How to choose the ideal upholstery fabrics for your home? | homify
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How to choose the ideal upholstery fabrics for your home?

Natasha Kurien Natasha Kurien
modern  by Sunbrella, Modern
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Fabrics work as an excellent decorating option in homes because they are incredibly functional and can breathe life and beauty into the furniture. Fabric upholstery helps to protect the furniture from dust and stains, and the best thing is that they are easily replaceable to suit changing home decor or themes. 

There are two main categories under which fabrics fall, namely, natural and synthetic. Natural fabrics are manufactured from natural fibres, whereas synthetic fabrics are created by combining chemicals with organic as well as inorganic materials. The main types of upholstery fabric commonly used for home décor include:

  • Cotton: It is one of the most popular fabrics for furnishings as it is soft, comfortable and breathable, making it ideal for bed sheets and cushion covers. It is economical too.
  • Wool: Another option among the most durable fabrics, wool is soft and warm, making it perfect for cushion covers, throws, rugs and carpets.
  • Silk: As a durable natural fibre, silk is preferred for curtains, lampshades and cushion covers. 
  • Velvet: It comprises different types of fibres woven together and is one of the most expensive options with a luxury tag attached to it. Velvet is versatile and can be used for everything from table runners to curtains and cushion covers.
  • Acrylic fabric: The soft and light material is considered the best substitute for wool. It is used for upholstery coverings, rugs, and blankets.

Picking the right décor is essential if you are looking to create a cohesive theme for your home or a specific room, and you should choose the right fabric to sync well with the overall style that you wish to achieve.  

What to consider before choosing upholstery fabric?

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Colour is a primary consideration when it comes to upholstery, but several other factors merit attention:

  • Durability: The durability of a fabric depends on the type of furniture for which it is used, as well as the room in which it is placed. Performance fabrics are an excellent choice in terms of durability as they are fade resistant, ensuring that the colours stay bright for years. Besides this, woven patterns, fabrics with higher thread counts and tighter weaves tend to hold up longer than prints. Also, be sure to pick a sofa upholstery fabric based on usage. If you have young children and pets, then consider easy-to-maintain microfiber fabrics or those with an acrylic blend.             
  • Decor theme: Pick out fabric that complements both the interior decor of your home as well as the furniture. Some materials have a casual style, while others have a more formal look. Ensure that you select an option to suit the room’s mood and theme.
  • Colour: The colour of the sofa fabric is significant as it contributes to the overall look of the decor, especially if the furniture piece is large. Be sure to consider the temperature and the longevity of the colours.
  • Other features: There are several other factors that you need to consider if you don’t want to replace your upholstery too often. These include:
  • Fade resistance: In a room that gets plenty of sunlight or if the furniture is near a window, the fabric should be fade resistant so that the colours can withstand the light without losing their brightness.
  • Protection from pets: If you have pets, then it’s best to avoid the use of delicate fabric such as silk or even textured fabric that might easily rip or tear.
  • Mildew resistance: For homes in humid climates, be sure to look for mildew-resistant material.    

What are the various types of sofa fabric used for upholstery in Indian homes?

modern  by Sunbrella, Modern Textile Amber/Gold

Neuilly Principal


The most commonly used fabrics for upholstery in Indian homes include: 

  • Linen: It adds an earthy charm to the upholstered furniture, whether it’s a vintage armchair or a modern sectional sofa. The advantage of linen is that it is anti-microbial and resistant to mildew, besides preventing dust from settling on its surface. Linen, however, is prone to staining and it doesn’t hold up well to sunlight as the fibre tends to weaken with continuous exposure.
  • Leather: It has a luxurious appearance and is long-lasting. Stains can be removed easily with a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner without damage to the material. The disadvantage of leather is that it is quite expensive and doesn’t have too many colour options. Moreover, it isn’t breathable, making it unsuitable for hot and humid conditions.
  • Silk: With its opulent look, silk can infuse style into any area. Its smooth surface prevents the accumulation of dust. However, silk is quite expensive and is not stain-resistant.

What material is most suitable as curtain fabric?

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Majorque Closeup


The most commonly used curtain fabrics for window dressing in various rooms include:

  • Cotton: The versatile material can be used to achieve a range of styles as it offers a crisp clean feel that suits modern as well as traditional décor styles. It is a very light fabric, and cotton curtains do not need lining as they fall as desired. Depending on the shade chosen, a cotton curtain can either block sunlight in a bright room or filter the intensity of light coming into the area. 
  • Silk: Its aesthetic charm makes silk an ideal curtain material. The fabric is easy to drape and is a popular choice for bedrooms or formal dining rooms. The negatives of silk are that it needs dry cleaning and is susceptible to sun damage, making it less practical when compared to other curtain fabrics.
  • Polyester: This fabric is a common choice as it is durable, easy to maintain, affordable and isn’t susceptible to wrinkles. It can work for bedrooms and living areas.

What are the latest trends in curtain and sofa upholstery fabrics?

modern  by Sunbrella, Modern Textile Amber/Gold

Majorque Principal


Nowadays, with busy modern lifestyles, homeowners have little time for upholstery and drapery fabrics that require high maintenance. Therefore, modern high-performance fabrics such as those from Sunbrella offer a unique advantage for a wide range of applications, including indoor, outdoor, marine, shade and window treatments. The material is extremely versatile and hardy making it suitable even for furniture such as dog beds or bean bag chairs that are prone to wear and tear.

Colour is at the core of Sunbrella fabrics. Most other performance fabric manufacturers dye the fabric using a topcoat, so the colour is just on the surface instead of throughout the material. The fibres in the Sunbrella fabrics are saturated with UV-stabilized pigments before being spun into yarn. As a result, the colour goes all the way through the fabric, ensuring that it stays vibrant for years to come.

In which rooms can Sunbrella fabrics be used?

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Tengile Bedroom


Sunbrella fabric is mildew resistant, fade-resistant, stain-resistant and bleach cleanable. The application of the material can extend across cushion covers, throws, runners, table linen and drapes. The fabric is transitional, ensuring that you can use it in the interior or exterior of your home. They are durable, which makes them an excellent choice for living rooms as well as bedrooms. These fabrics are water-resistant, making them ideal even in outdoor areas such as the terrace, garden, balcony or patio. Sunbrella window and shade treatments work well in any room, even one that has ample sunlight as there is no risk of the fabric fading due to continuous exposure to the harsh light. 

Get ideas on how to create beautiful curtain designs with Sunbrella fabrics.

Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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