How to Choose the Best Kind of Upholstery

How to Choose the Best Kind of Upholstery

The history (and definition) of upholstery

Upholstery is the covering on a couch, chair and other furniture. The process of padding began back in the middle ages during the textile and interior design revolution. It was characterised by the use of padded cushions and decorated wall hangings by society’s elite.

Chenille - photo by More Fabrics

Early upholstery padding consisted of simple stuffing such as grass, sawdust, feathers, and horse or goat fur. Industry does what it always does: it evolves, and today upholstery padding is more often than not made of foam.

Interior designers put a good deal of thought into how our lives both shape design and are shaped by it. It has always been this way, and so it has continued until the modern age where upholstery trends are always changing along with shifting ideas around design and the way we live.

Different kinds of upholstery fabric

There are several factors to take into account when you’re shopping for upholstery fabric.

What’s the best upholstery? The kind that you need.

Different types of upholstery fabrics are suitable for different uses.

For instance, textiles that bring your living room décor to life might not be ideal for the bedroom.

There is no distinct rule when it comes to choosing the ‘right’ kind of material, so it is up to you, the environment, the piece of furniture itself, and what you’re intending on doing to it.

Read all about the differences in natural and synthetic upholstery fabrics in our Upholstery 101.


As the name suggests, these fabrics come from nature, meaning plant fibres or from the fur or wool etc., of animals. Animal fibres can be obtained from animal hides and silkworm cocoons while plant fibres come from plant parts such as seeds, stems, and leaves.


Synthetic fabrics are man-made through a combination of chemicals with either organic or inorganic materials. Since they are human-made, their features generally reflect their intended function.

The first kind of synthetic fabric is made by changing natural materials using chemicals, while the second type is made by changing petrochemicals into polymer substances, which are then melted through spinning to form polyester fibres.

Consider how your upholstery is going to age

The first thing that you will need to keep in mind here is fabric durability. Consider how you live as well as who the users of the upholstered furniture are. With this in mind, you can select the type of material that will serve you best.

While silk velvet is lovely to look at, it is not entirely suitable if you have kids and pets. If you have a busy family, a piece of furniture in the living room needs to be strong and hard-wearing. However, places that have minimal use and traffic such as the bedroom headboard can stand just any type of fabric.

Consider maintenance

You have to consider the type of care and maintenance that the fabric needs and how much attention it may need. Have a bigger picture of how it will look after four years of use. Will you clean it yourself or will you use professional cleaning services?

Check out our article on cleaning upholstery fabrics.

Consider your price point

Once you have put the other factors into consideration, do not forget to consider your price.

Your preferred fabric should be affordable and fit into your budget without breaking the bank.

The best upholstery fabrics for life (homes with kids and pets)

Despite the availability of several brands of fabric choices, finding an upholstery fabric that is suitable for kids and pets can be challenging. The best alternatives are those that are easy to clean and maintain while also having the ability to resist scratching and scuffing.

How to inject a little personality into your room through textiles

If you are seeking for an easy way to make your room feel like it really reflects you, follow the tips below:

  1. Start with a Q&A –what you like, what you do not, what you have, what you need.

  2. Know your style. Is your style more traditional or eclectic?

  3. Feature walls are an excellent way to infuse your interior design with your personality. Upholstered wall panels are all the rage nowadays: check out our selection of wall-ready upholstery here.

  4. Statement sofas are another primary way to infuse personality, allowing you to do so much with just one piece of furniture. There are many styles to choose from whether you have a traditional or modern preference.  You can select statement sofas according to large sizes, patterns, bold and bright colours as well as unique shapes.

  5. Most importantly, be yourself. Let your personal tastes guide you. At the end of the day, it’s your own home you’re decorating.

The ‘best’ upholstery is the best one for the job

With so many kinds of upholstery to choose from, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. While there is no exact type of upholstery that is right, there are right types for specific jobs.

Apart from the type of job that the fabric is meant for, other factors to help you choose the best upholstery are ease of cleaning, durability, and price. With a few tricks and ideas, it is possible to create interior design styles to personalise your space.

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