When choosing fabrics for upholstered furniture, keep in mind that tightly woven fabrics tend to wear the best. Durability is determined by the number of threads per square inch rather than the thickness of the yarn used. Generally, fabrics that have their pattern woven in will wear better than printed fabrics. For a nice selection of quality fabric, check out mastercraft upholstered furniture. There are many types of fiber used in the manufacturing of upholstered fabrics. They each have unique attributes that must be considered in making a selection based on the planned usage of the upholstered furniture. In addition to their look and feel, factors to consider are wearability, cleanability and sensitivity to direct sunlight. Natural fibers Prized for their soft "hand" and versatility, the natural fibers remain popular as coverings for upholstered furniture.
Cotton takes color well (soft and pliable), blends well with other fibers, and is durable with unlimited styling potential. However, continuous exposure to direct sunlight will cause the cotton fiber to disintegrate on your upholstered furniture. In damp climates, cotton may tend to mildew. It is somewhat less stain resistant than synthetics.
With a strong, cool, crisp "hand", linen is one of the most durable fibers available for upholstered furniture. It has a tendency to resist color and is often found in natural coloration's as a result. Linen reflects heat somewhat better than cotton, but will disintegrate in intense sunlight. It is at the higher end of fabric cost.
Naturally springy and resilient, wool is extremely durable for upholstered furniture. It tends to take color softly and has good resistance to abrasion. Wool has natural stain resistance, but should be mothproofed before using.
Without question the most beautiful, yet fragile, of all upholstered furniture fabrics. Soft and lustrous, strong light will tend to discolor and disintegrate the fiber. Difficult to clean, the fibers will tend to mildew in damp climates.
Made of processed cellulose, it can be woven to emulate silk or linen. Its low cost and blendability with other more expensive fibers make it a popular choice for upholstered furniture. The fiber is reasonably colorfast and abrasion resistant, but will tend to rot under long exposure to direct sunlight.
These petroleum-based fibers have been developed over the last sixty years as an alternative to natural fibers and are often blended with them in an effort to achieve the best properties of each in upholstered furniture.
Polyester: a polymer that takes vibrant colors well. Polyester is strong and cleanable and stands up well under direct sunlight. Flame and abrasion resistant, this upholstered furniture fabric is often blended with natural fibers to soften its feel. Recent developments have led to a finely extruded polyester fiber that resembles the look and feel of silk.
Olefin: known by many people by the trade name, Herculon. Strong, with natural stain resistant properties, olefin is a bulky fiber with a coarse "hand" that does not hold up well to direct sunlight. Often it is used to create heavy textured causal fabrics in upholstered furniture. These fabrics when loosely woven require a latex backing for added strength.
Nylon: The strongest and most dirt resistant fiber, nylon is used often in commercial applications where it will take a beating. Until recently, nylon upholstered furniture typically had a high luster. However, now it is often available with a delustered wool look and feel. Its only drawback is its sensitivity to sunlight.