How Reliable is Chenille Upholstery Fabric?

With its thick, soft pile chenille upholstery fabric it remains one of the most popular materials around. Chenille can be used to create a soft, romantic look, or a luxurious, regal look. But how well will it hold up to average use? Here we will look at some of the best, and worst reasons to choose chenille for upholstered items.


When it comes to choose an upholstery fabric, the first thing you should ask is what are your cleaning needs? If you have a room that is frequented by young children, or a dining area where spills can occur, then chenille is not the best material to use. Moisture can kill the beautiful look of chenille in no time. Cleaning chenille should done by using a vacuum with a brush, and should be done gently. If you do end up with a stain on chenille, it can be a nightmare to clean, if it's even possible. A professional can offer dry cleaning, even on furniture. You may need to find a specialist or restoration expert for this, but it can be saved if you don't try to clean it yourself.


Modern forms of chenille are created with a rayon blend. Rayon is a sturdy material, but it can be weakened by sunlight. A chair that has been upholstered in a modern chenille will lose its pile if it's placed near a window. Not only will the luxurious pile start to fail, but it will fade. Chenille is a beautiful material, but when it fades it will do so unevenly. This can leave you with an unsightly piece of furniture. Some manufacturers will use a chemical in the creation of the chenille to help resist fading, but this will only stave it off for a few years. If you are using chenille in a room with a lot of natural sunlight, be prepared for faded furniture in as few as 5 years. You can avoid this by finding chenille that is made of something other than rayon. Many manufactures will use acrylic or olefin fibers in upholstery chenille. This is your best bet if you are wanting an heirloom-quality piece that will resist fading.

The Look

Chenille can work with almost any decor. You can find an array of patterns and styles in this material. Because it has a more plush look, using chenille on all your furniture can pose some interesting challenges in a retro or modern themed room. Chenille can look great as an accent to a retro room. A modern room can also benefit by having one or two small pieces of furniture covered with chenille. If you are going for a rich, romantic look, an entire room stocked with chenille covered furniture can look fantastic. Chenille can work with anything, you may just need to get the creative juices flowing.