Options are a basic part of how the world is structured. We can choose between so many brands of smartphones. There is a seemingly endless number of places where we can order food. So it makes sense that we are also spoiled for choice when it comes to the fabrics we use for upholstery. There are numerous options out there.
The different options aren’t all equal. Some of them have physical properties that make them ideal for some people, but less so for others. It can all depend on conditions like budget, the room itself, the furniture, exposure to sunlight, and even the time you can spend on maintenance. Let’s break down just what the most popular choices are, and where these textiles are best used.
Let’s open with cotton, easily one of the most popular of natural fibers. It has a wide range of applications because it’s relatively easy to harvest and has been with us for centuries.
Cotton is soft and durable, with an ease of maintenance few can match. It is also easy to produce on an industrial scale, processed through Xdknitmachinery equipment, knitting the fibers together into a complete fabric. However, it does have a few key weaknesses. It wrinkles easily if woven, tends to be very easy to ignite, and lacks fade resistance.
Wool is the other ancient fiber, one of the ones that have been with us through human history. It also sees use in upholstery, though it isn’t quite as widespread as cotton.
Wool is soft and tends to stay warmer than average. This makes it great for anything you wear to keep warm, but this isn’t always a good thing for upholstery. Wool is also difficult to clean, with a tendency to absorb liquids and stain easily. Fading is also an issue if you place them in an area that gets regular sunlight. Finally, many have noted moths tend to be drawn to wool.
One of the most beloved fabrics is silk. The look and feel of silk is something that has been prized for how luxurious it appears. There is something posh and glamorous about wearing it that extends to cover your furniture in it.
It’s no secret that high-quality silk is very soft and comfortable. It can keep warm in colder climates, but stay cool in hotter ones. There is also a great deal of formal weight to it, as a fabric choice. However, silk does require greater care and it tends to be easy to stain. If you want to keep the silk in good condition for longer, professional cleaning is required.
The last natural fiber choice is leather. This is manufactured from animal hide, which is likely to remove it from contention for certain crowds.
Durability is the hallmark of this material, along with a sense of style. These properties make them very popular as a choice for upholstery material, though it can be rather expensive. Leather also tends to age well, often looking much better. The catch, though, is how high the cost is, and if it stains or needs repairs, the costs go higher.
Among the more recent synthetic choices is what’s known as microfiber. This one is gaining popularity, perhaps due to its usefulness in cleaning modern electronics and screens. It’s a blended fabric, very forgiving, and soft to the touch. However, it isn’t commonly found for upholstery.
Another synthetic choice is vinyl, which banks on being one of the more affordable options. It also boasts a look and feels that it is similar to leather, though it lacks the characteristic durability. It can also be sensitive to the ambient temperature, making it uncomfortable at certain times of the year. It also doesn’t age as well as leather, tending to crack over time.
If you want a synthetic substitute for wool, acrylic is the choice. It’s cheaper and is also much easier maintenance. It takes less effort to clean and is more resistant to fading due to sunlight. However, it lacks the longevity of wool.
Nylon is also a good choice if you want visual appeal and durability. They also come with the bonus of being stain-resistant and often require little effort to clean. However, their colors fade fast even indoors. They’re best kept away from any direct sunlight or windows.
There is also polyester, the synthetic fiber most likely to appear in upholstery. The durability is the key here, though its ability to fend off mold, mildew, and moths is also a major selling point. It’s also hard to get a stain on it and easy to clean. However, there is a cheap feeling to polyester that can make it seem like a poor choice from a purely stylistic perspective.
Whether you want a natural fiber or something synthetic, the textile industry has a lot of choices for your upholstery needs. The question of which one is right for you is hard to answer. Factors like maintenance, price, stain-resistance, and even ease of cleaning can all tip the scales in one direction or another.