A Guide to Natural Fabrics for Your Upholstery Project

GDC Couch

The most fun part of shopping for upholstery is picking out the colors, patterns, and designs, but before you get to that step, it’s important to choose the right type of fabric. Depending on your upholstery project, you might desire a fabric that can withstand anything, or one that looks beautiful, but won’t be touched often. From lightweight, breathable cotton blends to delicate silk, there are plenty of options if you’d like to go with a natural fiber fabric. Derived from plants and animals, natural fabrics are less performance-based than synthetic, but they have a soft feel that many people love.

As a starting point, take a look at our guide to natural fabrics below. Once you have a good idea of what you would like, you can stop by our design center to browse our large collection of natural fabrics.

Cotton Sheets


Breathable and durable, cotton is a beloved fabric in many industries. It’s perfect for covering a chair or sofa that you spend a lot of time sitting on as it doesn’t trap heat and is very soft. While cotton has some downsides, like the fact that it can wrinkle and it catches dust easily, it can be blended with other fibers to solve these issues. Cotton blended with linen or a synthetic fabric like polyester, as in our French Ticking Indigo is very popular for furniture upholstery.

living room


Made from flax, linen is another beautiful fabric that has a classic, relaxed look and smooth handle. It’s similar to cotton in some ways, but it wrinkles and stains more easily, so take care when choosing this fabric. While it provides a comfortable place of rest, linen is not recommended for furniture that will be used frequently, or for kids’ areas. If you love the appearance of linen and want to be able to use it in a family room, then consider a linen performance fabric, like Crypton Hopsack Linen Performance that has been blended with other fabrics and treated to make it more hardwearing.

gdc living room


Gorgeous and delicate, silk is the most luxurious upholstery for furniture and drapes. It comes with a high price tag, but if you really want the smoothest, most elegant fabric, then silk is it! Keep in mind that this fabric is only suited to places that won’t get a lot of use as it cannot be easily cleaned or repaired. Silk upholstery should also stay out of direct sunlight as this can fade and weaken the fabric over time.

leather couch


Durable and shiny, high-quality leather is hardwearing and easy to clean. It’s perfect for a family room and even better if you have pets as it doesn’t collect fur, dust, or dirt. Leather sofas and chairs are going to last you a long time, plus they won’t go out of style as leather has a classic appeal. If you want leather in another color than natural brown, then consider dyed leather-like Mont Blanc Aqua Leather.

wool couch


Long-lasting and breathable with a unique texture, wool upholstery can be infinitely charming on a sofa or chair. It won’t wrinkle or lose its shape and it resists staining, however, pure wool can be quite scratchy. As a result, many wool upholstery fabrics are a blend of wool and another type of material to create a softer feel.

Velvet Couch


While velvet can also be made of synthetic fabrics, it is commonly made of cotton or silk. Velvet is not easy to clean, but it is a strikingly beautiful fabric that is soft, comfortable, and luxurious. Often, you’ll find velvet upholstery in jewel tones, like our Marco Ruby Velvet, that add elegance to sofas, chairs, ottomans, pillows, and drapes.

Stop by Our Charleston Furniture Stores to Browse Natural Fabrics

There are lots of considerations to making the right choice of fabric for your custom upholstery project. While it’s a big decision, it’s also one that can change in a few years’ time if you decide you want to recover. You should be able to have fun with your upholstery choices and find one that suits your style and stands up to the wear and tear of daily life. For any questions, stop by our Design Center at any one of our three Charleston furniture stores and we’ll be happy to walk you through all the fabric options.

Considering synthetic fabrics as well? Take a look at our Guide to Synthetic Fabrics.

Shop the Look

French Rug

French Ticking Indigo

The french ticking idigo fabric is the perfect fabric to add to any neutral room. 15,000 Double Rubs – Heavy Duty. 91% COTTON, 9% POLYESTER.

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Linen Blend

Crypton Hopsack Linen Performance

This linen performance fabric is crypton treated with rayon content is durable but may cause a mottling effect. 18,000 Double Rubs – Heavy Duty

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GDC Leather

Mont Blanc Aqua Leather

The Mont Blanc Aqua leather is the perfect twist of classic and edgy. Leather is a natural product and each hide will vary in coloration, natural markings, dye lot, and texture.

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Marco Ruby Velvet

Velvet will always be classic! It is such a versatile fabric that it can be perfect in almost any room. 150,000 Double Rubs – Heavy Duty

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