Pros and Cons of Linen Upholstery

Pros and Cons of Linen Upholstery

Linen is a classic upholstery fabric. Linen is also made from the fibers of the flax plant and has been used by humans for thousands of years. Some historians even say that linen was once used as a type of currency in the days of ancient Egypt. Linen feels good, it’s durable, and it is just as popular today as it was thousands of years ago. 

If you’re looking to get something upholstered in linen, you’re on the right track. But before you go through with the decision, keep in mind that there are both pros and cons of linen upholstery. Whether it’s a sofa or an armchair, you should know how linen is made, when it does and doesn’t work, and whether you should go with linen or maybe a different fabric.

Related Article – How to choose upholstery fabric 

Where Does Linen Come From?

Linen is made from flax. All of the best linen fibers actually come directly from the flax plant. And because the process hasn’t changed much since it was first invented thousands of years ago, linen is still, in the 21st century, harvested by hand.

The actual process of taking the flax plant and creating fabric is very complicated. It involves drying and curing for up to several months, a lot of separating, crushing, and waiting. Most of it is done by hand, until finally the fibers can be taken and spun into linen yarn.

The best flax used in crafting linen fabric comes from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Russia and China. Egypt also makes some of the best linen in the world because of the flax that they grow in the Nile River Valley, which has such remarkably rich soil that the flax plants are unparalleled.  

Processing is generally done in the same place the plants are harvested. That said, some of the most famous linen mills are in Italy, while France and Ireland also compete to produce some of the best and most expensive linen fabrics in the world. 

The Pros of Linen Upholstery

Linen upholstery is eco-friendly, naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic which makes it an excellent natural fabric. Because the ingredients used for making linen are grown without the use of fertilizers and without irrigation, your fabric is not damaging to the environment. In today’s eco-conscious world, a natural fabric and one that is eco-friendly have become a huge advantage and makes it a good choice when choosing from the many types of fabrics out there. 

Another advantage is that linen is the strongest of all the plant fibers. Linen is insanely strong and isn’t going to break anytime soon. In fact, linen is 30% stronger than cotton. It’s even stronger when wet. 

Linen is cool to touch, breathable and it is comfortable. Linen really feels great on almost everything, it is a great option for bedding and almost all summer clothing is made from linen because it’s cool and smooth, and therefore refreshing on a hot summer day. Linen is moisture resistant. It can absorb dampness up to 20% without even feeling wet!

Linen is also great for upholstery because it can be washed and dry cleaned. Vacuuming is easy with linen. With regular maintenance and washing, linen can last forever. The fabric does have a luxurious look to it, which is why a lot of people also are drawn to it.

The Cons of Linen Upholstery

There are not very many cons when it comes to using linen for upholstery. It’s true that linen does wrinkle easily, which depending on what you’re getting upholstered can be a deal breaker, but some people like that look, so it truly depends on your style and home decor. 

Linen is also not stain resistant. This can be a huge problem if what you’re getting upholstered is in a place where children or even adults can easily spill things on it. Stains can definitely ruin linen or at least make washing a bit of a hassle. 

Hot water may cause linen fabric to shrink or may weaken the fibers. So be aware of this when washing cushion covers. Make sure to wash at 30 degrees or less and on a slow spin cycle so as not to shrink the material. It is also best to avoid bleach, as it will weaken the fibers and may change the colour of your linen.

The final con of using linen for upholstery is that the fibers are known to weaken when exposed to direct sunlight. This isn’t a huge issue if whatever you’re upholstering is staying in the basement. But if you’re trying to upholster a couch that sits directly in front of a window that receives lots of sunlight, you may want to think again about linen. 

Is Linen Good for furniture Upholstery? 

Linen is an excellent choice for upholstered furniture. Linen is easy to care for, slipcovers can be washed and dried inside of residential washing and drying machines, the fabric is very durable because of the strong natural flax fibers, and linen ages better than many other fabrics used in upholstery.  Linen also ages well, and in fact, gets softer even after it is cleaned repeatedly, which makes it a good choice from upholstery fabrics to choose from.

Linen even gets softer the more it’s cleaned. This is honestly one of the best fabrics that you can choose for upholstery. Linen is comfortable, which makes sense when upholstering furniture. Linen is also known to be moisture resistant. Linen can absorb much dampness, making it beneficial when living in a climate with a lot of humidity. The linen fabric will actually help to absorb a lot of that humidity and make your furniture more comfortable. 

But the good stuff doesn’t end there. The moisture resistance of linen helps to negate any bacterial growth that could occur because of dampness. This kind of thing happens with other fabrics but not with linen. 

Linen is also breathable and hypoallergenic. You’re not going to suffer any skin issues or allergy problems by sitting on a sofa upholstered in linen. 

Is Linen a Good Material for a Sofa?

Not only is linen a good material for a sofa, but linen is also a good material for every piece of furniture in your household. There is no fabric quite as versatile as linen. This is why you’re probably familiar with kitchen linens and bed linens. Linen is used in everything. When it comes to upholstering fabric for your sofa, linen is a real winner. 

For your sofa, linen is strong and durable. It’s one of the most comfortable fabrics to sit on. It also resists moisture, making couches with upholstered linen fabric better for relaxing on during the hotter months – as well as cozier in the colder months!

But besides just being comfortable, linen is also luxurious. Linen upholstery on the sofa can give your home an elegant atmosphere that you just can’t get with any other type of fabric.

Is Linen Fabric Easy to clean?

Linen upholstery fabric overall is extremely easy to care for. In fact, customers can clean slipcovers in their homes simply using a washing machine and dryer, or taken to the dry cleaners, depending on a buyer’s preference. If you have linen upholstered furniture, the fabric can also be washed by hand or spot cleaned.

How do you get stains out of linen upholstery?

  1. First vacuum the spot to remove any reminisce of the dirt. Next soak up the stain with a white cloth by blotting it, make sure not to rub the stain.
  2. Then proceed to spot clean the area with distilled water and a white cloth. Try to not use tap water as it affects the ability to penetrate and lift stains, dirt, and grime easily. The lack of mineral content in distilled water allows it to be more efficient in a chemical and mechanical fashion.
  3. Use a mild soap with the distilled water next, this should be able to get out the stain. If you are able to remove the linen slipcover, you can machine wash on cold and hang to dry, or alternatively, bring to the dry cleaners to get professionally cleaned.Another method to spot clean linen upholstery fabric is with club soda, baking soda or even a small amount of white vinegar, followed by blotting the stain with a white cloth.

What Goes Best With Linen?

The natural linen colour is neutral and mellow and works well with so many other colours and textures. Bold, rich hues, especially blue works really we because it balances out the warm tones found in beige. Natural linen colour is very versatile, it can work in both a dark interior and light interior really well. You may think that a beige tone wouldn’t stand out in a white interior, but in fact, it really pops when placed in even lighter, i.e. white, interiors.

Thanks for visiting Calgary Interiors! If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are looking for more articles related to fabric options, check out our blog on “INFORMATION ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT UPHOLSTERY FABRIC”

tags – linen upholstery fabric, upholstery fabric, upholstery fabrics, pros and cons, types of fabrics, furniture upholstery, fabric linen, linen upholstered