Upholstery Fabric Masterclass: Choosing the Best Dining Chair Coverings

Reupholstering dining chairs is an easy home upgrade that instantly transforms the ambiance of your eat-in kitchen or dining room. But finding the Best fabric for Upholstering Dining Chairs is crucial to ensure your chairs look great for years while enduring the demands of regular use.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top upholstery fabric choices for dining chairs based on looks, comfort, durability, cleanability, and value. You’ll learn the pros and cons of different materials so you feel confident selecting perfect fabrics for any upholstery project.

Whether you DIY chair recovering to save money or hire professionals, understanding fabric properties is key. We’ll also dive into fabric requirements, calculations, and even toss in a few decorating tips to elevate your space.

So grab a seat at the table and dig into this robust guide to upholstery fabrics for dining chairs! By the end, you’ll know exactly which materials belong on the menu.

Evaluating Upholstery Fabric Properties

Before looking at specific fabric types, it’s important to understand the key properties you should evaluate:

DurabilityAbility to withstand wear, fading, pilling and abrasion from regular use
Stain ResistanceHow well the material resists absorbing oils, beverages, food spills, etc.
CleanabilityHow easy it is to remove dirt and grime by vacuuming, scrubbing or other cleaning
ComfortThe soft hand-feel and breathability of the fabric against skin
StyleThe visual aesthetics of texture, color, pattern, and overall look

Considering each of these factors will ensure your fabric choice hits the mark for both beauty and practicality in a dining room setting. Now let’s evaluate some of the best upholstery materials across these criteria!

Ideal Upholstery Fabric Choices for Dining Chairs

Here are some top upholstery fabric picks for recovering dining chairs along with their unique strengths and weaknesses:



One of the most popular and versatile upholstery materials, cotton offers excellent breathability and comfort. Its natural fibers make it soft to the touch while providing good durability for dining use.

AffordableGets dirty easily
BreathableStains and fades over time
Many colors & patternsNot as durable as synthetics

Cotton is a classic that works wonderfully for upholstering chairs that won’t endure heavy abuse. Choose medium to heavyweight cottons and blends, and treat with fabric protectors.


Linen fabric

An ultimate in luxury, linen is one of the most desirable natural fibers for dining chair fabric. Produced from the flax plant, linen delivers beauty and durability.

Very strong & long-lastingExpensive
Easy to clean with vacuumingWrinkles easily
Resists pilling & frayingStiffens if not blended

The crisp feel of pure linen adds elegance but it can feel rough against skin. Linen-cotton blends offer the best of both worlds for dining chair upholstery at lower costs.


Polyester fabric

A highly engineered synthetic material, polyester is a top choice for durability and stain/fade resistance in dining chair fabrics. It offers incredible versatility in looks.

Resists fading, staining & pillingLess breathable and cooling
Strong and long-lastingAttracts static cling
Inexpensive (especially blends)Artificial hand feel

Easy to clean and maintain, polyester holds up extremely well to dining chair punishment. But its artificial feel is less luxurious. Polyester blends with cotton or linen provide a nice compromise.

Microsuede & Microfiber

Microsuede & Microfiber fabric

Popular faux-suede and synthetic fiber fabrics, microsuede and microfiber are excellent dining chair upholstery options that mimic more expensive natural materials.

Very soft hand feelAttract dust and lint
Stain resistant when treatedSensitive to harsh cleaning
Affordable pricingLess breathability than naturals

These upholstery materials look and feel plush while resisting most stains from food and liquids. But they require careful cleaning using proper cleaners and methods.

Vinyl (Faux Leather)

Vinyl (Faux Leather) fabirc

Vinyl or faux-leather offers the luxurious look of leather at a much lower cost. In dining chair use, it proves incredibly easy to maintain.

Wipes clean easilyNot very breathable
Stain & scratch resistantLess soft and cushy
Long-lasting and durableCan crack if flexed constantly

For ultra easy-care dining chairs you can sanitize regularly without worrying, vinyl is a fantastic option. Its durability makes it ideal for high-traffic, long-life furniture.

Additional Tips for Dining Chair Upholstery

Beyond material selection, keep these pro tips in mind when reupholstering dining chairs:

Fabric Quantity Requirements – Calculate yardage needed by measuring each chair section and adding 25% overage for pattern matching and trim. Dining chairs usually need 1-2 yards per chair.

Patterns and Prints – Small, tight patterns hold up better than large prints which emphasize wear. Geometric prints mask stains while florals can appear dingy faster. Choose low-contrast colors.

Nap and Texture – Smooth fabrics are easier to sew and create crisp tailoring. Textured fabrics can fray more but add visual interest. Run your hand over the fabric to check for shedding fibers.

Professional vs. DIY – Determine the complexity of your chair style. Simple slipcovers or basic upholstery you can likely DIY. But elaborate curves or intricate patterns warrant a professional upholsterer.

Fabric Protection – Always apply scotchguard, FibreSeal, or other quality fabric protectants after upholstering to enhance stain resistance, cleanability, and longevity.

Consider Chairs as an Ensemble – Choose fabrics across the entire dining chair set for continuity. But mixing solids, patterns, and textures can add visual interest.

Prioritize Comfort – Make sure you upholster chair seats, backs, and arms with soft, cushioning fabrics or batting beneath. Dining should be relaxing!

By keeping these tips top of mind and choosing the proper fabric, your reupholstered dining chairs can look stylish and endure for years to come.

Taking Your Dining Space to New Heights

Savvy upholstery fabric choices don’t just protect your dining chairs – they drive the entire look and atmosphere of the room. So don’t overlook the opportunity to completely elevate your dining space as you recover your chairs.

Consider coordinating your upholstery fabrics with new window treatments, table settings, area rugs, and wall art. Choose one fabric as inspiration, then build a gorgeous palette across the whole space using complementary textures and hues.

For example, sleek vinyl chair reupholstery could blend with a stone-topped dining table accented by metal sculptures and abstract canvas art. Cotton and linen fabrics lean into an airy, beachy atmosphere matched with whitewashed woods and jute textures.

The options are endless when you approach reupholstering dining chairs as an opportunity for total interior redecorating. Unlock your creativity!

The Bottom Line on Dining Chair Upholstery Fabrics

Selecting an upholstery fabric is a balancing act of visual style, durability, comfort, and price. But with the information in this guide, you’re fully prepared to make ideal material choices for any dining chair upholstery project.

Our top overall fabric recommendations:

  • Cotton – Affordable, comfortable, and classic. Great all-around option if well-protected.
  • Polyester Blends – Top durability, cleanability, and appearance at budget pricing. Look for cottons blends.
  • Linen Blends – Ultimate sophistication in look and feel. Choose cotton-linen blends to minimize cost.

You really can’t go wrong with any of those three fabric families as long as you apply fabric protectants and consider professional upholstery services if needed.

Specialty materials like microsuede, microfiber, and vinyls also shine for stain resistance and easy maintenance. Choose those if you have an active, messy household and minimizing cleaning efforts is your priority.

Whatever fabric you select, don’t underestimate how much upholstering dining chairs can transform your space. The right combination of fabrics, furnishings, and decor can make an entire room feel rejuvenated.

So pull up a chair, get inspired, and start planning how you’ll upgrade those tired old dining seats with premium upholstery. Your dinner guests (and interior design skills) will thank you!