Choosing The Perfect Upholstery Fabric


Upholstery Fabrics are designed for covering furniture so they are generally heavier and more durable than general purpose furnishing fabrics used for curtains, cushions and other soft furnishings.

Re-upholstery and Upcycling

Recovering a piece of furniture can completely transform the look to give it a new lease of life and is a cost effective way to update large furniture items. If you're tackling a re-upholstery project yourself be sure to choose a fabric that is easy to work with and suitable for the intended use. 
📷 Image Credit: @decorcafenet - chairs upholstered in Palm Leaf Velvet
There are a number of factors you need to take into account when choosing upholstery fabric, including the end use and how much wear the item will get.
Upholstered furniture receives varying degrees of use depending on the furniture type and where it is located. For upholstered items in your home it is important that the fabric used is able to withstand the required level of use. Items that are subject to daily heavy wear such as a living room sofa need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven fabric with high abrasion resistance, whereas  for chairs, occasional stools or ottomans and other items such as headboards that only receive moderate amount of wear you will be able to use a slightly less durable fabric.
📷 Image credit: @thistlesteading - side table upholstered in Heritage Yellow & Grey

Choosing an Upholstery Fabric

Generally, the higher the thread count, (the number of threads per square inch) and the more tightly the fabric is woven, the better the fabric will wear. Check the fabric specifications to ensure that the fabric has a high enough abrasion resistance and is therefore suitable for upholstery.
Martindale rub test ratings are a good indication of how hardwearing a fabric is. For headboards and dining chairs, look for fabrics with a Martindale rating of 15,000 or more. For armchairs, sofas and footstools a rating of 30,000 or more is recommended. For very high use and contract applications choose fabric with a rating of over 40,000.
Upholstery fabrics need to comply with fire retardant regulations. If your fabric is not fire retardant, it can be treated to make it FR or look for options that are inherently fire resistant such as 100% wool or FR polyester.
At McAlister Textiles we have a wide range of upholstery fabrics to suit the taste and style of your interior from smart wool look checks and classic herringbone to sumptuous plain and printed velvets.
Plains and textures are a great option for upholstery as you do not need to worry about a pattern repeat. Browse our Highlands, Harmony and Eternity plain fabric ranges or if you're looking for rich vibrant colour our best selling plain matt velvet  is available in a range of 25 stunning colours. 
If you need any help on choosing fabric for your upholstery project or require details of martindale abrasion test results for any of our upholstery fabrics, get in touch with our friendly team for advice.


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