A Guide to Synthetic Fabrics for Your Upholstery Project

living room GDC

When you’re looking for the most durable fabrics that put performance first, then synthetics are a smart choice. While there are plenty of benefits to natural fabrics, performance fabrics tend to be more popular because they are designed to withstand wear and tear, wrinkling, and fading. Using chemical processes, synthetic fabrics are manufactured with desirable features and lower price points than natural alternatives. 

Considering a synthetic fabric for your upholstery project? Take a look at some of the most popular synthetic fabrics and stop by one of our Charleston furniture store locations to see them in person.

Polyester GDC


Perhaps the most widely used synthetic fabric, polyester is generally blended with fabrics like cotton and wool when it comes to upholstery. It is designed to resist wrinkling, staining, and fading, making this a great choice for children’s rooms or your living room sofa. If you’re looking for a very soft, easy-to-clean fabric made from polyester, then consider microfiber. Or, for a more luxurious fabric, look for a 100% polyester velvet, like our Everest Forest Velvet.

Looking for a durable polyester blend fabric that works indoors and outdoors? Consider InsideOut Performance Fabric®, a popular performance fabric blended with polyester and Olefin. It’s easy to clean, fade, and liquid-resistant – the perfect family-proof fabric for sofas, chairs, and more.

Acetate fabrices


If you love the look and feel of silk, but not the fragility and price point, then try acetate as an alternative. It is not as durable as some synthetic fabrics, but it does repel stains. Besides having a signature sheen and beauty, this fabric is very soft, impervious to wrinkles, and moisture repellant. Acetate is a particularly popular choice of fabric for drapes because it won’t fade in the sunlight.

living room GDC


Made of cellulose, which comes from wood pulp, rayon is classified as a semi-natural fiber. It was designed to be an alternative to cotton, linen, and silk and is typically blended with other fabrics for upholstery. Our River Creme fabric, for example, is composed of 55% rayon, 20% linen, 15% polyester and 10% cotton. While this fabric has the look of linen, it is less expensive and resists wrinkling.

Interested in rayon? Take a look at our Crypton fabrics in store, which are environmentally-friendly fabrics typically blended with rayon, cotton, polyester, and acrylic and treated with revolutionary technology to make them stain and odor repellent.

nylon fabric


One of the strongest, most long-lasting fabrics, nylon is great for furniture that sees heavy use in the home. The continuous filament of nylon means that this fabric repels stains and wrinkles, however, you should keep in mind that it is not very breathable. This means that you wouldn’t want to sit on it on a hot day or for a long period of time as it traps heat. It also can fade and pill overtime. You’ll typically see nylon in a blended fabric composed of multiple fibers to make it more comfortable and durable.

acrylic fabric


High-quality acrylic fabric won’t wrinkle, pill, stain easily, or fade in the sun like natural wool. It also resists moths, who are known for having an appetite for wool. You’ll find acrylic to be well-suited to outdoor upholstery, which is why many of our outdoor pillows, like the Murmur Midnight Outdoor Pillow are made of acrylic fabric. A popular acrylic brand name fabric is Sunbrella, which was designed for outdoor furniture, but actually works for indoor sofas and chairs that are situated in direct sunlight as well. 

Browse Synthetic Fabrics Swatches at Our Charleston Furniture Stores

For those high-traffic areas of the home, synthetic fabrics are a great option to keep your furniture looking good for as long as possible. While they don’t have quite the same feel as natural fibers, synthetics offer a lot of benefits, particularly their long-lasting durability. Come visit our Charleston furniture stores to browse our inventory of thousands of swatches. We’ll help you find the perfect fabric for your upholstery project. 

Considering natural fabrics as well? Take a look at our Guide to Natural Fabrics.

Shop the Look

River Creme

This classic River Creme fabric will never go out of style! It is versatile enough to have a place in almost every room.

View Product

Murmur Midnight Outdoor Pillow

Contemporary brushstroke stripes in indigo and capri blue gives this classic pillow a modern twist.

View Product

Everest Forest Velvet

This rich, luxurious fabric has a velvety chenille with a surprisingly soft hand/

View Product

Breckenridge Snow Performance

The perfect outdoor white! Inside Out Performance Fabric with an elegance to compliment any home.

View Product

You May Also Like…

Claire Candleholders, Set of 2

Crystal block candleholders with brass finished legs.

Shop Now

Peconic Rope Basket

Versatile leather and rope basket.

Shop Now

Cable Chain Tray

100% cast iron frame finished with a mirrored bottom.

Shop Now


Explore more of our latest styles and keep up-to-date with design trends by following GDC Home on our social platforms below. View our gallery and use the hashtag to find your next design inspiration!

View All