Ideal Fabric Choices for Commercial Upholstery

07 June 2021

When selecting new furnishings for your office or reupholstering your existing showroom furniture, fabric choices can be difficult. You may know the colours and patterns that you want, yet choosing the best fabric type may take some research. Commercial settings often need a different type and weight of fabric from the upholstery used for home furnishings.

A major factor when selecting fabrics for upholstery in the workplace is how much use they can withstand. This use factor is measured in double-rubs. Fabrics produced for light use are rated from 8,000 to 10,000 double-rubs. Medium use fabrics for upholstering rate from 10,000 to 15,000 double-rubs.

The majority of residential upholstery fabrics rate between 10,000 and 25,000 double-rubs. Most commercial-grade upholstery fabrics for use in public spaces rate from 100,000 to 250,000 double-rubs.

Best Fabric Choices for Commercial Furniture Upholstery

Ideal fabric selections for use in commercial furniture upholstering are found among the following types of material:

Natural Fabric Types

Linen. This fabric is quite strong and is made from flax. It offers a soft, smooth and slightly lustrous appearance and is resistant to staining and pilling. Yet linen does wrinkle easily, and it is often manufactured in combination with cotton as a linen-cotton blend to create a fabric with more elasticity.

Cotton. As a soft, strong fabric, cotton can wrinkle and can stain easily. Because it can be cleaned using soap and water, cotton is often used for making slipcovers for furniture. However, upholstery fabric that is 100 percent cotton is rare since the cotton is typically blended with other fabrics. Ideal cotton blends are usually from 45 to 60 percent cotton.

Wool. This fabric variety makes a durable upholstery fabric since it contains animal hair. Yet unless it is used as part of a fabric blend, it can feel scratchy, and be a problem to clean and may felt. Most wool upholstery fabric today is a blend.

Leather. Made from animal hide, leather is quite durable as an upholstery material. Since there are varied grade levels of leather on the market, you should shop for top or full-grain leather to ensure long-term use.

Synthetic Upholstery Fabrics

Polyester. This is a top-performing synthetic material that is not often used alone for upholstery. It is usually combined with natural fibres like cotton or wool. Polyester blends are strong, clean easily and resist wrinkling, fading and abrasions.

Velvet. This fabric can qualify as either a natural or synthetic material according to how it is made. Velvet may be composed of silk, cotton or polyester, and the polyester variety is the most durable. Cleaning velvet can be somewhat difficult, yet it offers ultimate comfort, rich texture and many different colour choices.

Microfibre. This fabric is a knit blend polyester that has a softer surface than suede and is easier to clean and maintain. Manufactured with closely woven synthetic fibres, this material is strong and resists moisture. Visually, it has the aesthetic smooth texture of suede.

Rayon. This fabric was designed to mimic the look, feel and stability of linen, cotton and silk. It is a cellulose-type material with good durability, yet it tends to wrinkle. For use as commercial upholstery fabric, rayon is usually combined with other materials to form a strong fabric blend.

Sunbrella. This acrylic material was first used for upholstering outdoor furniture. Nowadays, this is also in demand for upholstering indoor furniture that may be subject to direct sunlight or staining from spilled liquids.

When you contact our experts at Absolute Upholstery located in Petersham, NSW, and serving all of Sydney and surrounding areas, you will obtain excellent advice concerning commercial upholstery fabrics. Our experienced team will guide you in selecting the ideal upholstery material for your new or older office or showroom furniture. They will ensure that your newly upholstered items will offer the ultimate durability while greatly enhancing your business setting decor.


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