Recliners: Fabric Really Does Matter


Along with deciding on the style and size, you also need to choose the type of fabric you want the recliner upholstered in. Certain fabrics work best in specific situations, and not all look great with every decorating style. Here is the basic information you need to know to choose the perfect material for your recliners.

Natural Fibers

Natural FibersFabrics made from natural fibers are soft and great for the tailored look of many recliners. The flat weave of the natural fibers is also ideal for patterns. Natural fibers are prone to fading when exposed to direct sunlight and pilling.

  • Cotton is soft and absorbent, but can fade in sunlight.
  • Linen is slightly harder than cotton and might not always be comfortable.
  • Wool is the least common fabric used to upholster recliners due to its ability to hold heat and occasional “scratchiness”.
  • Silk is attractive and surprisingly durable, but is prone to fading and is often expensive.
  • Rayon is similar to silk but since it is derived from wood pulp it is less expensive.

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic FibersOften stronger and more durable than natural fibers, many recliners are upholstered in manmade fabrics. Synthetic fabrics are also resistant to stains and fading, but are still prone to pilling over time.

  • Acrylic is similar to wool in texture, and is extremely durable.
  • Polyester is also durable and easy to keep clean.
  • Nylon fibers are stain resistant, and designed to last for years.
  • Olefin is another durable synthetic fiber but can pull easily.
  • Polypropylene is similar to polyester, though some consumers consider it durable.

Type of Fabrics

Synthetic and natural fibers can be woven into different types of fabrics and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Woven fabrics are created using a loom, and are a common choice for upholstering recliners. These fabrics can also come in multiple colors, and feature simple or complex designs.
  • Knit fabrics are seldom used for upholstery, but can provide added durability if used as backing for another material.
  • Non woven fabrics are thin and can include micro-suede. While not suitable for upholstery, these fabrics can be used as an inexpensive backing.
  • Print fabrics are often inexpensive and can add an interesting touch to a room’s décor. Generally found on woven fibers, print fabrics are also durable. It should be noted that this type of fabric is prone to fading, which can limit where you can place the recliner.

Pattern Types

There are several types of patterns for consumers to choose from and it is almost impossible to list each one. Here are the most common types of patterns used on recliners and maybe one of these will fit your decorating style.

  • Body clothes consist of solid colors and are best suited for sofas or sectional pieces.
  • Floral or Jacquard patterns make use of large flowers and leaves that can create a stunning recliner.
  • Paisleys use “tear drop” shapes to create a design that can be simple or ornate.
  • Geometric patterns use bold shapes and can be colorful or plain.
  • Stripes can be vertical or horizontal, and can come in almost any color imaginable.
  • Plaids are also a popular choice, and consumers can find this pattern in a variety of colors.
  • Frames include damasks and other “mirrored” patterns.
  • Chair patterns are generally smaller in scale and can include circles, polka dots and diamonds.
  • Novelties include animal prints and other intricate designs.
  • Ethnic patterns are gaining in popularity can often feature ikat or suzani designs.

Deciding on a fabric and pattern will help ensure that the recliner you choose looks exactly the way you envisioned it in sitting in your home.


About Author

After suffering from back pain for years, Aaron decided to take his doctor's advice and invest in a comfortable recliner. During his search he realized just how difficult it could be to find the right recliner, so he decided to join our writing team to tell others about his experiences. When Aaron isn't writing, he can often be found at his neighborhood basketball court.

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