Those of us who enjoy auction houses, antique shops and flea markets will have seen, or even own, pieces of furniture which have been upholstered in what appears to be 'carpet'. Glorious as these undoubtedly are, most fabrics can be used for upholstery purposes but consideration must be given to the frequency and type of usage of the finished piece.
The Victorian Emporium's Fabia fabric
How do you choose suitable fabrics for upholstery?
For example a piece of furniture that is going to be in use daily will need a more robust fabric than a bedroom side chair or stool. Generally fabrics that have the pattern woven are more durable than printed fabrics, and wool is more durable than silk. Consider the scale of the pattern - how large a pattern repeat can your chair take? A large, beautiful pattern which barely fits the space available is disappointing and wasted on a small chair or seat and a small pattern vanishes on a large sofa. Another consideration could be where the finished piece is to be positioned. If it is constantly in direct southern, sunlight any fabric is liable to fade but silk, whilst beautiful and able to last a very long time, will 'rot' if left in direct sunlight after a few short years. Synthetics are less prone to fading than pure silks/cottons and wool and therefore fabrics that are a blend of synthetic and natural fibres are an excellent choice for upholstery.
The Victorian Emporium's Depden fabric
Whilst we tend to associate Victorian upholstery with heavy velvets, often with yet heavier bullion fringes, there was a prettier floral Victorian style which is ideally suited to many homes and aspects and can be used for chairs or cushions adding a lighter sunnier touch.
Of course you could always consider using 'carpet' for complete authenticity and durability!
The Victorian Emporium sells a wide range of fabrics, many of which are copies of the original vintage fabric. This will enable you to achieve the same effect and a long lasting result without having to buy vintage fabrics for upholstering your antique furniture.
For more tips and advice from some of our customers, have a read of our article "Things I wish I'd known before buying my period house".