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Exploring the Different Types of Woven Upholstery: A Guide for Interior Designers

Upholstery. Upholstery. Upholstery.

So much to know about upholstery.

So many options, and so much confusion.

Let us help you clear it up a little bit.

I know we’ve talked about upholstery before in this blog, but this time, let me explain to you the difference in woven upholsteries.

If you are looking for an upholstery choice that will work for you, this is the blog to read.

Depending on your choices and what is important to you, this may help make your decision just that much easier!

So…woven upholstery explained.

Skip to the upholstery you want to learn about here:

There are multiple types of woven upholsteries but below are the most common in commercial upholsteries.


gold and white acrylic fabric

Acrylic is a type of synthetic upholstery. Which essentially means it is an upholstery made from chemicals to use in place of a natural product.

In commercial fabrics, acrylic is generally mixed with another type of material.

Honestly, its origins are a little complex, but here's the quick version – acrylic fiber is made by processing acrylonitrile. It isn’t a natural material and is created from fossil fuels.

It’s known in the upholstery world as cheap wool, as it has a similar feel to wool. So as mentioned earlier the natural product it replaces is wool!

Some of the pros of acrylic are that it does have a wool-like texture but is more cost effective than natural wool and it is also resistant to wrinkling and color-fading.

However, it isn’t very environmentally friendly or sustainable and melts when it burns.


grey cotton fabric

Cotton is a natural product.

Although it can be mixed with synthetic materials to make it less expensive, 100% cotton upholstery is very sustainable. If it is mixed with linen (flax) or wool it is still sustainable as both materials are also naturally made.

One of cotton’s advantages is that it is a very comfortable upholstery, due to its soft texture. It is also breathable, making it a good option for seating that will be sat for long periods.

However, the disadvantages of cotton are that it can wrinkle very easily and isn’t as durable as synthetic upholsteries, meaning it won’t last as long. Cotton also tends to absorb spills, meaning that over time it could start to smell off and be discolored.

Linen (Flax)

green linen fabric

The upholstery known as linen is made from the flax plant.

This material is a naturally made material meaning it is highly sustainable and when mixed with cotton or wool can be biodegradable and the best option for the environment!

However, it can also be mixed with synthetic materials.

Some of the pros of using linen upholstery are, much like cotton, it is very soft in texture, making it comfortable for longer periods. It also is hypoallergic meaning it is soft on sensitive skin and unlike other naturally derived upholsteries it tends to be less expensive!

However, a few of the cons are that it can wrinkle very easily. You know that already, know that linen shirt in your closet that you love but honestly never wear because it wrinkles after the first 20 seconds of wearing it. Yeah, linen is wrinkly.

Again, much like cotton it also isn’t very durable and absorbs liquids, so its lifetime isn’t as long as synthetic materials.


black woven nylon fabric

Nylon is another upholstery that is almost always blended with other types of upholstery.

Nylon is a synthetic upholstery that is highly durable, but not very environmentally friendly.

The reason it is mixed is because it is the strongest of all the synthetic upholsteries, so it adds strength to any material it is mixed with.

The advantages of nylon upholstery are that it is highly durable and elastic, meaning that it doesn’t wrinkle as much as other woven upholstery materials. It also is used a lot in healthcare-type facilities because it doesn’t absorb moisture as much as other upholsteries, making it much easier to clean, and because of that it lasts much longer than other woven upholsteries.

However, it does have a few disadvantages, one being that it isn’t a very sustainable upholstery. It also is prone to color fading.


black and white polyester upholstery

Polyester is by far one of the most common materials used in woven upholsteries.

Polyester is another synthetic material. Made from synthetic polymers, it is used to make fibers and plastics.

This means that polyester isn’t sustainable. However, due to this, mills are turning to recycled polyester. Being recycled means they take plastics from the oceans and/or landfills and remelt them down to create new polyester.

Recycled polyester is becoming more and more common in upholsteries which is amazing because polyester is one of the better types of woven upholsteries and the fact that it can be sustainable makes it even better!

So, if you are looking for sustainable fabrics, make sure to check the polyester. If it is 100% recycled or a percentage recycled polyester mixed with a natural material such as cotton or wool, you are good to go!

Some of the pros of polyester are that it is highly durable and will last much longer than most natural upholsteries. It is also a lot easier to clean than most woven upholsteries and is stain-resistant.

Some of the cons are that polyester is very flammable and can be vulnerable to dramatic weather conditions. As mentioned earlier it isn’t very eco-friendly in the original sense. However, recycled polyester can be considered more sustainable.


grey wool fabric

Wool is another naturally derived upholstery. Made with the thick undercoat of different types of mammals, typically sheep, wool has been around for many, many years!

Wool is very sustainable, however much like cotton and linen it can be mixed with synthetic materials.

So, if sustainability is a big concern for you, make sure to check that it is mixed with linen, cotton, hemp, or another natural material, or is 100% natural wool. You may also see it mixed with recycled polyester, which is also a great option for sustainable fabrics. That way you have the most sustainable upholstery.

There are a few advantages of using wool. One is that it is a very durable upholstery, due to its strength and thickness! As mentioned, it is also very sustainable and environmentally friendly. And like its fellow natural upholsteries, it is hypoallergic. However, its advantages over other natural upholsteries are that it is more moisture resistant and resistant to stains, meaning it can last longer than other natural upholsteries.

However, there are a few disadvantages as well. One is that it is quite a bit more expensive than most other upholstery, both natural and synthetic. It also doesn’t have a lot of varieties of pattern options.

In conclusion, there are many ways you can go.

If you are looking for durability, synthetic upholstery may be the better option. However, if you are looking for sustainability maybe a natural upholstery is the better option.

Reach out to find the right upholstery for your Flexxform furniture –


Bennett, J. (n.d.). Clothing Fibers: Natural & Synthetic.

Birds of Fabriclore. (2022, July 22). Acrylic Fabric. Retrieved from FabricLore:

Esmerio's. (n.d.). Pros and Cons When It Comes To Nylon, Polyester, Olefin, and Acrylic. Retrieved from Esmerio's:

Sadiq, R. (2020, April 27). Advantages and Disadvantages of Common Upholstery Materials. Retrieved from Zameen Blog:

Wayne Arthur Gallery. (2023, January 14). Acrylic Fabric Advantages and Disadvantages? Retrieved from Wayne Arthur Gallery:


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