Upholstery materials include fabrics (woven & non-woven), PVC, Polyester and Velvet as the most common in the textile industry. There are many different types of fabrics used for upholstery it all depends on the application and the desired outcome.
Fabrics used for upholstery
Linen: A natural yarn that is used for many interior products such as curtains, cushion covers and chair covers. Linen can crease very easily but it has a fresh feel to it, Linen isn’t very durable but it doesn’t usually fade very easily so it can be used in a formal living area.
Cotton: Is a popular choice as it’s versatile; it can be durable and strong enough for upholstery fabric such as a canvas, it doesn’t wear out easily so that also means no piling. When treated with finishes.
Wool: Woollen blends can be very strong and durable, the possibility of different woollen blends with synthetic fibres mean a choice of patterns and textures but also easier to maintain and a better feeling to touch unlike natural wool which can be quite rough.
Silk: Natural silks are best used in professional interiors where there isn’t a high volume of traffic. Silks are best used for cushions and drapery.
Leather: There are many different types of leather depending on the quality and layer of leather. The different layers give different textures and aesthetics but more importantly the strength and thickness of leather. Generally leather is great for upholstery for chairs, sofas and even wall coverings.
Some synthetic fabrics are great for interior fabrics due to their aesthetics and durability aspects.
Polyester: Polyester fabrics include 100% polyester or blended polyester like a polycotton where the fibres are mixed with cotton to create a versatile fabric compared to just polyester. A polycotton blend will allow the fabric to breathe more than the 100% polyester and this allows the fabric to flow a little rather then stick to a surface.
This would be ideal for sublimation printing patterns for cushion covers or throws etc. The polyester blended fabric is durable and creases less compared to 100% polyester.
Leatherette: Is an imitation of leather using a polyester base fabric with a layer or coating of PVC, which will create similar aesthetics to Leather without the fading and cracking that can occur over time with sofa’s and chairs etc.
PVC: Stands for Polyvinyl chloride, which is a synthetic based polymer plastic, which is made softer by plasticizers to create this softer material compared to other PVC materials used in construction etc.
It can come in many different looks and finishes some PVC materials imitate leather, rubber and latex, which is a cheaper option then purchasing the true material. PVC is stronger and more durable then leather and quite flexible with different applications, such as furniture, wall panels and small interior accessories.
Velvet: Is a luxurious interior fabric that creates great warmth and texture in a sophisticated interior. The piles can be created from cotton yarns, silk, rayon, viscose and many other synthetics as well as natural yarns. So a mix of yarns can create different textures and also depths to the velvet. The most luxurious is a high content of silk.
The uses of velvet in upholstery instantly give the room an expensive look and feel, it can be used on cushion covers, throws and to upholster chairs but they should be more of a statement piece.