How to choose the best upholstery fabric

Published On: 5th July 2021

Do you want to get rid of a worn-out piece of furniture? Think again! Upholstering a sofa or chair can give your furniture a totally new look and a second life. The upholstery of your furniture should match the rest of the interior, should be made of durable material and have the right color and texture. In this blog we will tell you what to look for when choosing an upholstery fabric.


One of the most important things regarding the material of the upholstery is how durable the fabric is. There is an official process to test this: the Martindale test. This test examines how many times you can sit on a fabric before the fabric starts to wear out.

  • Fabrics with 10,000 to 15,000 Martindale are suitable for light use.
  • Fabrics with 15,000 to 25,000 Martindale are suitable for average use.
  • Fabrics with 25,000 to 30,000 Martindale are suitable for intensive use.

Linen that is suitable for upholstery almost always falls within the latter category and is therefore very suitable for intensive use.


It’s not just the durability of the fabric that’s important. The texture of the fabric is also something you should consider. Take a look at your interior. What fabrics do you see? Combining different textures gives your interior a layered feel. Do you have linen curtains? Then you could opt for leather upholstery. If you have velvet or wool curtains, linen would be a wonderful option for upholstering furniture. In general, linen and cotton add a clean and crisp touch to any room.

Another thing to look out for is how the fabric feels to the touch. Look at the roughness of the fabric and make sure it’s not too rough or scratchy on the skin.

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When you have made your choice on which fabric you want to use you can start thinking about the colour. First, you can choose between a plain fabric and a printed fabric. We advise you to always opt for a solid colour, just because prints are more susceptible to trends than solid fabrics. If you do want to play around with prints, you can always add printed cushions to your sofa or chair.

A large piece of furniture lends itself more to a neutral color, while a smaller piece of furniture can have a more vibrant color. You can also consider the use of the piece of furniture: for example, in a household with pets and children it might be wise to choose a darker colour.

Do you have a piece of furniture you would like to have upholstered? L’atelier is a collaboration between Evert Groot and upholsterer René van Hattem, where we’ve joined forces to provide you with beautiful and high quality upholstery. Fill in this form for any questions!

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