The right upholstery can completely transform the look and feel of your furniture. As spring and summer bloom, linen and cotton in bright, happy tones suit the mood. The nap (or hand) of chenille lasts forever. Upholstery fabrics are sometimes light enough for window treatments and slipcovers. Cotton is a fiber that grows out of a plant and is woven in many forms. Velvet has one plush side and one plain woven side. Microfiber, which has increased in popularity over the years, is a blend of polyester and polyamide. Cotton can also be washed. Dry Cleanable is a fabric that is dry cleanable, can be cleaned with chemical solvents instead of water. Wool blends can be spot-cleaned when necessary. Cotton is best ironed when the fabric is damp. Linen is a delicate fabric and does not withstand heavy wear; however, linen does resist pilling and fading. Upholstering for specific uses, such as in automobiles and boats, generally has a narrower set of upholstery fabric options. When executed properly, a mix of fabrics can be beautiful. The challenge is to find a few fabrics with a common thread that ties the combination together. Wool is obtained from sheep fleece and the term”virgin wool” denotes new, not recycled wool. Silk has a very soft hand and can be woven into nubby informal textures and shimmering paper-thin sheets. Velvet was originally made from silk for royalty. Tapestry is a heavy, flat-woven fabric features elaborate designs appropriate for various uses throughout the home. Upholstery fabric has so many choices, colors, textures. Consider the luxuries of silk upholstery fabric and its gorgeous appeal. Jacquard is a heavier fabric that tends to be multicolored and used for upholstery, as well as drapery. This tough material can be gently vacuumed, wiped with a damp cloth and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap. Determine where your upholstered pieces will be used in the home. Polypropylene is a manufactured fiber that is a type of Olefin. Polypropylene is quick drying, stain resistant, and exceptionally strong. Some fabrics appear casual, while others might look more formal. Consider the syle of the piece when choosing. Also consider the style of your interior decor. Chenille is a yarn with a fuzzy pile protruding from all sides. Polyurethane is a manmade organic polymer with high elongation and strength. Polyurethane is often used in elastic and plastic or vinyl like textiles. Faux Suede is a fabric woven with a nap to resemble suede. Today’s faux suede is primarily made of microdenier polyester. The natural fabrics are cotton, linen and silk. Today’s consumer is looking for “natural fabrics” and lots of textural interest. Backing is a sprayed coating or another layer of fabric applied to the back of fabric. A backing may be needed to give the face fabric more body or to make it more appropriate for upholstery. Upholstery fabrics are usually a little heavier and more durable than multi-purpose or drapery-weight fabrics. Acetate offers only fair resistance to soil and tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade in the sun. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric; just like you see when you buy linens for the bed. To set the mood, take the color temperature into consideration. Since warm and cool colors affect the mood of the room, try choosing the right upholstery fabric for the right mood. There are many different choices for upholstery fabric. Silks are manufactured by worms. Upholstery in high traffic areas or pieces subjected to daily heavy wear need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven upholstery fabrics. Cotton is a popular plant based fiber that is used extensively for many kinds of upholstery fabric. The Jacquard loom is capable of weaving intricate patterns with many layers and many threads at the same time. Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. Polyester is a manufactured fiber that is resistant to stretching and shrinking. It is also quick drying, wrinkle resistant, and strong. Acrylic resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Sofas, chairs, and ottomans receiving only moderate amounts of wear will do fine with a less durable fabrics. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. Chenille is A soft tufted cord of silk, cotton, or worsted used in embroidery or for fringing. A piece of furniture covered in chenille will still look new in 10 years, depending on how well you take care of it. For a slightly retro or timelessly Scottish look, tartan plaid is another superb choice for seat or couch coverings. Damask is a lustrous fabric (such as linen, cotton, silk, or rayon) that is characterized by its flat, glossy pattern on a solid background. Microdenier / Microfiber is a yarn made of fibers that tend to be thinner than a silkworm’s web. Most microfibers are synthetics such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, or rayon. Matelasse is a heavy fabric with a soft hand. Matelasse has the appearance of being puffy or quilted. 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. Linen is best to wash it in cold water to avoid shrinkage. Chenille is soft to the touch and very popular as an upholstery fabric for sofas and chairs. Acrylic is a synthetic fiber and was developed as imitation wool. Just like in fashion, you can dramatically change the look of your home by changing the fabrics that surround you.