A fabric can completely rejuvenate a sofa or transform a window, however the huge range of choices can be quite overwhelming.

This guide hopes to help you understand differences in fabrics and help find a fabric choice you are satisfied with.

Fabric can be divided into 3 clear categories:

  • Natural fibre
  • Natural and Synthetic fibre blend
  • Synthetic fibre

Certain fabrics are not suitable for upholstery, this can be determined by 'The rub test'. - A test for abrasion resistance.

The Thread Count also factors into this, this refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher this quantity the more tightly woven the fabric is and therefore the better it will wear.

You can measure this information for yourself by checking the Composition of a fabric.

[caption id="attachment_56499" align="alignnone" width="215"]capture Taken from KensingtonDesign.com - Free Fabric Samples[/caption]


Furthermore, the symbols featured above also tell you how to care for your fabric when cleaning:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="393"]Fabric Care Symbols2 Credit to the Cleaning Institute for this helpful guide.[/caption]

Natural Fibres


Very commonly used in upholstery due to its soft touch, wrinkle resistance and fade resistance. Wool is often blended with synthetic fibres to make it easier to clean and lower the price, as alone wool is quite expensive.


Spun into yarn Cotton is a plant based fibre. As is common with natural fibres it is luxuriously soft and breathable. Yet, is combined with synthetics for durability as it is not very well resistant to soil wrinkling and fire. The weave can also have an effect on the durability, Damask weaves are formal, and so less durable than canvas (duck and sailcloth) which also offer a casual feel.


The main strength of this fibre is its coolness in heat, others include its smooth texture, lint-free, pilling free and durable  However it is best suited to areas with little traffic as its susceptible to wrinkling and soil, it will not wear well.


Silk provides a smooth and delicate texture. Surprisingly it is one of the most durable natural fibres however it can be difficult to clean and is thus used in low traffic areas.

Jute -

Jute has almost been made obsolete by Synthetic materials, however it remains relevant as it is bio degradable.


Synthetic Fibres


Developed as an imitation of silk. Acetate can withstand piling shrinking and water damage.


Developed to be an imitation of wool, it resists wear, wrinkling, soiling and fading. Depending on the quality of acrylic fibres they can suffer some pill damage. Low qualities face this quite excessively.


Rarely used on its own, Nylon is normally blended with other fabrics to make it one of the strongest fabrics in the industry. It's only weakness is fading and pill.


Good for commonly used furnishings, this fibre has no pronounced weaknesses.


Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester helps naturals' resistance to wrinkles and fading when blended. When blended with wool, polyester aggravates pilling problems.


Developed as an imitation of Silk, linen and cotton it resembles their main quality of durability, the only downside being it wrinkles.


Natural Synthetic blends

Common blends:

  • Polyester and cotton - Durability and Comfort
  • Spandex and Cotton - Spandex is stretchable and durable whilst cotton offers comfort.
  • Cotton, Polyester and Rayon - Breathable due to the Cotton, polyester's strength as well as the shininess of rayon. This durability means that if wrinkled, it'll bounce back.

Credit: Romo Fabrics


Choosing Fabric colours:

Finally, whilst there are some amazing fabrics with extensive pattern details, flat muted colours are very easy to use and fashionable at this time. Using a plain colour for your furnishings opens a world of possibilities for customization with cushions and throws. Depending on the use of this fabric we advise against light colours as they are easily dirtied and stained.

See our range of Fabric Samples.

We have organized our fabrics into feels for your ease. These follow themes that the fabrics fall in to for instance; Drama or Stripped back and Raw. We have create a Fabric Sample Guide.


If you need inspiration for Curtains read our Blog.