Velvet versus Corduroy in Fabric for Reupholstery: What are the Differences?

23 April 2018

Velvet has always been thought of a lush fabric that was reserved for the exclusive use of the nobility and the aristocracy. Corduroy, on the other hand, was deemed its exact opposite – known for its distinctive corded pattern (properly referred to as a ‘wale’), it was thought of as a ‘poor man’s velvet’, and for a time was even referred to as ‘corded velveteen’.

Invented sometime in the early to mid-18th century, it was a cheaper variety of velveteen that was sold for the express purpose of casual wear, whereas plush and crushed velvet were exclusively employed for formal lounge wear. As the lines between the upper-classes and the working class became more blurred, corduroy became a go-to option for informal sportswear and casual day suits, and velvet became a less common feature in everyday fashion.

Today, while true velvet still remains something of a luxury item, alternatives such as velveteen and velour have made the look of velvet possible at a lesser cost, especially if employed for upholstery applications; while corduroy remains a staple of both the fashion and upholstery industries.

If you want to revamp your current home or office upholstery and are contemplating on either velvet or corduroy, but cannot decide which of the two to pick, here are four of the major differences between the two fabrics.


Durability – velvet lacks significant durability, and while it may be thick and plush, it isn’t exactly resilient to constant wear and tear.

Affordability – true velvet is costly even today. Though not as pricey as in the past, it can still fetch a pretty high sum. The good thing about that is mid-tier furniture that is refurbished in velvet will increase in value, however, since there is a lot of ‘imitation’ velvet in the market of late, it can be quite difficult to obtain authentic velvet within a reasonable price-range.

Maintenance – velvet requires a significant degree of maintenance to look its best, but properly maintained, it can last a good while before there is a need to reupholster.


Durability – corduroy has long been viewed as a durable fabric, and is well-known for its hardy, hard-wearing, and long-lasting nature. It was the go-to choice for workman’s pantaloons in the days when denim wasn’t yet invented, and would do well for upholstery that saw regular use.

Affordability – compared to velvet, corduroy is very affordable, and works best for folks who are on a budget.

Maintenance – because of its hardy nature, corduroy requires very little maintenance aside from the need to keep it dry, aerated, and protected from tears or holes.

If you’re finding it hard to decide what material is best suited to your furniture’s characteristics, or your home or office’s overall aesthetics, then visit Absolute Upholstery – your number one resource for all things upholstery.

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