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Modern Upholstery Fabric

Beautiful style in many color combinations, patterns and textures

The luxurious natural upholstery fabrics of the past, where silks, linens, cotton types, and leathers had dominated the scene, have taken a slight step back. Modern upholstery fabrics have boldly gone where none have gone before with advanced blended materials that offer unique properties and surface textures. In addition to the fabric fibers and blends, these upholstery fabrics have featured patterns, prints, and weaves of different fabric types-look for rayon blends, polyester blends, microfiber, velvet, linen, and cotton blends that are to die for. Even leather has joined the modern era with suede finishes that are advanced in terms of design and environmental friendliness. Even if you opt for plain-colored modern upholstery fabric, the surface texture and feel are innovative and offer new levels of luxury. Patterns are wild, vivid, and avant-garde, with many more designs to choose from than before. There has never been a better time to reupholster your favorite sofa or bucket seat armchair than now.

What Should You Look for in Modern Upholstery Fabric?

For any modern or contemporary upholstery fabric choice, you need to consider the color scheme and design and the material's suitability to your particular needs. Before even considering the feel and strength of the fabric, your eyes are likely drawn to the pattern. There are many fads in the fashion world, and choosing to upholster your furniture in colors or prints that are the rage this season may land you with furniture that you end up covering with a slipcover the next. Remember that large prints quickly tire the eye, and excessively bright plain colors (or prints) are also likely to become boring or irritating. Instead, opt for medium-tone or lighter-tone fabrics, patterns that are not as overbearing, and color schemes that range from pastel to medium tone. You can absolutely add in a brightly accentuated item such as a pillow or chair back. However, don't let your home become a jarring clash of colors and prints. These will go out of fashion but linger in your home until you grow sick of them. Then you will have to reupholster your furniture again.

Different Types of Modern Upholstery Fabrics

Consider your options among these modern fabrics for upholstery, drapery, and more.

Polyester or Microfiber

Made from synthetic fibers spun into yarn and woven into textile, this durable fabric is popular for its many different uses. The finished material is brushed to create a suede-like appearance, resembling leather. Microfiber is considered the darling of the upholstery fabric world. It's durable, available in every conceivable color and pattern, and tear-resistant.

Cotton Blend

While cotton isn't as popular for furniture because it creases easily, blended cotton with polyester is a more suitable fabric. The blend offers the additional qualities of being mold-resistant and quick drying. Cotton also carries dyes well, making it a smooth and cool upholstery fabric that breathes better than microfiber.


Made from an extraction process using petroleum, this synthetic fabric resembles wool. It's thick, nubby, and warm. Olefin is essentially made from melting plastics, which is great for the environment if recycled plastics are used. Since dyes need to be added to the melted plastic, it limits the patterns and colors available. Olefin is long-lasting, waterproof, and ideal for outdoor furniture or areas with high UV.

Rayon Blend

Containing bamboo fibers, rayon is normally considered for clothing or curtaining, but if the weave is thick enough, you may consider rayon blends for upholstering furniture. Any areas with high-traffic use would be poorly upholstered with rayon. Fixtures like lampshades, headboards, and pillows may be appropriate uses for rayon.

When to Use Modern Upholstery Fabrics

Any fabric, as designed, can be used for contemporary upholstery. The distinction comes in when considering newer composition fabrics. Consider: For high-traffic areas, choose a fabric like microfiber or other polyester blends. Linen blends are also hardwearing, as is leather. But when you opt for embossed or tooled leather, know that the patterning will eventually wear away. Those upholstery fabrics can be used in modern-themed rooms with modern-style furniture. Still, they can add some pizzazz to a room when covering antique furniture with a cool contemporary fabric.

Ways to Incorporate Modern Fabric in Your Decor

Modern fabrics can go with just about any color scheme or theme. Rely on solid base colors, and complement your theme with a few stylish patterns such as geometrics, organic shapes, florals, and landscape prints. Importantly: have fun!

Cleaning and Care Recommendations

Modern fabrics have the added benefit of being quite stain-resistant. Microfiber and olefin are water-resistant, which makes cleaning up a breeze. Have a clean wipe ready to mop up spills as they happen, then wash with water and detergent, and voila. Browse our wide selection of modern and contemporary upholstery fabrics. Viva la Moderne!

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