upholstery chair fabric

Considerations for Choosing Chair Upholstery


The first thing to consider when choosing chair upholstery fabric is where in the home this chair will be located. For example, living or dining room chair upholstery will typically see much more use than a chair in a bedroom. Determining how often a chair in a particular location will be used will help you narrow your upholstery fabric choices. From there we can move on to the next factor to consider, durability.


If the chair upholstery in question is a furnishing that gets used daily, you will want a durable fabric that will hold up well over time, especially if you have kids or pets. Performance fabrics tend to hold up well, which consist of manmade non-cellulosic fibers such as nylon, polyester, acrylic and olefin. These durable fabric types will last longer with regular use.

On the other hand, if the chair is mostly for decorative purposes you could branch out to other chair upholstery fabrics that look stunning, but aren’t recommended for regularly used furnishings since they are more difficult to maintain and care for. Durability can be lacking due to the fiber makeup, such as rayon or linen. The construction of the upholstery can also pose durability issues, such as boucle or velvet. Combining the two, such as a rayon velvet fabric, can make for a beautiful but extremely difficult furnishing to maintain.

fiber sealant

The sustainability of these fabrics is greatly increased when used in a lesser used area. For example, a wool boucle chair may look amazing in your main living area— but if you have frequent guests or pets, it can easily be snagged and unable to be repaired. Check out this list of 17 Luxury Fabric You Need To Know for inspiration!

Cleaning & Maintenance

When thinking about cleaning and maintaining chair upholstery, determine how much time you are willing to spend (or pay someone to spend) caring for your furnishings. See our ranking of cleanable and sustainable fabrics here. Today, more and more homeowners are turning to interior upholstery fabric installs consisting of almost entirely synthetic fibers, and for good reason. In most cases, these are the easiest fabrics to clean and maintain, especially when paired with a good fabric protection service. Though far less common in upholstery, there are also a number of natural fabrics that are both elegant and cleanable such as alpaca, mohair and wool.

fabric protector

On the other hand, there are fabrics and fiber types that are not recommended in most cases due to the inherent lack of cleanability they exhibit. We recommend staying away from manmade cellulosic fabrics such as rayon fabric – otherwise known as viscose – for spaces that are used often, as many cleaning methods can discolor and/or permanently alter the appearance of the fabric. Natural cellulosic fibers, such as linen and cotton can also present issues, but are easier to care for than rayon.

Style & Aesthetic

The last thing to consider depends solely on the look of the chair upholstery that you prefer. Will this chair be a statement piece, or will it match the other furnishings within a room? Consider the aesthetic that you are aiming for, and make sure the fabric you choose emanates that. There are an infinite number of different colors, designs and styles for all types of fabric, so make sure to find something that you will enjoy! For design inspiration, check out this article by Architectural Digest. With proper care, chair upholstery should be able to last for years to come if you take these considerations into account.

Fabric Care

Fiber-Seal’s luxury fabric protection services increase the sustainability of any chair upholstery fabric you choose. Spots and spills can easily be blotted away on most surfaces that have been treated with our proprietary fabric protector products.  For more difficult stain removal, Fiber-Seal offers complimentary cleaning for spots on protected furnishings. We are also an upholstery cleaner for keeping your furnishings looking fresh and new, year-round.

Click here to find a fabric care center near you.

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