Fabric guide & recommended suppliers
Choosing the right fabric for your furniture is crucial to how much you will like your finished piece. Not all fabrics suit all furniture, in terms of style and shape. And if a piece is going to be used frequently, a more durable fabric is recommended. We always recommend requesting fabric samples before making your final decision, as fabric can feel and look very different in person than online.
Upholstery-grade fabrics have a Martindale or Rub Test: look for a rub test figure of upwards of 23,000. If you find a fabric you like that doesn’t have a Martindale number, then it probably isn’t suitable for upholstery. If in doubt, please email us a link and we can advise you. If the furniture will be used in a particularly sunny room, it’s worth considering fabrics that have a good light-fastness rating. Regarding budget, the price per metre of upholstery fabric varies considerably. As a general rule, you’re usually buying good quality fabrics if you spend over £30 per metre. Remember: trust your instincts. If you love the fabric and feel that it’s the right choice, it is!
Recommended fabric companies
Below is a list of fabric companies that we use regularly. We love their range of fabrics, they’re reasonably priced, they’re reliable and the fabric is great quality. We can request samples from most companies and can arrange for them to be sent to you free of charge.
Quintessentially English bold floral and fauna prints.
Specialises in high-quality wool / wool-mix fabrics in very bright, vibrant plain colours and textures.
Commercial-grade upholstery fabrics. Extensive range of plain and textured high-quality fabrics and some eco-fabrics made from waste materials.
Extensive fabric range of bright colours and patterns.
Emma J Shipley
Beautiful range of highly patterned, eccentric fabrics with fantasy motifs.
Eco-fabrics featuring Art Deco-style colours and patterns.
Harris Tweed – Clo Mor (Gaelic for “The Big Cloth”) – is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament and the only fabric produced in commercial quantities by truly traditional methods. Unusually, the wool is dyed before being spun, allowing a multitude of colours to be blended into the yarn, creating a cloth of great depth and complexity. Click here to visit the Harris Tweed Authority website where you’ll find a list of independent producers that are legally allowed to make and sell genuine Harris Tweed.
Striking graphic designs and textures in a palette of contemporary colour combinations.
Extensive range of plain and patterned fabrics suiting all budgets.
An actual bricks and mortar shop in the lovely Gloucestershire town of Painswick. They don’t have a website but it’s definitely worth a visit (but check their opening hours on their Instagram page as these are slightly limited). They stock a wide selection of designer furnishing fabrics at very reduced prices (end of line | end of roll fabrics, etc).
Sanderson Design Group
This British company has a long heritage, starting out over 160 years ago. Under the parent company are seven design brands that vary in aesthetics (contemporary, classic, historical, texture), price, and feature some exquisite fabrics. The brands include: Archive; Clarke & Clarke; Harlequin; Morris & Co.; Sion; and Zoffany.
This independent UK company was founded by Susi Bellamy, an artist who has turned her artworks into beautiful fabrics and wall coverings. Susi loves vibrant, colourful interiors and her designs are created in her studio using traditional “marbling” techniques. Her fabrics are mostly upholstery-grade and you can choose the type of fabric you want (cotton, linen or velvet). We love her products! You can order samples directly from her website for a small fee (generous sized samples!). You need to see the richness of the colours in the flesh to really appreciate the designs!
The Romo Group
One of Britain’s oldest fabric (and wallcoverings, trimmings and accessories!) companies, founded in 1902. This is a wonderful family-run company with a diverse range of “mini-companies” within the parent company: Black Edition; Kirkby Design; Villa Nova; and Zinc. Their collections, although more mid- to -high end in terms of pricing, are worth looking at, particularly if you only need a metre or two of fabric. Very luxurious, interesting textures and stunning colourways.
Unique painterly large scale printed fabrics.
Vanessa Butt Upholstery
Vanessa was a Bristol-based upholsterer before moving to London. She has become well-known amongst independent upholsterers for championing fully sustainable upholstery techniques and materials. She has created an extensive directory of sustainable and recycled fabric collections from UK-based companies that is accessible through the above link.