Creative,  DIY,  Lifestyle

Guest Post | A Guide to Furniture Reupholstering Fabrics

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Green velvet loveseat sofa in front of a white wall, on wooden floor. The best fabrics for furniture reupholstery on This Splendid Shambles

Always wondered how to do furniture reupholstering?

Have you been considering changing your furniture’s look because you want it to look new and stylish? You might want to try furniture reupholstering! Reupholstering is one of the best ways to change the look of your furniture and change the vibes of your house, without having to commit to buying whole new lounge suites or outdoor seatting.

What is furniture reupholstering?

Reupholstery entails more than just re-covering your furniture in the most up-to-date fabrics. It also includes the professional work of supplying fabric/leather covers, webbing springs, or padding to furniture by a furniture specialist. It often also requires the fine art of removing the old fabrics from your chair, sofa, or pouffe, and replacing them with new ones.

In this guide, you will learn about different upholstery fabric, and how to choose which will one be best for your DIY project.

Woman holding a long length of green fabric. The best fabrics for furniture reupholstery on This Splendid Shambles

Furniture reupholstering fabrics to try out

Before you reupholster, you need to have a solid plan that will serve as your blueprint. The use of good fabric ensures that the cloth is long-lasting and won’t wear out. To figure out if the fabric is of good quality, run it through the machine; if it’s still in good shape, it’s good quality!


Cotton is a compelling candidate for reupholstering. With a wide array of styles, colours, and patterns to choose from, Cotton is a popular option for furniture reupholstering. The pros to con are that it’s smooth and long-lasting, while the downside to using cotton is that it’s prone to wrinkling and is easily marked. Since most cotton can be washed with soap and water, it’s a popular option for slipcovers rather than a full reupholstering project.

The other aspect of this material you want to be aware of is that cotton upholstery fabric is rarely 100% cotton; it’s usually part of a mix. Always check the fabric labels.


Leather is the perfect fabric for people who have pets, as the pet hair doesn’t tend to get stuck in leather the way it would other fabrics. Also, it’s a fabric that doesn’t require too much maintenance. Upholstery leather is best suited for covering the interiors of different types of furniture such as sofas, benches, and bed heads.

When you’re looking to buying leather for your upholstery projects, we recommend you use genuine leather. While it does cost more than faux leather, you’re going to get a lot more wear out of it. Leather is a must-have for those looking to purchase something beautiful, natural, and long-lasting.

Bright purple velvet chair next to a small coffee table with a red mug and small pot plant on it. White wall. The best fabrics for furniture reupholstery on This Splendid Shambles


If you’re after than luxurious look for your furniture, then velvet might be the fabric for you! Try looking for ‘Velvet upholstery fabric UK‘ for tons of great options. Even though its glamorous and high-style appearance would lead you to believe otherwise, velvet is very durable.

Since velvet doesn’t have any raised weaves or loose threads and has a flat pile similar to a rug weave, it’s difficult to catch, making it great for houses with pets (the fur just falls off!). You’ll also find that polyester velvets is even more resilient than their natural fibre counterparts.


Like velvet, linen is widely regarded as one of the most luxurious fabrics, making it a prominent alternative for furniture. Linen is a natural fibre made from flax that is pretty strong. It’s silky, gentle, and lustrous by nature.

Linen is naturally resistant to pilling and soiling, but it wrinkles easily, making it more suitable for informal settings than formal ones. It’s sometimes blended with cotton for added elasticity, which another aspect of linen to bear in mind if you’re thinking of using it in your next project.


Microfiber is a stain-resistant polyester fabric that is super light. It’s another great option for furniture upholstery, as its velvety and suede-like texture ensures that you are mega comfortable. It’s made of tightly woven synthetic fibres that offer longevity and moisture resistance while retaining the suede-like aesthetic. Unlike suede, it’s also very easy to clean.


Rayon, which was created as a substitute for silk, linen, and cotton. Although rayon’s texture and flexibility make it an excellent option for various garments (dresses, skirts, and floaty tops), it is a delicate fabric that can stretch, shrink, or bleed onto other clothes when washed in a regular machine. While it’s also prone to wrinkles in clothing, recent advancements have made high-quality rayon an efficient upholstery fabric for families, so it’s worth looking into.

Grey colour outdoor sofa, with grey, yellow and orange cushions. The best fabrics for furniture reupholstery on This Splendid Shambles


Upholstery fabrics made of olefin are becoming incredibly popular. Melted plastic pellets are woven into yarn to create this fabric. It is a good option for furniture that will be subjected to a lot of use. It’s stain, mildew, abrasion, and sunlight resistant so that it can be used both inside and out. Furthermore, olefin is naturally immune to water-based stains because the plastic fibres do not absorb water.


Sunbrella is an acrylic fabric explicitly designed for use on outdoor furniture. Like Olefin, it is resistant to spills and direct sunlight so is often used for outdoor cushion covers and the like. If you need your furniture to withstand the elements, this is the fabric for you!


Choosing the best fabric is ultimately the first thing you need to consider when deciding to reupholster your furniture.

While there are many types of fabric you could try out, you need to consider your project, whether your furniture is inside or out, whether pets or children are going to be using the furniture, and how much wear and tear it might see. We hope this list of good furniture upholstery fabrics gives you some ideas as to where to start your search.

Disclaimer: this is a guest post written by Yorkshire Fabric Shop, and edited by Anjali Kay.