08 Mar 2016

When you’re selecting fabric for furniture upholstery, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Of course, you’ll want to choose a color and pattern that fit your style and your home’s interior. Durability needs to be taken into consideration if you’re upholstering dining room chairs or a piece of furniture that gets a lot of use. Another factor to take into consideration is whether you want to use fabric composed of natural or synthetic fibers.

The fibers used will determine how a fabric will look and feel, how it’ll wear, and how easily it can be cleaned.

What’s the difference between natural and synthetic fabrics?

Natural fabrics are composed of fibers found in nature that come from either animal or plant sources. Synthetic fabrics are made from fibers that are manufactured or created by scientists. While manufactured, they may still be made from some natural materials like cellulose or wood pulp.

Popular Natural Fibers

Here are some natural fibers commonly used in upholstery

– Cotton takes finishes and dyes well.

– It is strong and versatile, but it can easily wrinkle and stretch.

– It soils easily and needs protection against stains.


– Silk comes in different textures. Reeled silk is smooth and shiny, but spun silk is more textured.

– It is a strong fiber that can last a long time if not exposed to sunlight.

– It is an expensive fiber that is mainly found in high-end fabrics


– Wool is wrinkle and soil resistant and very durable. However, it does need to be protected from insects.

– It is often found in more expensive fabrics and usually blended with synthetic fibers.

– It can be dry-cleaned or cleaned with a mild detergent.

Popular Synthetic Fibers

Take a look at some commonly-used synthetic fibers.

– Developed as a synthetic silk, it has good luster and a luxurious look.

– It is resistant to shrinking, mildew, and pilling.

– Acetate is usually used in blends to add softness and luster to other fibers


– With a soft and wooly feel, acrylic is used to create plush velvets.

– It is quick-drying and resistant to fading, insects, and mildew.

– Acrylic fibers can be washed with soap and water.


– It is a blend of polyester and polyamide.

– Microfibers are strong, durable and resist abrasion, insects, and mildew.

– It resists soiling and wrinkling very well, making it great for frequently used pieces.

The fabric you choose will depend largely on your budget and the type of furniture you are having upholstered. Whether you choose synthetic or natural, you’ll want to be sure it is a high-quality fiber that is durable and will give you the look you want. The professionals at Burchell Upholstery can help you choose the type of fabrics that will work best for your pieces, and you’ll get beautiful results.