All You Need to Know About Furniture Fabric

by Louis Shotten June 03, 2015

Huffman Koos Furniture Fabric


Do you know your Acrylic from your Linen? Don't worry, we do! Sometimes navigating the types, and qualities, pros and cons of furniture fabrics may seem a little overwhelming. That's why we're about to drop some knowledge on you to make selecting your furniture fabric easy as pie. There are two main types of furniture fabrics, Natural Fabrics and Synthetic Fabrics. Natural Fabrics are made from natural fibers like cotton or wool. Synthetic Fabrics are, as you would expect, textiles made from man-made fibers, not natural fibers. Let's learn a little more about the different fabrics that fall into both of those categories.

Natural Fabrics


Linen is made from the flax plant. It's best used in formal living rooms or places that don't get a lot of wear because it's not very durable and tends to soil and wrinkle easily. It does however, resist pilling fading. Just be advised that Linen furniture needs to be professionally cleaned to keep it from shrinking.


Is usually made from animal hides, like cowhide. It is a tough natural fabric that withstands vacuuming (but be gentle) and can be damp wiped clean. You can also clean it with special leather conditioner or even saddle soap.


Generally it holds up against wear, pilling and fading pretty well, but it doesn't really resist soiling or wrinkling too well. For that reason it's often blended with other fabrics to make it more wrinkle and dirt resistant.


Very durable, wool is a natural fiber that comes from animal fleece like sheep or alpaca. Like cotton it's usually blended to make it easier to clean, and to keep it from "felting" (fibers bond together until they resemble felt). It offers good resistance to pilling fading, wrinkling and dirt. Not usually used in upholstery.


Synthetic Fabrics


This durable synthetic fabric is great for furniture that receives heavy wear. It is a good all-around fabric with no major weaknesses.


A type of imitation wool resistant to wrinkling, soiling and fading. Depending on the quality of the fabric, you may see some excessive pilling in lower quality acrylics.


Is one of the strongest upholstery fabrics when blended with other fibers, it's very resilient, and helps the crushing of napped fabrics like velvet and it doesn't readily soil or wrinkle. It does tend to fade and pill.


Rayon was developed as an imitation silk and, linen and cotton which makes it very durable but it does tend to wrinkle easily. Created from wood pulp, it also tends to have that sheen normally found in natural silk.

Louis Shotten
Louis Shotten