What Are the Most Durable Fabrics for Upholstery?

When it’s time to shop for your next upholstery project, we know how important it is to find fabrics for upholstery that will hold up over time. Whether you have a large family, pets, or simply want a textile that will last a lifetime, we’ve got you covered! 

Textiles run the gamut in terms of their ability to hold up to the wear and tear of everyday use. Silk, for example, is notoriously fragile, while Crypton, tweed, or velvet are sturdier fabrics for upholstery. 

Just because a fabric is tough doesn’t mean you’ll have to compromise on beauty! Durable materials can be colorful, soft, and just as comfortable as their pretty counterparts. 

Because there are so many options out there, we’re going to share our favorite materials to specify for those looking for durability in their textiles. We have a few tips on what to look for on your next textile shopping trip. You won’t regret taking the time to find material that will hold up with you and your lifestyle for a very long time!

How To Check For Durability In Textiles

If we asked you to confirm the durability of a textile, what would you do? You might check the material’s thickness or twist it in your hands to see if there’s any resistance. Those tests might work, but thankfully a machine has already done the testing for you.

In the world of textiles, we have the Wyzenbeek test. This is a standard textile test that shows the manufacturer, designers, furniture manufacturers, and shoppers the durability of a specific material.

This test is conducted by a machine pressing or rubbing a textile back and forth until it experiences breakage. The number of passes back and forth on a material leads to a textile’s number of double rubs. A material that is 80,000 or more double rubs is going to be a sturdier textile. 

If you find a fabric that is 50,000 or fewer double rubs, it is a more fragile material and will not hold up in high-traffic areas.

Durable Fabrics For Upholstery 

Our first recommendation is always a Crypton fabric when it comes to reliable textiles. If you’re not familiar, Crypton is a performance material that is dipped into a solution and heat sealed. 

This process was designed to lock in the color of a textile while creating a barrier to protect it from stains, moisture, tears, and so much more! If, for any reason, you’d like a few alternate solutions, here are a few to consider:

  • Leather – There’s a reason cowboys wear leather clothing to hold up against farm life and the elements of working outdoors; leather is tough. There’s a particular beauty that goes along with the wear of leather. It can scratch, patina in color, and soften over time. If you care for your leather by keeping it out of direct sunlight and applying leather conditioner as needed, it will hold up for a long time. 
  • Faux Leather – If you’re interested in a leather-free option, we will point you in the direction of faux leather, also known as vinyl. This material has the look and feel of leather while being animal friendly and often even more durable. 
  • Microfiber – We love having a wallet-friendly option, and in this category, that is microfiber textiles. This material often comes in a wide variety of colors and is easy to clean. The one caveat is that any stains must be addressed quickly, so they don’t settle in. 
  • Tweed – While this material might look easy to snag, many tweed textiles have a high number of double rubs and are flexible for upholstery. One of the many perks of tweed is that it is easy to clean and hides those pesky stains well! If you’re looking for durability and visual texture, tweed would be a great option. 

Why You Should Specify Durable Textiles

There are several reasons to purchase durable materials for your upholstery project. You might find yourself comparing fabric options and wondering why you might invest in high-quality material. There is an assortment of options available when it comes to textiles, so let’s make the decision a bit easier for you. Here are our top reasons you could benefit from a durable textile:

  • You have a young family with children that enjoy crayons and markers, bring a trail of crumbs wherever they go, and frequently spill their drinks. The list goes on when it comes to kids and what they can do to our furniture!
  • A few of your family members have four legs, claws, and a lot of hair! It’s no secret that pets can contribute to tears, stains, and break in textile, so it no longer fits tightly around the furniture frame.
  • It might surprise you that your wardrobe could be the thing wearing down your upholstery. Let’s say your sofa is where you spend most of your downtime, but you notice some stains or tears after some use. This could be due to your blue jeans rubbing the material or buttons and grommets on your pants snagging the fabric. If you find this is the case, consider looking into a material that isn’t as fragile. After all, we can’t count on you changing your outfit before lounging on the sofa. 
  • If you’re investing in a new piece of furniture, you want it to last as long as possible. You can always reupholster your furniture down the road, but we don’t want this to be a frequent occurrence due to low-quality textiles.
  • In the event that you’re currently reupholstering a piece of furniture, you may be familiar with the process. Living without your favorite chair for even just a few weeks is less than pleasant. Having to go through the process more than once sounds awful, so selecting a durable material the first time around will pay off! 

Q & A

Question: Why is it important to specify durable fabrics for upholstery?

Answer: We find that many of our customers come to us looking for a material that is going to hold up to a lot of wear and tear. However, it is in no way a requirement that you select a durable textile for your furniture upholstery. We recommend you review the material’s durability to ensure it will hold up to your project requirements, but that doesn’t mean it needs to stand the test of time. 

Question: Will durable textiles be rigid and uncomfortable to sit on?

Answer: No, a textile isn’t likely to be uncomfortable to sit on. Each material has a different texture or ability to maintain hot or cold, but all fabrics should pass the test when it comes to comfortability! It’s essential to consider the piece of furniture or the stuffing inside that could cause something to be uncomfortable.

Question: How do I find a durable material that is easy to clean?

Answer: It’s easy to find a fabric that has both durability and cleanability. We recommend filtering your search when shopping for textiles online. If you haven’t yet, check out Crypton fabrics on our website! These materials are easy to clean and hold up well over time.

Question: Where can I shop for a durable material for my upholstery project? 

Answer: You can head to our virtual material library and filter through the setting to select a material type, pattern, color, and check the product details to see if the material will hold up to your project. If you know you’re looking for exclusively Crypton fabric, browse our selection here

Question: Are there durable textiles that aren’t leather? 

Answer: Yes, there are many durable textiles for those who don’t want to upholster in leather. Some of our favorites include faux leather, microfiber, and tweed. If you’re not sure where to start, you can search through the performance fabric section in our online textile library. 

Textiles That Hold Up To Your Lifestyle

We understand the importance of having durable fabrics for upholstery that keep up with your day-to-day life. You’re working, living, cooking, dining, and experiencing life within your four walls. A textile must support your lifestyle by looking beautiful while remaining low-maintenance and durable.

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