Can Marine Vinyl Be Used on Chairs?

Can Marine Vinyl Be Used on Chairs?

When it comes to upholstery, the endless number of options can make choosing the right fabric quite overwhelming. The first thing to consider is where the upholstered piece is going. If the chair is going to be in a room with heavy use, then it is a case of choosing a durable fabric and often in a dark color palette.

If it is a large chair, neutral-colored fabrics are ideal so that it does not impose themselves on the rest of the room. While the smaller pieces go very well with patterns and textures. These models will also sparkle with vibrantly colored fibers, making them standout accent pieces.

Choosing the Upholstery Fabric for Your Chairs

Properties of upholstery fabrics

Evaluating the level of use that the upholstered chair will withstand during its useful life is essential. Based on this, the correct type of felling is determined for a

commercial or residential project. Most upholstery fabrics come with ratings to help select the right ones.

Durability for heavy use

In general, chairs are pieces of furniture that experience daily wear and tear, so they demand fabrics with a certain degree of durability. This attribute is determined based on how it qualifies on the manufacturer’s administered double friction test.

The test consists of a back-and-forth motion that mimics the wear of someone sitting on an upholstered seat over time. The greater the number of double rubs (for example, 50,000 versus 5,000), the better the indicator of quality and durability.

In addition to higher double rubs, it’s recommended to look for upholstery fabrics that are treated for higher performance, such as stain resistance, water repellency, or UV resistance.

Cleaning and hygiene

Currently, upholstery is an element capable of helping to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. In this context, it is advisable to select antibacterial and easy-to-clean products.

Types of fabric

The following common upholstery fabrics come in a variety of weights, colors and treatments that guarantee good results.

Natural fabrics for upholstery

Natural upholstery fabrics refer to those woven from materials found in nature. This includes plant fibers and materials derived from animal products. Among the most used, there are the following:


It is a natural fiber that provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. However, it has less resistance to dirt, wrinkles, and fire.


It is a delicate fabric, which is suitable for adult areas only, such as formal living rooms, they need professional cleaning.


On the one hand, linen has a cooling , breathable effect and a relaxed texture that softens over time. On the other hand, it is a delicate fabric that gets dirty and wrinkled easily, just as it can shrink if not professionally cleaned.

Thanks to these features, linen is suitable for environments where the presence of adults predominates.


It is suitable for all types of environments, they are robust and durable, whether in their 100% wool presentation or mixed with other fabrics. They offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soiling.

Wool is usually mixed with synthetic fiber to make cleaning easier and reduce the chance of fibers sticking together. That is, the threads do not adhere to each other until they look like filters.

synthetic fabric

Synthetic fabrics are chemically engineered materials that are generally more durable and less expensive than natural upholstery fabrics.


Developed as imitation silk, it can resist mildew, pilling, and shrinkage. However, it only offers fair resistance to dirt, as well as being quick to wrinkle and fade.

It is not a good option for chairs intended for high-traffic spaces or large families.


This fiber was developed as imitation wool, it resists wear, wrinkles, dirt, and fading. When a low-quality version is chosen, it is susceptible to pilling from intense rubbing.

However, in general, it is an excellent option for chairs intended for intensive use.

Microfiber / Synthetic Suede

It is typically a multi-weave polyester fabric with a surface abrasion treatment that gives it a fuzzy, suede-like appearance.

This fabric is an excellent option for family environments that also have pets. It is characterized by being very strong with high resistance to abrasion and is easy to clean, making it ideal for intensive use.


It is highly resistant to stains, mildew, abrasion, and sunlight, so it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Its excellent strength and durability properties make it suitable for large families with pets.

Synthetic leather

It is an excellent option for children and for intensive use chairs, they present high rates of both resistance and durability. Just by properly cleaning and conditioning, the risks of cracking are greatly reduced.

marine vinyl

It is a material manufactured to resist the elements, along with inclement weather. It has a leather-like appearance that is extremely durable and easy to clean. Like olefin, it is suitable for large families and pets.

Mixed Fabrics


Elegant and soft, the chenille has tufted yarns, made from natural or synthetic fibers. It has a soft, fuzzy, velvet-like texture that is very comforting. It’s surprisingly durable, making it a great choice for home use, especially for more heavy-duty pieces.

Although, if you have cats or dogs with long claws, the tufted threads can catch on them.


It is usually mixed with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Nylon is very strong, when blended it helps to eliminate the crushing of plush fabrics like velvet.

It does not stain or wrinkle easily, but it does tend to discolor and is susceptible to pilling. It can be used for any type of environment, whether for low, medium, or intense use.


A strong plain weave fabric, suitable for personalizing through printed designs. When it’s made of cotton, it tends to warp over time with heavy use. So it should be used on moderately used furniture, accent pieces, or pillow accents.


It is a plain weave or twill fabric, which can be made from different types of fiber, although wool is the favorite. It is recognized for being extremely warm, resistant, thick and rigid.

Their textured surface hides stains, and they can be used in any upholstery application, depending on their double rub rating. Choosing a tweed with higher double rubs reduces the risk of pilling or pulling of the fabric ( tears ).


Usually a heavier fabric, it has yarn-dyed fibers that create a pattern, giving the fabric texture and style. It comes in tone-on-tone and contrasting designs. The choice of patterns is limitless, from classic stripes and polka dots to elegant floral themes.

It is made of cotton, silk, wool, linen, and blends. When mixed, it is a great choice for domestic chairs with moderate or decorative use.

Choosing the Color

Depending on the setting, the color of the fabric can offer a lot, from drawing attention to a particular area, to complement the décor. To make a bold statement about the look or mood you are trying to create.

The color choice often depends on trends, which can make some styles go out of date faster than others. You need to make sure that when choosing your color, it is one that you will not easily get bored of in a short space of time.

Often a color or print that jumps out immediately and enamors the wearer, can quickly fall to the other side. Therefore, it is advisable to consider calmly thought-out combinations, capable of giving a more lasting appeal.

solid options

Solid color fabrics are usually recommended as they have a timeless character and are considered a safe choice. Additionally, you can always accent the chair with a combination of patterned cushions or fun patterns to give it some personality.

dark tones

In addition to working to create dramatic differences in ambiance, they add vibrancy to simple-design furniture.

light tones

If the furniture is not intended to make a bold statement, the choice of light colors is recommended. But, being careful and taking into account who will use the chairs. Light fabrics show marks more quickly.

In this framework, if the user likes pale colors, it is appropriate to ensure that they are washable or that they have treatments to repel stains.

neutral tones

Grayscale, black and white, are the representatives of neutral tones, they are easy to work within almost any color scheme. For chairs, opaque upholstery is recommended, which is dark enough to hide stains and marks. In addition to this, they are ideal for giving subtlety and elegance to models with very sculptural or extravagant silhouettes.

On the other hand, you can add interest to these seemingly dull tones by using bright accessories, such as colorful throw pillows and throws. Which are relatively easy to replace in the future if you choose to change a color scheme.

Pattern Options


First of all, always keep balance in mind when mixing patterns. If you’re starting out with a very bold pattern, consider incorporating one or two smaller scale, tone-on-tone, or solid patterns for harmony.

For example, if you choose to upholster a pair of ashlars in a large pattern, some eye-catching cushions on a sofa on the opposite wall can work well.

Same color, different scales

This is a fairly simple strategy that offers very good results. It allows you to select different geometric patterns in equal portions, which could be overwhelming. But, because they are all selected from the same color family, they coexist harmoniously.

An infallible formula

A great strategy when selecting upholstery is to use one of each of the four basic patterns. That is, one floral, one geometric, one striped, and one solid option.

Practical tips


When shopping for upholstery fabric, be guided by your practical needs, considering how you live and with whom. This will serve as a guide to the type of material to choose. You may like silk, but it will quickly be destroyed in a home with children and pets.

Chairs in high-traffic areas like family living rooms need durable fabrics. While a bachelor’s apartment will admit pieces that can wear any type of textile.


Some experts mention that the big mistake people make is not considering how a fabric or leather can age over time. Checking the labels, and the specifications, or asking questions, to the sellers or manufacturers, is essential.

In this way, the users will know the content of the material and the cleaning needs. From there, it is recommended to think about how much maintenance you are prepared to take on and maintain the look of the fabric. Other pertinent questions would be:

  • How will it look in 5 years?
  • Will I still like leather when it takes on the aged look of everyday life?
  • Will I vacuum upholstery fabric regularly?
  • Will I close the curtains when I am out or not use a room to prevent fading that occurs naturally from exposure to sunlight?

About the upholstery

The upholstery brings together a series of materials to carry out restoration or updating work on chairs, sofas, and other furniture. As you might guess, this encompasses both internal and external components.

Although the internal materials are not visible to the naked eye, they make a difference in terms of the durability of the furniture itself. In this sense, it is recommended to select the internal components in accordance with the external ones.

Read more: Best Sewing Machine for Marine Vinyl 

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