What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?

What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?

Upholstery is the soft covering made of webbing, padding, springs, and covers as well as fabric or leather which is used to cover furniture such as chairs, couches, and headboards. Depending on where a piece of furniture is being used, you may choose to have a durable fabric or delicate fabric to cover your upholstery. Furniture that is used in high traffic areas like the living room should be covered with the most durable upholstery fabric. This will ensure that your furniture maintains its original shape and color for as long as possible.

The type of fabric you have on your furniture will also determine how you can clean and maintain it. Some fabrics may also be easier to repair in case of damage. This is why many people wonder how often you should vacuum upholstered furniture. If you have the most durable sofa fabric you can get away with vacuuming your furniture on a weekly basis.

So, what is the most durable fabric for upholstery? Generally, fabrics with a tight weave pattern tend to be durable. Additionally, fabrics that have their patterns woven into them tend to be more durable than fabrics that have a pattern printed onto them. Read on for our guide to the different types of fabric and our upholstery fabric durability ratings.

What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?
What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?

Natural Vs Synthetic Fibers

Upholstery fabric can either be made from natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Natural fabrics are derived from plants and animals and include cotton, wool, and leather. Synthetic fibers are manmade. Examples of synthetic fabrics include polyester and microfiber.


Cotton is a fabric harvested from plants and according to how it is woven it can be very durable or very delicate. Heavily woven cotton fabrics like duck, sailcloth and denim are very durable. But lightly woven fabrics like chintz are not durable at all. The advantage of cotton is that its price is affordable and it can come in many colors and patterns. Unfortunately, it stains quite easily due to its absorbent nature.


Leather is derived from animal skin and is one of the best materials for upholstery. As years go by it actually becomes more attractive because it softens with age. It is also easy to maintain and clean. Unfortunately, Leather is the most expensive upholstery fabric. It’s also mainly available in solid colors rather than patterns so one may be limited in how creative they can be with the fabric.


Another natural fiber that is very durable is wool. It is also soft to the touch as well as being warm and comfortable to relax on. The disadvantage of wool is that it is very hard to clean and maintain. It stains very easily as it absorbs anything that spills on it. Luckily you can now buy a wool blend which is a fabric that mixed wool with synthetic fibers making it easy to clean while maintaining its durability.


When it comes to synthetic fibers, polyester upholstery fabric’s durability is well known. It is one of the most durable couch fabrics available. Its advantages include its affordability and that it comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. If you choose polyester for your upholstery, make sure you go for 100% polyester and not a blend with other fabrics. This will ensure that you get a fabric that doesn’t stain, fade or get watermarks if you splash water on it.

How to Test for Durability

You must know what to look for when shopping for durable fabrics for your upholstery. First, look for a high thread count as this shows you that fabric is tightly woven thus durable. To confirm the strength of a fabric’s weave, hold one side of the fabric and pull it tightly with your hand and then reverse directions. Check to see if this reveals any spaces between the threads.

If you are at a furniture store and you want to test the strength of the weave on a sofa or chair, sit on it then stand up. Durable fabric will spring back to its original shape without leaving an impression.

What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?
What is the Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?

What Is The Most Durable Fabric for Upholstery?

Upholstery fabric falls under two major categories: Natural fibers and synthetic fibers.  So, what is the most durable fabric for upholstery? Leather and wool as well as canvas like weaves which include duck and sailcloth are the most durable natural fibers.

For synthetic fibers, the most durable are polyester and microfiber. Additionally, remember that fabrics that have their patterns woven in tend to be more durable than fabric with patterns printed on.

For more information on upholstery fabrics and how you can repair or restore your upholstery furniture, check out the rest of our blog.

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