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How To Pick The Perfect Fabric For Your Next Upholstery Project

So you’ve got your next upholstery project lined up, but with the number of different fabrics available, it can be difficult to know what fabric is right for your project.

The truth is there is no easy rule for choosing the perfect fabric for an upholstery project and will often depend upon many factors such as the type of project you are working on, what the fabric will be used for and of course, your personal style.

But to help you with your decision, we have created a step by step guide with all the advice you may need when it comes to picking the right fabric for your next project.


Commercial or Domestic Project?

One of the first questions to answer is whether you are completing a commercial project or domestic project. If the fabric will be used in a commercial setting, such as in a hospitality setting, it has to be safe and adhere to UK Fire Regulations Act 1988.  Contract Crib 5 goes through rigorous testing to prove that the fabric resists ignition, greatly reducing the risk of fire. Our full range of fabric can be treated in order to be Crib 5 compliant.

As well as being treated, a commercial project will often face a more arduous environment than a domestic project. With this in mind you will want to consider hard wearing fabrics with a rub test of over 40,000. The higher the rub count, the higher the durability and suitability for a heavily used area such as a bar or restaurant.

When choosing a fabric for your home, you will want to consider where and how the fabric will be used. This will then impact what fabric you choose and if you need any additional fabric treatments adding to the fabric.

For example, if you have pets and children you may opt to add a soil and stain treatment or a waterproofing treatment to your fabric to ensure that your fabrics stay as good as new for longer.  Or if fire safety is important to you, you may wish to add a flame retardant treatment to your chosen fabric.

How To Pick Your Next Upholstery Fabric

Now let’s talk about the most suitable fabric types for your project.

Boucle - Boucle fabrics are often feared due to it’s looped or curly appearance but Boucle can often have a very high rub test and be a great hard-wearing fabric option! Although this fabric is not the best option for areas that might receive spills, we would certainly recommend this fabric for cushions, decorative chairs and cosy areas of a home!

Chenille - This thick luxurious pile has a beautiful sheen finish that looks and feels incredible. However, due to the thick pile, chenille absorbs spills and stains quite easily and can be difficult to clean so is not recommended in places such as dining rooms and kitchens without treatment.

Corduroy - Corduroy is a popular fabric for sofas due to its durable, soft, and unique texture. Paired with our fabric treatments, Corduroy is the perfect choice for a warm and luxurious piece or project!

Cotton - This natural fibre provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire and depending on the weave and finish you choose, it can be an extremely durable fabric in your home.

Faux Leather/Vinyl - Faux leather/Vinyl offers an easy care material that can be easily cleaned and are ideal for those areas that are prone to spillages such as dining room chairs.

Velvet - Velvet is known for its elegance and ability to create a luxurious feel to the space in which it is present. The perfect choice for a decorative piece or piece of furniture that isn’t heavily used, however velvet can often be difficult to clean and can catch dust very easily so we wouldn't recommend using this material in areas with a lot of footfall!

Wool - Wool is sturdy and durable which offers resistance to pilling, fading and even wrinkling! Generally, wool is blended with a synthetic fibre which makes the material easier to wipe clean.

As you can see, you have a variety of different fabrics and treatments to choose from But we hope this guide has helped you to decipher the world of fabric and made your hunt for the perfect fabric much easier!

But remember, if you do have any further questions about any of our fabrics or their use we would be happy to help.

You can contact us on 01924 728 753 or at


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