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Types of Upholstery

Types of Upholstery

Are you in the process of furnishing your home? Decorating a room with upholstered furniture allows you to pick pieces of furniture with personality and show off your discerning taste. Whether you are on the hunt for an indulgent chaise lounge or a soft and sophisticated sofa, there will come a time where you have to decide on the type of upholstery material you want. There are many types of upholstery, and choosing the right one will make the difference between a room you love to look at and a room you love to spend time in. In this guide, we take a close look at some of the most popular upholstery materials on the market to give you an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Different Types of Upholstery

  1. Acetate: This synthetic material was designed to imitate silk in both look and texture. It is created with spun filaments of cellulose taken from wood pulp. Though it is resistant to mildew and shrinking, acetate fabric has also won popularity because it does not pill and is quick to dry. Acetate upholstery has a luxurious sheen and a good ability to take dyes. However, acetate fabric is not as strong as other upholstery materials and it wrinkles easily, which makes it a good choice for statement pieces that won’t be used on a regular basis.

  2. Chenille: This ultra-soft upholstery material is primarily produced from cotton, but it is also made of acrylic, olefin, rayon, silk, and wool. Because it can be easily stretched, chenille requires a backing and it is sewn in tightly woven loops to achieve a three-dimensional look. Chenille is not the best option for areas where children and pets will be using upholstered furniture frequently, because dust and debris can get caught between the delicate fibers.

  3. Cotton: This soft material has become a staple in our everyday lives, especially in the home. Cotton is produced from the natural fibers in the seed coats of cotton plants, which grow all over the world. Used as upholstery, cotton is breathable, comfortable, and easy to dye in many color combinations as well as resistant to fading and abrasion.

  4. Leather: This natural material is created by tanning animal rawhides and skins, which makes this upholstery choice both durable and flexible. Leather is commonly made from cattle hide, but it can also be made from almost any animal skin, including amphibians, mammals, and reptiles. Tanning alters the collagen fibers present in the flesh of the hide, forcing them into an imputrescible state so they are not liable to decomposition. Leather is easy to clean and stain-resistant, which makes for an excellent long-term investment piece. Leather can be difficult to maintain with pets living in the home, which is why distressed leather has become a popular choice for pet owners who worry about scratches affecting the way their upholstered furniture looks. Faux leather, also known as pleather, is an eco-friendly alternative that has all the aesthetic appeal of natural leather without the steep price.

  5. Linen: This plant-based family of fibers is made from the stalks of flax, which is typically mixed with synthetic materials for added durability. Linen is affordable, eco-friendly, and naturally moth-resistant but its ability to resist pilling and fading has made it an enduring choice for formal spaces, such as dining rooms and living rooms.

  6. Nylon: This synthetic group of chemically related fibers is very versatile and used to make a variety of items. When used as upholstery, nylon is resilient as well as resistant to abrasion, insects, mildew, and wrinkling. However, it is susceptible to heat and sunlight, so you shouldn’t place pieces with nylon upholstery in areas of direct light.

  7. Olefin: This synthetic family of fibers is derived from ethylene and propylene. Olefin is resistant to abrasion, chemicals, mildew, and moisture but it can be sensitive to heat and damaged by sunlight. Olefin can mimic wool in appearance but it is also used to make flat woven fabrics and velvets.

  8. Polyester: This synthetic blend of textile fibers is famously soft and easy to clean, not to mention resistant to fading, pilling, and wrinkling. Light color combinations of polyester upholstery are more susceptible to staining, so we recommend choosing a dark hue if you plan to use polyester upholstery for a frequently used piece of furniture.

  9. Silk: This natural family of fibers is widely regarded as a luxurious material. Although it can be expensive, silk serves as a sound long-term investment for anyone who values heirloom quality. Silk is available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and thread counts. However, silk is susceptible to sun damage and it requires dry cleaning due to its delicate nature. We recommend choosing silk for more formal spaces, kept separate from children and pets.

  10. Velvet: This luxurious woven material is made from a variety of natural or synthetic fibers. Although it can be difficult to clean once a stain sets in, velvet is soft to the touch and made available in an array of rich color choices that reflect light in a beautiful way. When it comes to luxe accent pieces or a plush lounge chair in your living room, velvet would make a wonderful choice. To ensure easier cleaning, opt for velvet made of acrylic, nylon, or olefin.

  11. Wool: This family of natural fibers is obtained from the coat of sheep and other animals, such as camels, goats, and rabbits. The woolen fleece of the animal’s coat is sheared on an annual basis and priced depending on crimp, yield, color, fiber diameter, and fiber staple strength. Wool is known for its coziness, but it is also commonly blended with synthetic fibers to make it more useful throughout the seasons as well as easier to clean. Wool is quite durable, it doesn’t wrinkle or fade, and it is soil-resistant. However, wool is not as affordable as other upholstery materials.

At Laurel Crown, we offer all different types of upholstery options or you can use your own material to create a custom piece of furniture that suits your home. If you have any questions about this article or would like to learn more about our selection of upholstered furniture, please feel free to contact us for additional information or further assistance.

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