Things To Consider When Selecting Office Upholstery

Things To Consider When Selecting Office Upholstery

Business Types

Selecting the right fabric when picking out a new office chair or range of reception seating can be time consuming. The near endless choice of different textures and materials can be quite confusing. Perhaps the most common consideration is the fabric colours and how these work with the company branding. Companies with brightly coloured logos might easily be able to select a close match form a standard upholstery range. Other business might face or more difficult decision when it comes to selecting the upholstery used throughout a new office furniture installation project. The fabrics chosen can have a big impact on the overall impression of the furniture and décor. The business needs to consider many things such as whether they want to appear modern, traditional, industrial or contemporary. The business sector and target audience no doubt play a major role in the decisions each company will come to regarding fabric choices. To create a modern impression some companies may choose a softer palette, complemented by monochrome upholstery and perhaps even a mix of textures. Both coarse and smooth weave fabrics have a place in a new office layout.

Fabric Types

To makes things even more complicated, many fabrics are only suitable for one type of application. For example, a fabric suitable for use on an operator chair may not work well on larger, soft reception seating due to stretch properties of the fabric or how the fabric responds to being stitched. Many operator chairs do not require a stitched fabric as the upholstery is simply wrapped around the foam seat and stapled in place. The manufacturing process for other office seating products can be entirely different. The width of the fabric on the roll can also cause problems. Most fabrics designed for commercial contract used are made at 1400mm wide as standard. This is fine for almost all office seating, but difficulty can arise when upholstering office room dividers or screens. If the screens are larger than 1400mm both in height and width, then a special screen fabric would need to be selected. These are available on a more generous roll of 1700mm however, subsequent matching of screen fabrics with chair fabrics can be a real headache on new installs. One easy solution is to have several smaller screens in place of fewer large ones. For example, order two at 800mm wide instead of one at 1600mm wide. This may work out slightly more expensive but having identical upholstery across an entire project is well worth it.

Other Factors

Deciding on fabrics can be fairly straight forward when the office seating or room dividers are the only furniture in the workspace. It can be less straight forward when there are other elements at play. What other furniture is in the room? In an office environment there will likely be item such as office desks and office storage that need to be taken into consideration. The colour or finish of other office furniture can affect the upholstery choice as not all combinations are complimentary. In an ideal world, any new installation of upholstered office products should go hand in hand with a complete, new install of furniture. In this way the company has full control over the end product. Most however will likely have to work with a limited budget and think about how new additions will work with the existing setup. Room décor and dressing can also impact which fabrics will work best. Does the workspace design follow the modern trend of incorporating the use of plants? A biophilic approach will add colour (mostly green) to an office environment before the fabrics are even taken into consideration. Try to take this into account when selecting fabric colours and textures. What is the lighting like? Darker colours can look great when there are a good number of windows with plenty of natural light. In other scenarios, lighter coloured fabrics may be just what the space needs to create a pleasing feel the working environment. Bright colours in fabrics can also look fantastic when used appropriately. When used well, bright colours can create an invigorating workspace with a modern and vibrant look. It’s worth remembering though that you can always have too much of a good thing. Some projects have accidently over-used bright colours in the design. This can cause the project theme to appear more childish and like a toy store than the vibrant and contemporary space that was aimed for. One solution is to try to use bright colours in moderation and perhaps limit yourself to just one or two main colours throughout a project. Consider pairing bright colours with monochrome counterparts such as brightly coloured desktop screens with plain white or black desktops. This can look very effective and inject life into an office design without overwhelming the space with colours.


Sustainability is an important factor in office upholstery that is perhaps thought of last or less often. Or so it was. More and more businesses are now doing what they can do cut down on their carbon footprint. This even effect which fabrics they might choose on a new furniture project. What makes a fabric range sustainable? Should you choose synthetic materials or would natural fibres like wool be better for the environment? The answer is not always easy to work out as it is not only the raw materials which effect sustainability. The manufacturing process itself could potentially be more harmful to the environment than the material choice itself. There are however a few clear winners if selecting an eco-friendly upholstery is a priority.

Saving The Planet with Recycled Fabrics

Among the plethora of upholstery options for office products are a number of recycled fabric ranges. As concerns for the environment are becoming more prevalent among new business developments, these modern fabrics are swiftly gaining popularity. One of our favourites ironically is named ‘ONE’.

plastic bottles

ONE Fabrics

The ONE range is made from 100% recycled polyester. ONE is a stretch knit fabric produced with yarns from plastic bottles. With a sporty fresh look, it is suitable for operator seating, larger soft reception seating and vertical surfaces such as screens in the office environment. The range consists of a large palette of both vibrant colours and monotone options, providing an upholstery solution to almost all business sectors. The unique texture of the weave works well for both modern and traditional applications.

No doubt you’re as keen as we are to look after our planet. That’s why all our upholstered products including chairs, sofas and screens are now available in the ONE recycled fabrics range which is made from plastic bottles. Ordering online is easy. Simply select one of the attractive finishes under the ONE range of fabrics and place your order online.

One fabrics

Other Fabric Ranges

Of course, there are other fabric ranges available and we understand that sometimes, choosing an eco-friendly upholstery just isn’t practical. For example, if surfaces need to be wipeable such as in a medical environment like a doctor’s waiting room, a vinyl would be the natural choice. We have large selection of medical grade vinyls to choose in our online store. These are also available on both operator seating and reception applications. It could also be that the particular texture, feel or colour that works perfectly with your business image just isn’t available yet in a recycled fabric range. As recycled fabrics become more popular, we hope to see more ranges becoming available soon so that we can offer a wider selection to our customers. Whilst we’ve tried to provide a good selection of fabrics on our website, there are many thousands of options that could be applied to our products. We’re conscious that it’s very possible to have too much choice and we want to make the online purchase as simple and easy as possible for our customers. The truth is that if we added all the possible options to our website this would make the user experience very slow and likely overwhelm our customers with too much choice. Please get in touch if you can’t find just the fabric you’re looking for on our site. We work with all the major UK upholstery suppliers so if you’ve found another fabric range you like online, chances are we can have our products made to order in the fabric of your choice. You may also wish to match new seating to your existing upholstered furniture. This is rarely a problem. If the fabric is still in production, there’s a very good chance that we can get hold of it for you. You might wonder how to find out what fabrics you currently have in your project. Here’s a quick tip. If you have upholstered office chairs, try looking underneath the seat for information. Many manufactures will place a sticker under the seat which details the fabric used on the chair. Sometimes this may only display the fabric code used by manufacturer. If you find an information sticker but you’re not sure what it all means simply send us a photograph of it and we’ll gladly help you figure it out.