4 Tips for Selecting Upholstery

Custom upholstery isn’t just for interior designers.  

Deciding to reupholster your furniture can be exciting. New upholstery is a great way to update the look of your space. And, if you have beloved piece of furniture, selecting new upholstery can breath new life into an old piece. 

When you decide to reupholster your furniture, it’s important to work with an experienced and reputable company. Experienced craftsmen can help you achieve the finished look you want. They can also make sure the materials hidden beneath the new fabric are in proper working order. Whether you’re reupholstering multiple pieces of furniture or a single chair, there are four key considerations to keep in mind. 

4 tips for selecting upholstery that’s right for your furniture. 

achieve the look you want

Chances are you’re considering reupholstery because your current fabric is damaged or isn’t quite the look you want. If you’re a design enthusiast, you may know the exact style, pattern, or color you want in a new upholstery. If however, you’re not quite sure, a good upholstery shop will be able to help you with selecting upholstery that’s right for your project. In our showroom, we carry thousands of fabrics in an array of colors, patterns, and styles. 

Upholstery fabric often coexists with other finishes including paint, flooring, window coverings, lighting, and other furniture. Before you order a fabric, consider seeing how fabrics you like look in your actual space. Some upholstery shops will allow you to check out fabric books. This allows you to see if your fabric choice will give you the finished look you want in your space before you place an order. 

When it comes to a finished look, pattern is often the most challenging part of selecting upholstery. From size, color or colors and complexity, pattern presents endless options.  Keep in mind too that, the size, scale, and shape of your furniture will impact how a pattern looks. From a small stripe to a large floral, or an animal print, aim to have your upholstery patterns compliment one another to create a cohesive and professional look.

We carry thousands of fabrics in an array of colors, patterns, and styles.


When it comes to selecting upholstery there are countless options available. Whether you’re reupholstering kitchen stools or a rarely used decorative piece, there’s likely a fabric to meet your needs. 

Today’s fabric mills are producing state of the art materials. Options include new fibers designed for durability, as well as natural fibers like cotton and silks, and a host of fabric blends. The quality of a fabric is determined by how tightly the fibers of the fabric are woven as well as design details such as embroidery. Price does not necessarily equate to quality or durability. Some of the least expensive nylon or acrylic blends can have the best wearability. These same fabrics, however can often have a very commercial look and feel. 

Double rubs are how fabric manufacturers rate the wearability of a fabric. These fabrics are tested using a machine at the mill or at an independent testing facility.  The fabric is pulled taught in the machine and rubbed across both directions with cotton duck or canvas.  Each pass is counted as a double rub and the testing is halted when the fabric shows abrasion or the testing tops 100,000 double rubs. 

We recommend choosing a fabric with at least 30,000 double rubs to guarantee long life and enjoyment of your furniture.


Caring for and cleaning upholstery fabrics is different from many of the fabrics in our daily lives. For instance, if a spill happens during dinner, you can’t spray on a little stain remover, throw the chair in the wash and call it good. 

All the upholstery fabrics we carry, come with a cleaning code from the mill where the fabric was manufactured. Thankfully the same code is used across manufacturers. This code is meant to help consumers understand how to properly care for their upholstery on a routine basis, as well as what to do in the case of an accident. The code is as follows:  

W – Use only a water based upholstery cleaner.

S – Use only a solvent based upholstery cleaner.

SW – Use a water based or solvent based cleaner.

X – Do not clean with either water base or solvent based cleaners; use only vacuuming or light brushing.

If your upholstery does require spot cleaning, keep these 3 things in mind: 

  1. Avoid over-wetting the stain area. Applying too much moisture to the outside fabric can have adverse effects on the internal filling including the foam, feathers or webbing.
  1. Always dab, never rub a stain. Rubbing the stain can actually push the stain further into the fabric fibers and degrade the integrity of the fibers. 
  1. Don’t remove zippered covers, unless the manufacturer’s label suggests doing so. Most zippered covers should not be removed for cleaning as excessive shrinkage may occur; zippers are used to facilitate the filling and closing of cushions, not necessarily the cleaning of fabric.

When in doubt, we recommend calling a professional upholstery cleaner. They have commercial-grade cleaning supplies, tools and manufacturer training.polyester


Last but certainly not least, and often the most important consideration, the cost of upholstery fabric can range from $35/yd – $300/yd. The average price range for a good quality fabric is about $65/yd – $110/yd. 

There are countless upholstery fabric options available but not all fabrics are the same. Many discount fabrics include flaws that even a master upholsterer can’t work around. We recommend if you purchase discount fabric that you examine every square inch before deciding to proceed with your upholstery project.

Selecting custom upholstery can be fun and exciting. 

Before choosing a fabric, it’s important to know your desired finished look and  how and where your furniture will be used. We have thousands of upholstery-grade fabrics available in a range of prices. We carry fabrics from manufacturers including Kravet, JF Fabrics, Stinson, Duralee, Greenhouse and more. Our team can assist you with fabric selections and even coordinate with other design elements in your space. When you’re ready to begin your upholstery project, schedule an appointment to visit our showroom or you can request an estimate.

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