Collection: Contract Fabrics

What is contract fabric and what is it used for?

The term "contract fabrics" is a general term used to describe fabrics not specifically intended for use in garments but for commercial uses, where they will see an exceptionally high level of wear.

They are often used by companies and businesses that require their fabric to be hard-wearing, stain-resistant and easy to clean, so are often treated to this effect.

At the Yorkshire Fabric Shop, we supply contract fabrics by the metre, made from various materials, including cotton, velvet, chenille and leather.

We have over 2,000 varieties in stock with a full range of colours and designs to suit any project or workplace. So if you're looking for a fabric that will be flame retardant as standard, stand up to heavy wear and tear, and have been put through a range of industry tests to prove it, your search for the perfect contract fabric ends here.


What are contract fabrics used for?

Because "contract fabrics" is a term used to describe the quality of the fabrics rather than the materials used, there is a lot of range in what is considered contract-grade, and therefore many uses.

We supply contract upholstery fabric made from eight different materials in over 1500 varieties so that you can find choices suitable for anything from tablecloths to soft furnishings in offices. Whether you're looking for plain upholstery fabric or a printed design, we're confident you'll find something you like across our contract fabric collections.

Despite the wide range of applications, feedback from our customers tells us that contract fabrics are primarily used in upholstery projects (e.g. for cushions), used as drapery fabrics, bought to be used as curtains, or used as canvas materials.

This list isn't exhaustive, as the many benefits of using contract fabric means people choose it for a whole host of applications. If you're looking for a specific material or style, use the filters on this page to whittle down our range to find something suitable.


What are the main properties of contract-grade fabrics?


Contract fabrics are designed to be long-lasting; to that effect, they can withstand heavy wear and tear without losing shape or colour.

This makes them ideal for upholstery projects such as chairs and sofas, where they may be sat on frequently or exposed to environmental elements like sunlight and rain.

Stain resistance:

Contract fabrics also generally resist stains better than standard fabric because they are usually made with polyester or nylon fibres incorporated, which don't absorb moisture easily.

This makes them ideal for indoor applications where liquid spillages, such as restaurants, hotels and schools, may occur frequently.

Easy care:

Contract-grade fabrics tend to be very easy to care for because they don't typically require special treatments like dry cleaning or ironing to stay looking good over time.

This also makes them ideal for home decor projects where there's less need to worry about getting the fabric dirty or stained (famous last words).


Do contract fabrics come treated?

In general, there are three forms of treated contract fabrics available:

Standard Contract: Most people use standards for furniture, which are affordable but still offer superior protection.

Treated Fabrics: These fabrics are treated to improve their durability in certain conditions. For example, some might have stain-resistant treatments or waterproof features for outdoor furniture.

Premium Fabrics: If you want to use luxury fabrics but need to ensure they still retain their durability, these treatments will give you the best of both worlds.

Our contract upholstery fabrics are of the highest-quality.

All of our contract fabrics come treated to CRIB-5 standards, meaning they are flame retardant to a level acceptable within the service industries for fire regulations.

All of our contract fabrics that receive this certification have undergone rigorous testing, and the flame retardant treatment we use offers our customers reassurance that they can trust.

Customers can also add additional treatments to the fabrics as they are added to the basket, including soil and stain treatment, waterproof treatment, and further flame retardant treatment. All costs are incorporated by the metre, so you can fully customise your order.

Choose from a range of contract fabrics for commercial interiors.

The best thing about contract fabrics is their variety. There are so many designs and styles available, so it's really a matter of personal preference. However, all contract fabrics have superior durability, so choosing fabrics that already boast these properties without any treatments is best.

You'll find a range of contract fabrics here, so feel free to browse and choose one that suits your needs.



Wool is a naturally durable, stain-resistant, flame-retardant fabric, making it a good choice for contract fabrics in high-traffic areas. The material is also renowned for its softness and comfort, but it's still relatively cost-effective compared to other fabric choices.

The pros of wool contract fabric:

Durability: Wool is a naturally strong and resilient fibre, making it highly durable and able to withstand heavy use in high-traffic areas. It can maintain its appearance and integrity even after prolonged use.

Natural Flame Resistance: Commercial businesses love wool because it's naturally flame resistant. This means it's less likely to compromise health and safety in the workplace.

Stain Resistance: With a natural protective layer that repels liquids, wool is resistant to stains and can hide dirt, retaining a clean aesthetic for longer than many other fabrics.

Thermal Insulation: Wool has excellent thermal properties, providing insulation in cold and warm environments. These insulation properties also contribute to wool's comfort.

Sustainability: As a renewable and biodegradable resource, wool is one of the more eco-friendly contract materials available.

Hypoallergenic: Wool is hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, mould, and mildew, making it a good option for contract settings where allergies or sensitivities may be a concern.

The cons:

Cost: Depending on your budget, wool can be more expensive than synthetic fibres like polyester or nylon.

Moisture Absorption: While wool has some natural resistance to liquid spills, it is not entirely waterproof and can be prone to mildew over time.

Pilling: The fibres can also form small, fuzzy balls or "pills" on the fabric surface with frequent use, which can impact the appearance.



Getting its name from the French word for caterpillar, chenille is renowned for its softness and stylish appeal. The fabric is also extremely durable and looks great in any room due to its upmarket aesthetic. It's also highly popular in the contract market due to its many features.

The pros of chenille contract fabrics:

Durability: As a tightly woven fabric combining polyester, acrylic and cotton blends, chenille is highly durable and has superior resistance to wear and tear.

Softness and Comfort: Chenille fabrics have a velvety, plush texture, adding a luxurious and comfortable feel to contract furniture. The softness of chenille can enhance the overall user experience and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Stain & Fade Resistance: Chenille can have good stain-resistant properties depending on the fibre used in the manufacturing process. As the construction of chenille mainly uses synthetic fibres, it's also less likely to fade.

Easy Maintenance: Chenille is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Some regular vacuuming and occasional spot cleaning will keep the fabric looking fresh and new.


Pilling: Chenille fabrics are prone to pilling over time, but this usually happens with long-term wear and tear, so ongoing maintenance will reduce the chances of pilling.

Abrasion and Wear: While durable, some contract fabrics with tighter weaves can withstand more usage. However, in low to medium-traffic areas, chenille performs well.

Moisture Absorption: Any spills or excess moisture might lead to stains and watermarks. However, the fibre composition will determine how moisture-resistant your chenille upholstery is.



Nylon is a synthetic material that's most popular due to its cost-effective properties. Nylon performs well with other fibres as it's extremely durable and versatile. While pure nylon isn't as popular as some other fabrics, it has plenty of advantages for contract fabrics.

The pros of nylon:

Strength and Durability: Nylon is known for its excellent tensile strength and resistance to wear and tear, making it a durable material for a wide range of products.

Low Moisture Absorption: The material also boasts a low water absorbency, which helps maintain its strength and dimensional stability even in humid environments.

Flexibility: If you're upholstering contemporary chairs, nylon is a flexible, elastic material that bends and stretches without breaking.

Lightweight: Nylon has a low density, making it lightweight while still providing strength and durability.


Heat Sensitivity: Nylon can be sensitive to high temperatures. The temperatures in a commercial setting will rarely cause any warping and melting.

Static Electricity: Static electricity leads to issues like static cling or attracting dust and lint. It can be problematic in some settings with sensitive electrical equipment and healthcare settings.

Environmental Concerns: Nylon is derived from petrochemicals, which raises environmental concerns related to its production and eventual disposal. Some consumers may prefer eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic fabrics like nylon.

Not as Luxurious as Natural Fibres: While nylon offers durability and practicality, it may not have the luxurious feel and texture of natural fibres like wool or cotton. In high-end commercial settings, natural fibres might create a better aesthetic.

Choosing the right contract fabrics for your commercial needs

Contract fabrics come in various patterns and colours, making them highly versatile for all commercial environments. With many designs available, you can choose the perfect materials and textures for up-market, modern or traditional environments.

Before ordering your samples, it's essential to consider which is best for your unique needs. Here are our top choices for various commercial interiors:


Offices are practical environments that need to look professional at all times. However, comfort is also crucial for employees, so finding the right balance is essential.

Materials such as polyester and nylon will help you keep costs down and brighten the office, while blended fabrics offer more comfort and durability.

Healthcare settings

Healthcare settings have to consider safety and preventing infections, which is why certain materials will always perform better than others. For example, Crypton is highly stain-resistant and antimicrobial, while PVC is easy to clean and moisture-resistant.

Fabrics treated as bleach-cleanable are highly desirable in healthcare settings because they can withstand harsh cleaning agents without losing their properties.


Hotels can afford to focus on choosing high-performance fabrics that also look amazing because comfort is key in these establishments. So, it will come as no surprise that the most popular fabric choices for hotels often include chenille, wool and faux leather.

We have some stunning faux leather contract fabrics, including the Zinacantan grain textured fabric, which looks as authentic as natural leather.

Create an account with the Yorkshire Fabric Shop

Creating an account has many benefits; you can track order history and see order and shipping status, so you can get a good idea of when you get everything prepared to start your project.

Being able to track order history also means you can conveniently see exactly which styles and designs you opted for in the past because 1500 options is a lot to browse through!

Finally, if you're stuck between a few options in your basket, you can move them to your mood board, essentially a corner for designers to brainstorm project ideas.

Make sure to sign in (rather than as a guest) and checkout using your account to access these benefits and others.


Order your contract fabric samples today.

You can always order samples of different styles directly from our online shop to your UK address to get an idea of what they look like in person. Samples start at £1 for a 10 cm by 6cm strip of fabric, and we can also provide jumbo samples at 125 cm by 20cm if you want to get a good feel for the fabric design.

If you are looking for a specific style or colour and can't find it on our site, or have any questions at all regarding our contract fabric range, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team on our contact page, who will be happy to help answer your questions.