Different Types – Furniture Fabric

I know the challenge you face when furnishing your home.  Buying pieces of furniture that are available in a wide variety of colors and different types of fabric, seems to be complicated.  I hear you and I can relate as I faced that dilemma when I furnished my home recently.  To help you, I’ve put together the research that I’ve done during my furniture selection.  I’ve itemized below the most common fabrics used and their advantages and disadvantages that will be helpful in choosing the one that is suitable for your needs.

In case you haven’t seen my review of faux vs real leather, you can click here.  Also, my polyester sofa review that you can see by clicking here.  If you are interested to see how my furnishings look like in each room in my home, you can visit my home projects page.

Hopefully, you can find your furniture soon, so you can beautify your home that can be enjoyed by your whole family.


The Different Types – Furniture Fabric


Cotton is very easy to care for.  The most common include duck cotton or duck canvas.


– Breathability

– Pilling Resistance

– Abrasion Resistance

– Machine Washable

– Hypoallergenic

– Absorbent


– Stains easily

– Poor resistance to wrinkling and fading

– Flammable if not treated


Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world and is derived from the stem of the flax plant.  Like cotton, it is also breathable and absorbent and ideal for hot weather condition.


– Durability – Linen is one of the strongest and durable natural fibers.  It is stronger than cotton and dries more quickly.

– Breathability-Like cotton is also breathable and absorbent and is ideal in cooling your body in the hot summer months.

– Softness- the more it is used, the softer it becomes.

-Eco-Friendly- fax plants are easy to grow as it requires no fertilizer and no additional water other than the rainwater.  It is naturally resistant to insects and diseases that it requires a little use of a pesticide.

– Resistance to pilling

– Hypoallergenic – it is highly resistant to bacteria, microflora, and mildew that is highly recommended for allergy sufferers


-Wrinkle Prone- when folded, doesn’t bounce back, hence, not  wrinkle friendly

– Durable but not stain resistant- Although linen will stand the test of time, it’s not stain resistant.  For this reason, it is not recommended for use in high traffic areas and around children and pets.

– Poor resistance to fading

– Must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage


Wool fabric is fiber from sheep, goats, rabbits and alpaca.  Synthetic or natural fibers may be blended with it.


– Durable

– Moderate Resistance to abrasion

– Nice to touch

– It is good in the cold winter months as it feels warm on your skin

– Allergens and mold resistance as it repels moisture

– Naturally Flame resistant


– Sunlight resistance is poor

– It requires dry cleaning

– Stains easily

– Not recommended to use if you leave in warm, tropical areas

– More expensive due to its high production cost

– It becomes discolored and brittle when bleached

–  Moths are attracted to it.


Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by several insects.  In general, only moth caterpillar silk has been used for manufacturing textile.


– Soft to touch

– It drapes well

– Durable

– It is absorbent

– Lightweight

– Soil, mildew and moth resistant

– Very comfortable

– Hypoallergenic


– Expensive
– It needs dry cleaning

-The color yellows with age

– Perspiration, sun, and soap weakens the fabric

– Water can stain it

– Silverfish and insects are attracted to it


Real leather is more commonly known as cowhide.  65% of leather comes from cattle hides.  Other types of leather are also available which comes from other animals such as snake, alligator, buffalo, sheep, goat and more.


1. The marks, scars, veins, and blemishes add characteristics and give it a distinctive beauty.

2. It becomes more attractive as it ages.

3. Overtime, it becomes softer and more comfortable.

4. Doesn’t absorb smells.

5. More environmentally friendly than faux.

6. It is low maintenance.  It only needs a regular wiping using a clean, damp cloth.

1. More expensive than its counterparts.

2. The color can fade when subjected to constant sunlight.

3. It is very porous and absorbent that a drop of liquid needs to be wiped instantly to prevent stains, thus, a pigmented leather is more practical.


Artificial leather, also known as synthetic leather, is marketed under many names and Faux leather is one of them.  Others names include “leatherette”, “vegan leather”, “PU leather” and “PVC leather”. Faux leather is a cheaper alternative for leather.  It is used to manufacture products, such as upholstery, footwear, clothing, to name a few.  It is made from a plastic base and treated with PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride or with PU or Polyurethane.

1. It has a similar appearance and feel like that of the real leather but more affordable.

2. Cleaning is easily done once a week by wiping it gently using a microfibre cloth and a mixture of water with a small amount of dish soap.

3. It is machine made, therefore, can be dyed into several colors and is usually made fade resistant.

3. Some people prefer it over the real leather as no animals are harmed in producing it.


1. Less durable than real leather.  It has about a third of the real leather lifespan.

2. Thinner than the real leather and has a plastic smell or rubber.

3. It becomes uncomfortable in time, as it cracks and splits.

4. Unlike leather that develops luster overtime, faux leather doesn’t have that characteristic.


Polyester is a synthetic fiber made from a chemical reaction between an acid and an alcohol.


– Strong and durable

– Quick drying

– Can be laundered

– Good resistance to wrinkling, fading, stretching, shrinking, abrasion and mildew

– Resilient. It tends to maintain its shape and prevents sagging from use.

– Crisp but soft to the touch


– Not breathable

– Prone to heat damage

– Less absorbent


Acetate is a synthetic fiber that has that silk look.


– It is quick-drying

– Pilling Resistance

– Shrinking Resistance

– Has sheen and luster like that of a silk


– Not a strong fabric

– Wrinkle prone

– Requires dry-cleaning.


Nylon like polyester is also a synthetic fiber.  It is best blended with other fabrics to enhance its properties.


– Highly durable

– Resistance to wrinkling, shrinkage, abrasion, and stain

– Lightweight

– Easy to clean and maintain.  Good fabric for area, such as a kid’s playroom

– Its wide variety of uses makes it versatile.

– Quick drying

– Resilient


– Heat prone

– Less absorbent

– Poor sunlight resistance

– Poor resistance to pilling

– Static


It is a synthetic fiber and is known as a chemical compound Polypropylene or P2.


– A durable and strong fabric

– Resistance to fading, staining, abrasion, and mildew

– Sunlight resistance

– Quickly dries

– Easy to clean

– Waterproof and good for outdoor space


– Low absorbency

– Extreme sunlight can affect it, however, stabilizers are now added during the fabric processing to resolve this issue.






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