How to Use Black Upholstery Fabric

Black upholstery fabric is a classic choice for those who want to add a timeless element to their home decor or office space. Not only does black upholstery go with every possible decor style, but it also fits in with most color schemes since it is considered to be a neutral color. 

When opening a page on black upholstery, you may be surprised to realize that black is not just black. There are so many shades to choose from and each with its own nuance that it becomes quite a challenge. What black is the best black for your upholstery choice?

Worst of all, black upholstery can become quite the chameleon when placed near other colors or in different light conditions. What you believed to be a smokey black upholstery may turn into an ash color if you place it near an area with cold color light. 

So how do you make the best possible decision in your quest for the perfect black upholstery fabric? The answers to your questions are right here.

Why Choose Black Upholstery Fabric

Black upholstery fabric is an easy choice in terms of fitting into most decor schemes. It’s easy to work with black upholstery by adding accent colors, textures, and patterns to liven up a room. 

Black upholstery doesn’t show most soil or grime traces that other upholstery types do. Depending on the type of upholstery you choose, black upholstery can be a really easy choice for a busy lifestyle. 

Factors Causing Tonal Variations in Black Upholstery Fabric 

Black is never just black. When you order your selection of black upholstery samples, you will be quite amazed by how many different variations there are in the spectrum of black upholstery fabrics. Within each solid black upholstery choice you consider, there are also different factors that will influence what that black looks like in your home. 

Choosing the best possible option in black for an upholstery project at home depends on ordering samples to really see what each type of fabric performs like in YOUR home. Luckily, you can easily order great samples from Kovi Fabrics. This comes with the peace of mind that the cost of samples will be refunded on your purchase, saving you money. 

Factor One: Light

The light quality in your room will influence how the black upholstery fabric will respond. If the light is a cold tone, you will find the black becoming more dull and ashen. 

With a warmer shade of light, your black upholstery fabric will take on a brighter sheen and may have a slightly bronze tinge. Neutral light gives you the most authentic shade of black upholstery fabric. 

Factor Two: Neighboring Colors

The colors closest to the black upholstered area may influence what tone of black your eye sees. If your black upholstery is close to plants and cool colored fabrics, you may end up with a slightly ashen-toned black. 

Should the black upholstery be near a sunny window, it may take on a brighter but slightly bronzed tone. Bright colored fabrics near the upholstery will also influence the hue of the upholstery fabric. 

Factor Three: Size of the Upholstered Area

Size matters. In a light-filled room, a large sofa upholstered in black will take on a lighter tone. However, in the same room, a smaller single-seat comfort chair upholstered in black will seem darker in tone. 

Best Upholstery Fabric Types for Black Upholstery Projects

The type of fabric you choose for your black upholstery will determine the longevity of your upholstery project. Great choices for living rooms and bedrooms include full-grain leather with an organic black stain, black vinyl, and black cotton. 

Black upholstery isn’t recommended for outdoor areas as the UV factor will quickly bleach the color from the black fabric. Plus, the fabric will remain hot to the touch. 

You could use black olefin fabric in areas where there is heavy soiling such as the kitchen, dining room, and kids play areas. Black upholstery is a great choice when upholstering special projects like wall panels, headboards, and office chairs. Adding a full-grain leather covering to complete that heavy-duty desk in your study is an amazing option to consider. 

Pros and Cons of Black Upholstery Fabric Choices

There are several pros and cons to choosing black upholstery fabric for your home, office, or place of business. Weighing up the pros of black upholstery needs to outweigh the cons to help make a logical decision. 


  • Black upholstery is stylish and it makes a powerful statement.
  • With black upholstery fabric, you have many options that match and complement black upholstery.
  • Many different upholstery trims suit black upholstery, allowing for a wide and diverse range of style options.


  • Black upholstery can drain the brightness from other colors.
  • Black upholstery can be difficult to clean.
  • UV protection is required when using black upholstery fabric in direct sunlight. 

What to Look for When Choosing Black Upholstery Fabric 

When considering black upholstery fabrics, you need to keep in mind that the colorfastness of black upholstery needs to be guaranteed as lesser quality fabrics and dyes can lead to fading. Make sure you choose a black fabric that has been UV protected with a protective coating. Even when using a natural material like leather, ensure the leather is coated and protected against the elements. 

Stain guarding the black upholstery you choose is also essential to prevent stains from discoloring the fabric. On black upholstery fabric, stain blots (even when the stain has been removed) will be more noticeable as they will show as a different shade of black. 

Be sure to choose a black upholstery fabric that suits your lifestyle. A fabric choice that pills, stretches, or fades will not continue to display well. If your life is busy with kids, family friends, and pets all over your three-seater couch, choose a sensible fabric and a sensible black. 

For busy lives, plain black is not the best idea. Instead, consider these options:

  • Olefin black stripes with StainGuard technology built-in.
  • Genuine leather with a polymer coating to ensure the leather is protected against surface scratches. It is best to choose toothed leather or embossed leather to break up large plain areas that would show a stain much easier. 
  • Black vinyl with an embossed surface treatment to help hide stains and grime. If choosing plain black vinyl, you will have to wipe the surface daily. 

Great Uses for Black Upholstery Fabric

Now you are ready to play with some black upholstery fabric, you can consider these alternative uses for black upholstery fabric:

  • Upholster a wooden frame, add a mirror, and make a talking point for your room.
  • Bling your headboard with black upholstery fabric and diamanté details.
  • Add something unique to your antique desk by recovering the writing surface with toothed black full-grain leather upholstery. Finish off with nailhead trim for that professional look.
  • Use black upholstery fabric to complement your modern lounge furniture by making a range of scatter pillows. 
  • Buy two or three inexpensive ottomans and reupholster these in black upholstery with great matching trim or piping to add a modern touch to your living areas.

Caring for Your Black Upholstery 

When caring for your upholstery, regardless of the color you choose, be sure to follow the four A’s. 

  • Act quickly. 
  • Apply a homemade cleaner. 
  • Allow the fabric to Air-dry. 
  • Then Assess.

This breaks down to the four steps that will ensure your black upholstery fabric remains black. 

Act Quickly

When a spill or mess happens, quickly dab the mess with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. Work from the outside inward, reducing the size of the spill. 

Apply Homemade Cleaner

Using a sponge, apply a suitable homemade cleaner or commercial upholstery cleaner to help remove the particles before they stain the upholstery. Scrub lightly, loosening any particles that need to be removed. Dab at the area with a dry cloth.

Air Dry 

Leave the area to dry naturally as applying heat or excess wind can lead to shrinkage, which will make the spill area twist in a strange direction or pile. 


Evaluate the success of your cleaning effort. If the upholstery fabric is smooth, you may need to wipe it with a damp cloth before checking again. If necessary, repeat the cleaning process or use a more aggressive homemade cleaner. 

Should the fabric be toothy with a nubby weave or raised details, use a vacuum cleaner to restore the pile and then evaluate. 

The Final Verdict

A high-quality black upholstery fabric applied to a great furniture piece or used for a unique upholstery project can really add that special element to your home. Be sure to consider what the black fabric you are considering will look like in your home with your other furnishings and drapes. Order a few samples to feel the fabric against your skin, and when you are ready, order quality black upholstery fabric at mill prices from Kovi Fabrics.

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