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Classic and Contemporary Types of Upholstery Fabric 

• Classic Upholstery Fabrics


Linen is a strong and durable material, smooth and cool to the touch. However, it wrinkles easily due to its poor elasticity. Linen fabrics come in a range of natural colours, in the shades of ivory, ecru and tan. Linen stains easily and needs professional upholstery cleaning. It is not recommended for families with children and pets.
Cotton upholstery fabric can be found in natural cotton and cotton blends. The strength and durability of cotton blends make them more popular. It is comfortable to the skin. Due to its absorbency ability it takes longer to dry. Staining and wrinkling may occur, so if you have children scotchguard your upholstered furniture.
 Wool is soil, stain and flame resistant and holds water repellent properties. It also absorbs polluting gases. Both hot water extraction method and dry cleaning are applicable for this fabric. On the down side wool does not feel comfortable to the touch. It can get easily stained and is very sensitive to chlorine bleach. Wool takes a long time to dry if overly wetted. Additionally, due to its protein content wool is inclined to insect damage.
Leather is expensive but durable and flexible material. It is easily maintained by a simple wipe-down. The natural leather fibres may break down with time. Acidic leathers are susceptible to red rot which leads to a change in consistency.  After long periods of exposure to low humidity, leather may desiccate, changing its fibrous structure irreversibly. Special treatments and cleaning procedures are available from professional cleaning companies.
Silk is a fragile material that could be damaged easily, so refrain from upholstering frequently used pieces of furniture with this fabric. It is predominantly used for decoration.
Nylon is an extremely strong synthetic fibre. It has a low soil absorbency capacity and responds well to cleaning. The few drawbacks are that stains easily and bobbles may appear on the surface.
Acrylic  is a strong synthetic material, that is easy to clean and maintain, not susceptible to shrinkage and wrinkling. It comes in a variety of colours. It is practical for upholstering the furniture in the living room.

• Contemporary Upholstery Fabrics


Chenille fabric is named after the French word for caterpillar describing the unique process of manufacturing. Short lengths of yarn, called ‘the pile’ are placed between two ‘core yarns’ and then twisted together.  The edges of the piles stand at right angles from the core which contributes to the fabric’s characteristic look and softness. Chenille fibres appear iridescent due to the different catch of light.  Chenille yarn tufts can work loose and result in creating bare fabric, however this problem can be resolved by using a low melt nylon in the core of the yarn and then steaming the hanks of yarn. Hot water extraction method or dry cleaning may be suitable for your chenille upholstery.
Suede is a type of leather with a napped or brushed finish. Suede leather is made from the under side of the skin, hence its less durable but softer characteristic than standard leather. Due to its textured nature, suede absorbs liquids quickly may easily become dirty.
Velvet is a woven tufted fabric with an evenly distributed cut threads and a short dense pile. Velvet can be made from various kinds of fibres such as silk, cotton and even synthetic fibres. It is a luxurious fibre and associated with high status.  Due to its pile velvet is difficult to clean and dry cleaning method is recommended

 
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