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Multipurpose fabrics: upholstery, drapery and beyond


When we talk about décor fabrics, there are generally two main groups that they fall into: upholstery fabric and drapery fabric.

Depending on the fabric characteristics there can be differences in weight and appearance, but some decorative fabrics can actually also be used as both drapery and upholstery. In this article, we explore how multipurpose fabrics combine the key hallmarks of truly top-notch drapery and upholstery fabrics.

Upholstery fabrics: a quick review

Upholstery fabric functions as a ‘skin’ or cover applied to padded furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs, beds, ottomans, benches, booth seating and wall panels. Upholstery fabrics have a range of characteristics, and sometimes have a more intricate weave than drapery fabrics – this can help with structural stability.

Upholstery characteristics range from velvets, to jacquards, leather looks and suedes, textures, and plains.

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Optimized 018 002 deluxe detail 02

Drapery fabrics: a quick review

Drapery fabric is engineered specially for the manufacture of curtains, blinds, and window treatments.

They are available in various forms including sheers, dim outs, blackouts, jacquards, velvets, textures, and plains.

Choosing multipurpose fabrics

We’ve been asked a very interesting question time and again: ‘can I use curtain fabric for upholstery?’

The answer is yes, and durability is key!

Sheer drapery fabric, for example, isn’t the best idea if you’re thinking of using it for upholstery. Here are some other important recommendations for choosing multipurpose fabrics:

  • Decorative fabrics need to fit the style and character of environment they’re in. Multipurpose fabrics make it even easier to tie a room together, as patterns on the upholstered furniture can be echoed in the drapery.
  • Colours are crucial. If furniture is in an active space like a family room or reception area, choosing our fabrics is the best option because they’re so easy to maintain. There’s no need to hesitate about decorating with lighter tones or neutral colour palettes, thinking of accidental household stains.
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Optimized 018 002 deluxe detail 02

Multipurpose fabrics: the question of durability

Fabric testing results are always important, and this goes for multipurpose fabrics too. There are several textiles tests that can measure durability.

One is the Martindale test, which tests the fabric’s resistance to abrasion. The fabric sample is placed in the Martindale machine, which rotates on the sample, rubbing it over and over. The fabric sample is assessed at certain intervals to identify yarn breakages and appearance changes (example: loss of pile or pilling).

Interested in textiles testing? Learn more about what tests are required for high-quality fabrics.

Multipurpose fabrics need to perform consistently in every environment, even demanding ones, and measuring abrasion is a key indicator here. Like drapery and upholstery fabrics, they need to perform reliably, meaning that their durability, colourfastness to light and visual appeal withstand prolonged use.

Our fabrics tick all these boxes, on top of which, they’re always easy to maintain. We even have a whole range of fabrics that perform even if they’re outside.

Related: Explainer: what is QESH?

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Optimized 018 002 deluxe detail 02

FibreGuard: designed in Europe, available worldwide

Our multipurpose fabrics, just like our drapery and upholstery fabrics, are stain-resistant to ensure your peace of mind. It’s normal to be a little afraid of any accidental stains that might occur, but don’t worry.


Get in touch with us to learn more about our multipurpose fabric ranges.

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