When bringing an old sofa or chair to life one of the first considerations is always the color but at some point, you are going to have to look for the best upholstery fabric to use. This might sound like an easy task once you know the style you want but there are many factors to consider. These will contribute to the durability of your new look furniture so it is an important purchase.
We have scoured the market to compile a list of the best upholstery fabrics. Each one has something unique to offer and would make an excellent addition to any home project. With different materials available, and a range of unique designs, these are some of the best-loved products you can find.
- Best Linen
LA Linen Roll Burlap Fabric (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Chairs
smiry Stretch Spandex Jacquard Dining Room Chair Seat Covers (Amazon) – Review
- Best Faux Leather
VViViD Black Weatherproof Faux Leather Finish Marine Vinyl Fabric (5ft x 54 Inch) (Amazon) – Review
- Best Vintage
Ambesonne Vintage Fabric by The Yard (Amazon) – Review
- Best Cotton
James Thompson 9.3 oz. Canvas Duck Navy by the Yard (Amazon) – Review
- Best Silk
Silks Limited Iridescent Peacock Dupioni Silk – 54 inches Wide (Amazon) – Review
Best Linen: LA Linen Roll Burlap Fabric
For many people, linen is the best upholstery fabric because it resists fading and piling. However, there is a level of added care needed when washing but if you are looking for a quality linen upholstery option then this is among the best. LA Linen has created this linen to be more durable than others and it is made from 100% natural jute burlap.
The biodegradable fabric has a soft feel which means dry cleaning or spot cleaning is best but the rustic look will fit into any living area with ease. It is also incredibly versatile, making it suitable for a variety of craft projects not limited to upholstery so you can use any cut-offs for embroidery as well. The natural burlap smell is a sign of the quality and comes out easily when aired.
- 100% natural jute burlap
- Pleasant color
- Comes in a variety of sizes
- Excellent decorative fabric
Best For Chairs: smiry Stretch Spandex Jacquard Dining Room Chair Seat Covers
These slipcovers are as convenient as they come making them a great option for upholstery fabric for chairs. They are available in a variety of colors and come in a pack of 4 so you can just slip them over those tired looking chairs within seconds. The 92% polyester and 8% spandex material stretches easily because of the elastic band it stays in place well.
This is a great option for anyone who wants to protect their chair cushions from the wear and tear that children can create and has a pleasant lattice jacquard style. Anti-wrinkle and dust-proof they are a decent amount of wear in them and a soft feel. These seat covers are designed to stop your pets from ruining your chairs or give your dining room a refresh for a reasonable price.
- Good value
- Plenty of color options available
- Anti-wrinkle and dust proof
- Easy to install
- Not for cutting and creating your own
Best Faux Leather: VViViD Black Weatherproof Faux Leather Finish Marine Vinyl Fabric (5ft x 54 Inch)
This hard-wearing faux leather upholstery fabric is made from vinyl and offers the same texture and feel for a fraction of the price. It is completely waterproof so you don’t have to worry about any spills from impacting the quality and it is also resistant to UV rays, scratches, and dirt.
A lot of people like this style of upholstery fabric because it is easy to wipe clean and can be cut to size. This means your chairs, sofas, benches, and beyond can all be tailored to your desire. Because it is durable you can even cut it for outside use and has a soft yet supple feel to it. A lot of people use it for their car interior and comment on how it stands up to the test of time.
- Vinyl fabric is hard-wearing
- Fine for outside use
- Good value for the size
- Looks better close up
Best Vintage: Ambesonne Vintage Fabric by The Yard
With some of the most beautiful patterns, there is lots of inspiration to be had from these vintage style upholstery fabric designs. It is made from a medium weight, 100% polyester Turkish dock fabric that is resistant to fading and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Ambesonne uses no dyes in the making of these durable upholstery fabrics and with a wide range of options, you can pick anything from the vintage floral designs to something modern like a bicycle pattern that would suit a boys room. With eco-friendly colors and different size options, each purchase is cut separately and is ideal for home craft projects like reinventing an old ottoman and has is designed and printed in the USA.
- Medium weight
- Plenty of design options
- 100% polyester Turkish dock fabric
- Available in different sizes
- Other fabrics are softer
Best Cotton: James Thompson 9.3 oz. Canvas Duck Navy by the Yard
This pleasant cotton design is one of the most durable upholstery fabrics on our list and has the benefit of coming in an easy to love navy design. 100% cotton, and fine to wash on a cold setting, it is easy to keep in top condition for your upholstery projects.
Sold by the yard and then cut to each order, it is 60 inches wide and is thick enough to give new life to a couch or chair. It is family-friendly and will hold up pretty well to washing before it starts to fade as all cotton does. 9.3 oz and able to stand up to spills and spot cleaning with ease, it is a quality cotton fabric to transform a tired sofa into something that looks brand new.
- 100% cotton
- Durable and easy to maintain
- Sold by the yard
- Pleasant navy design
- Cotton does fade over time
Best Silk: Silks Limited Iridescent Peacock Dupioni Silk – 54 inches Wide
Also available in a 44-inch wide version, this quality silk upholstery fabric looks great and is available in a series of eye-catching colors. We like the yarn-dyed peacock color but there are plenty of others to bring some life into a living area. As with all silk, it is delicate but there is an elegance to it.
From the hand-woven dupioni to the weaves slubs, there is a lot to like about it and many customers comment on how challenging it can be to find this quality in stores. The rich colors stand up well to regular wear and despite being lightweight, it is remarkably strong.
- High-quality 100% silk
- Eye-catching color options
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Can be a bit pricey for larger projects
When it comes to your furniture, there comes a time when you might consider buying something new, cleaning it up a little, or transforming it for a fraction of the price of what you would have to pay for a new sofa or chair. No matter what your upholstery skills are like, there are plenty of resources available for guiding you through the process of fixing it into place.
Still, the fabric itself needs to stand up to the test of time and some materials are better suited to home projects than others. This, along with the quality that a brand is offering are important factors to consider, but there are many more.
This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide.
We will go into greater detail a little later but this will determine how much wear your chairs and sofas can take before they start to look tired. Some are far better than others and each one offers a different look and feel.
A family might consider the likes of leather or faux leather to be a good idea as they wipe clean easily whilst those who have an elegant living area will find that silk and cotton complements the room well.
You want a continuous cut when purchase upholstery fabric as otherwise you will end up with a patchwork design that you have sewn together. The width is also important. It is easy to find fabric for creating chair covers but if you are trying to completely cover a sofa, look for a wide cut of fabric that is easy to work with.
This is important as there aren’t many ways you can ensure that placing leather in a formal setting will work. This also goes for the character of the furniture you are upgrading. Any vintage or classically designed chair might need something more sympathetic to the era is originated from.
A major factor in any project, the color of the fabric is often the first consideration, and for good reason. This is what adds to the character and should be harmonious with the styles and colors within the room.
Any large piece of furniture is going to be one of the main focal points within a room so this is something you have to get right.
Neutrals are popular and a safe bet but it might be best to avoid light colors and delicate accents if you have young children or pets who are allowed on the furniture.
Resistance To Fading
Some materials are better at this than others but consider the fact that most will fade a little as time goes by. The likes of cotton are less resistant to fading so no matter what brand you go with, this should be something you notice eventually. If placed near a window then this is going to be even more the case because of the exposure to sunlight.
Anything that attracts and collects the dust or dander is a nightmare if you have allergies. If you have pets then make sure you go with anti-dust upholstery fabric.
There is no right or wrong and it should be considered a good thing that there are so many options. Here are some of the most common natural upholstery fabrics.
Durable and hard-wearing, leather is good for families although it is tough to manipulate and fit. Expect to have to pay more for this high-quality material.
This sits somewhere in the middle of delicate and hard-wearing but generally, cotton is a good, durable option. As an upholstery fabric, it works because it does not collect dust so easily and wears well.
A popular upholstery fabric which is good news for the consumer as you can often find it in a variety of colors. It is susceptible to wrinkling and can be more challenging to clean than others but the pleasant soft feels are pretty hard wearing and is resistant to fading.
For many people, this is one of the prettiest and elegant materials for upholstery and looks great when covering the seat of a chair. Less durable than others, it is better for formal areas.
A common fabric for upholstery, it is often combined with other materials to ensure it is resistant to wrinkling and fading. Because it is reasonably priced you can use it for larger projects.
This is a useful fabric for when you want a cheaper version of wool although the sub-par products might pill in high traffic areas. It is a good option for stain resistance and fading.
This is the case of some debate as every family home is different and although it is not to everyone’s taste, vinyl and leather are some of the most durable for families. With young sticky hands or spills at an abundance, it is always good to have a fabric that wipes easily and is waterproof.
This is where vinyl and leather excel.
You can choose one of two options, you can go for a quick fix that might not be as hard-wearing but will protect the material underneath such as a simple polyester and spandex blend or go for something better for in the long term.
This can mean a faux leather that wipes easily and is durable or some sort of suede, weather that is faux suede or the genuine article.
This very much depends on the material used but you can expect to be able to completely reupholster an old chair for anything from $150 and above.
Some people pay over the $1,000 mark for high-quality fabric but you can get a lot of wear for $200 – $500. Genuine leather is going to cost more than quality cotton although features such as unique patterns are going to hike the price a little.