Elegant Upholstery Composition

Many customers want to know what kind of fibers are used for the materials they choose. Since labels on the back of materials typically include detailed data about the type of fiber or fibers and their percentage customers tend to be confused by them. In order to make this more clarified here is a list of most widely used fibers in upholstery. We hope this will help you to choose the right fiber for you.

Cotton is commonly used because it is strong and long-lasting. It is made of staple fibers from seed of cotton plant. Its quality can vary from coarse to very fine, which depends on the length of the fiber. The longer the fiber the finer the quality. Cotton is weakened by sunlight and therefore it is important to protect your cotton upholstered furniture from sunlight. Cotton materials can be changed by mixing them with other artificial fibers. For example, cotton is often blended wit linen and polyester in order to become stronger. If it is blended with rayon the price of cotton becomes lower.

Linen is very strong and durable and is made of staple fiber from stalk of flax plant. Linen is not available in many colors because it does not dye as well as cotton. It also doesn’t stain easily due to natural sheen and smooth surface. Linen is not recommended for soft upholstery applications because linen wrinkles are difficult to iron out. Sometimes linen is blended with cotton or nylon to improve draping qualities but generally draping is not recommended with this type of fiber because it will stretch and absorb moisture from air. Linen is quite expensive.

Wool is popular because it is warm, soft, and resilient fiber. It is made most often from wool of sheep. It dyes fairly easily. Because wool is absorbent it will stretch or shrink more easily than other fibers. Wool is also more resistant to burning than others. It is not easily washable and is more likely to be moth eaten. Wool is also fairly expensive.


Silk is the only natural and continuous fiber as it is produced from silk worms. It is very strong, fine, and luxurious fabric and therefore it is the most expensive fiber. Silk is available is many colors because it dyes very well. It is very important to protect silk upholstered furniture from sunlight and excessive heat.

Rayon is a filament fiber derived from wood pulp by treating chips with an acid. Rayon is fairly easy to produce and therefore quite inexpensive. It is often blended with cotton in order to reduce the cost of cotton. Rayon can be both shiny and dull. As such it can imitate the look and feel of silk. It doesn’t wear off easily. In sunlight rayon is not long-lasting as cotton, for example. When it’s wet it can stretch and shrink when it’s dry. It is recommended to be dry-cleaned.

Acetate is often used to simulate silk, cotton, wool, and linen. It dyes well and dyes are color-fast. Acetate has average strength properties but it isn’t very resistance to abrasion. Acetate should also be dry-cleaned.


Nylon is very popular because it is strong, durable, light, easily laundered, quick to dry, and it doesn’t shrink. It’s also available it various colors because it dyes well. Nylon will burn quickly and, for example, if you touch it with a cigarette it will burn instantly. It stains fairly easily with oil based stains. Inexpensive brands of nylon tend to have unpleasant shine.

Polyester is probably the most popular of all artificial fibers because it is more affordable and yet possesses fairly good qualities. It is strong, resilient, resistant to abrasion, and easily washable. Polyester has affinity for oil based stains better than water based stains. It is static and dirt will cling easily.


Acrylic is quite impermeable to different weather conditions as well as some chemicals. It is fairly strong, resilient, and easily washable. Acrylic has good bulking properties. It is flammable.


Olefin is a fairly recently developed fiber produced from crude oil. It is very resistant to moisture and this it is suitable for boats and cars. Olefin has very good soil, mildew, and stain resistance properties. It should not be dry cleaned. Olefin can be flame-retardant.
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171 1st Street East.
North Vancouver, BC V7L 1B2
t:604.980.1114  f:604.980.1134