for parties where there are few stains.
  • In upholstery, nylon is rarely used as a stand-alone fabric. It is most commonly used in combination with wool to ensure that the fabric can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

Upholstery textiles are often given their names based on the colors and patterns they come in. This makes it tough to include all of them. Special upholstery materials, like Sunbrella, which is more of a brand name than an actual fabric name, are also available.

There are many more subcategories under the natural fibers category that can help you get exactly the style you want for your house, but this list should get you started.

Upholstery fabric, by any name, will cost you extra. The higher the thread count, the more material you’ll have to pay for. When it comes to choosing the fabric for your home design, there is no need to rush.

What are Upholstery Fabric Grades?



The first piece of bad news is about to be delivered. However, each manufacturer produces its own grade system while there is a standard one. In other words, the marks we are about to offer you are not consistent.

Anything can be determined by the specific maker since each follows a different set of guidelines.

  • Fiber composition
  • Weave pattern.
  • Expectations for performance
  • Fabric design and construction
  • fabric thickness

In the grading system, A is the least expensive and lowest quality material, whereas F is the most expensive and highest grade. F is the most expensive and most likely the best upholstery fabric you can get.

A pattern that is woven into the fabric has a longer lifespan than one that is printed on the fibers. There are also rare fibers, fibers that are difficult to clean, and fibers that are easy to clean.

These factors influence their final grade. The fabric cards that are included with the swatches provide information on the fabric’s quality.

What Upholstery Fabric Pills

Wool, especially when combined with polyester, is perhaps the worst culprit here. If your furniture is composed of a poly-wool combination, expect a lot of pilling.

When placed on furniture, nylon is also prone to pilling. The pilling will detract from the aesthetic appeal of high-use objects. When it comes to fabrics that didn’t make our top ten list, it’s hard to say for sure.

Pilling is a common problem with many synthetic materials. One of these is acetate, which has the undesirable property of fading, wrinkleing, and wearing out quickly. Acrylic is another substance that, unless it is created from low-quality fibers, should not pill much on you.

It’s more durable than acetate since it doesn’t fade, wear, wrinkle, or collect dirt. It is a high-quality wool substitute that must be purchased.

Sofa Upholstery Fabric Types



Jute is probably the only sort of fiber we didn’t include in the list above. Adding this material to any area in which its colors mix will lend a unique flair to the decor, making it ideal for sofas. It’s normally reserved for ottomans, although it can also be used on a couch if you choose.

Sofas benefit greatly from the leather and silk materials found in the 12 varieties listed above. Both materials give a room a distinctive appearance, elevating it to the level of sophistication it requires for serious conversations.

It’s unfortunate that some materials can be pricey, such as Velvet, which gives any area a regal feel when applied. Except for leather, you’ll want to avoid these materials at all costs, as they’re prone to nicks and scratches.

The benefits of linen are numerous, but they do not outweigh the disadvantages of using it in a high-traffic environment. When wet, it gets stronger, but it’s also more prone to stains. Cotton is usually a smart choice because it absorbs spills and is easy to dye if you need to change the color for any reason.

The synthetic materials, on the other hand, are excellent and have a number of advantages. But their biggest weakness is that they can easily catch on fire. That’s a bad idea if you have a lot of kids in the house.

Finally, vinyl is a good choice because it was originally created as a replacement for leather. It offers the look and feel of a high-end material, but at a fraction of the price. Cleaning it is a breeze and it’ll last you a long time.

Car Upholstery Fabric Types

In order to get your hands on the most popular fabrics, leather is your best bet. It has the same qualities as couch upholstery fabric. It’s also popular since automobile owners can acquire the look of leather at around half the price.

These fabrics have a long shelf life and are renowned for their comfort and softness. There are other automobile upholstery textiles made of cotton, which can be found in more affordable car models. When it comes to heavy use, nylon and other synthetic materials perform well.

In the same way that natural fibers are utilized in other parts of your home, the cloth used in cars can also be made of natural fibers. Some car owners like to have their seats covered in designer textiles.

Designer labels or logos may be attached to these textiles, or the owner’s initials may be embroidered on them. Car upholstery textiles must be able to withstand spills, pet hair, and accidents, all of which can damage the fabric.

Can Upholstery Fabric be Used for Curtains?



Upholstery fabric styles and colors can provide a unique aspect to your home’s dcor, yes. Using this fabric for curtains or even drapes has the added benefit of being stain resistant and easier to clean.

With such a high double rub score, the material is more durable than curtain textiles. To give a space a more formal appearance, use thicker and heavier couch fabrics.

You don’t have to worry about the fabric being lined or having any sort of backing when cleaning. The new curtains may be easily cleaned by just tossing them in the washing machine and turning the machine on. The upholstery fabric only comes in 54 to 60-inch widths, which is a limitation of utilizing it instead of curtain materials. Some windows may not be able to fit them.

The backing, on the other hand, will not have the same pattern as the front, which is a detriment.

Are Upholstery Fabrics Fire Retardant?

Most upholstered furniture has a fire retardant in it. CRIB 5 is the name of the one used for this fabric, and it is woven into it. Your furniture will always be protected from fires thanks to the fire retardant in its upholstery fabric. You’re safe from the threat of fire.

However, there is a major caveat. For the most part, the fabrics for sofas and chairs, etc., in the home don’t have this protection.

That’s because this kind of protection isn’t required under federal law for homes. In 1975, California enacted a law making it required, however this is not the case in every other state.

In spite of the lack of rules in your area, your furniture should have this protection, since several manufacturers have already started doing so across all of their lines.

Why is Upholstery Fabric so Expensive?



To compensate for the higher thread count and thickness of the upholstery fabric, you’ll spend more. The excessive price can’t be explained in any other way. In addition, production expenses are considerable because of all the protective coatings and other ingredients that go into making this fabric.

Stores don’t see repeat buyers for the same piece of furniture because leather couches can last for more than 30 years. That contributes to the fabric’s price.

A well-designed and colorful couch is more expensive to produce because of the added costs of patterns and color dyes. The expense of labor is also a factor in this material’s high pricing.

What Width does Upholstery Fabric Come In?

54 to 60-inch widths are common for this material. To a great extent, this is the industry standard. When you try to use this cloth for other purposes, such as draperies, you may have difficulties. Large windows cannot be covered by the panels because of their narrow width.

In some cases, you may be able to buy upholstery fabric in both 48-inch and 72-inch widths, despite this rule of thumb. Check with the outlet you use to see if the widths and colors you desire are available in your preferred design and style.

Any roll-up bolt may generate seams where they are not desired and are the most unpleasant if you are restoring your own sofa. When using a fabric with a pleasing pattern, be sure to match the pattern exactly.

Before you begin, make sure you have enough of extra material on hand.

Who Carries Upholstery Fabric



Upholstery fabric can be found in the fabric departments of the majority of your local large box shops. We don’t know what they have or how big their collection is. They may have a restricted variety if they sell a lot at once.

Afterwards, if your local department stores or locally-owned fabric businesses don’t have what you’re looking for, you can check with them as well. Perhaps you might persuade them to place an order for some for you.

Even if all else fails, there are a number of retail, wholesale, and bargain fabric websites that sell this material. We observed a store that has more than 50 selections for you to choose from. You should be able to find a fabric store that carries the type of material you’re looking for.

Some Final Words

You’ll have to pay a lot for upholstery textiles because of the amount of time and effort that goes into creating them. However, the price will be well worth it if you get the material and appearance you desire. There are so many alternatives to choose from when it comes to fabric for your home.



I'm an content manager