5 Of The Best Fabric Choices For Upholstery

You spotted a fabulous chair.  It would look great in your bedroom as an accent chair, the only problem is, it looks dated. What can you do?

Upholstering can be a challenge that is simpler than you think.  Granted I wouldn’t tackle a couch on your first try, but a side chair that allows you to pull and staple fabric in place can be a weekend project that most people could tackle.

When it comes to upholstered furniture, nothing is more important than the type of fabric that you choose for your furniture. Fabric can provide an immediate indication of quality and taste, and can be a direct statement about the style you want to present.

When considering what kind of fabric to select, a few questions must be asked.

1. What type of furniture piece is being covered? Is it an accent chair, or a chair that will be used every day?

2. Is a pattern appropriate? Would a pattern overwhelm the room?  Would the pattern date?

3. Is the overall scheme warm or cool? Blue, purples, and greens can present a cool tone, where as browns, beige, yellows can warm up a room.  What colors am I attracted to overall?

4. Is durability and stain resistance important? Homes with small children, and pets may want to consider patterned fabrics, or fabrics with darker colored tones, which will hide the dirt and wear on the furniture between cleanings.


Here are just a few fabrics that are commonly used for European furniture upholstery choices:


Twill is a durable fabric with a diagonal grain produced by weft yarns passing over one or more warp threads, then under two or more warp yarns. Herringbone, denim, and gabardine are woven in this manner.




Jacquard is a fabric woven on a Jacquard loom that uses perforated cards to create intricate patterns. Damasks, tapestries and brocades are woven this way.

Interior designer Paige Schnell Traditional Home September 2013 Photography by Colleen Duffley
Interior designer Paige Schnell Traditional Home September 2013
Photography by Colleen Duffley



Corduroy is a heavy cotton or synthetic fabric with evenly spaced ridges or wales running the length of the fabric



Gingham is a cotton or synthetic printed in one color on white creating a check.

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Linen is a strong yarn produced from flax that can be woven into fabric. Slubs, which are woven fibers are inherent in the yarn, but they are not flaws. For all linens beauty, it lacks elasticity which results in wrinkles. It is wide to have it backed before using it as upholstery. Linen is blended with cotton.