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Upholstery Fabric Information

Upholstery is the art of providing furniture with padding and covering. An upholsterer typically works on home decor, but some specialize in the marine or automobile industry. The practice of upholstery originated in Europe, particularly London, in the 18th century. Before that, many chairs featured either bare seats or fabric coverings without padding or springs inside for cushioning.

There are many different choices for upholstery fabric. Leather is a very popular choice as an upholstery fabric, as it is delightfully soft yet resistant to spills and stains. Leather furniture can be rather expensive, although the same look can be achieved with the use of fake leather. The attractiveness of the napped suede look has lead to microsuede gaining in popularity in upholstery fabric applications, replicating the feel of real suede and adding stain resistance and durability, in addition to lower costs. For a slightly retro or timelessly Scottish look, tartan plaid is another superb choice for seat or couch coverings. For the ultimate in spill and stain resistance, however, synthetic fibers such as vinyl are used extensively.

Upholstering for specific uses, such as in automobiles and boats, generally has a narrower set of upholstery fabric options. Autos typically are clad in either leather or cloth, ranging from ultra expensive to the very basic. Marine furniture requires a significant amount of heat and water resistance, resulting in heavy uses of vinyl and polyester.

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