When you’re shopping for office chairs, you want to choose one that will last – even if you’re opting for a very affordable office chair.
And that means you need to choose the right upholstery fabric for your desk chair.
But with so many choices of upholstery fabrics out there, which ones will deliver the goods and which desk chairs will fall apart at first contact?
We asked some professional upholsterers and this is what they told us.
Our Best Fabrics For Office Chairs
OK, so before you buy a fabric office chair you need to take a look at your budget, how easy it must be to clean, how it feels against your skin, etc. and we can’t help with that but what we can do is provide you with is a guide to the fabrics themselves.
Vinyl Office Chairs
Vinyl fabric office chairs are very common, at least in part, because they tend to be lower cost than other fabric office chairs.
However, we would note that vinyl is a form of plastic and is not very sustainable (see our favorite sustainable office chair options here).
However, there’s no doubt that they are better than most office chairs in places where you need to be able to resist dirt and stains such as on a factory floor.
However, they’re not the best office chairs for breathable fabric and, in fact, vinyl does not breathe at all – if your work environment gets hot, you’re going to stick to this kind of office chair.
Leather Office Chair
Leather office chairs are the most desirable chair for a good reason. Leather chairs look great, they’re very simple to maintain and keep clean (see our guide to how to clean home office chair wheels if you want to know about the most important part of chair cleaning) and most people just love the way they look.
A leather-upholstered seat is going to be very durable too when compared to other office chairs.
Leather is a super popular choice for executive chairs and looks great in client-facing situations.
However, if you don’t look after it – it will crack and unless it’s faux leather, your chair is also not suited to use by vegans.
Ultra-Leather Ergonomic Office Chair
Ultra-leather is this year’s name for “synthetic leather” – that is it looks a lot like leather but the fabric upholstery is in fact, a polyester fabric.
In general terms, the big plus of ergonomic chairs that are made from this material is that they tend to be hypoallergenic.
They are also easy to clean and reasonably long-lived but they won’t match the best fabric office chair for longevity – real leather is the most durable option.
Woven Fabrics Office Chairs
Woven materials make the best fabric office chairs for task chairs, in our opinion.
They tend to be very comfortable and you can easily customize the colors and designs (see all the different types of home office chairs) and they resist abrasions.
It is a breathable option but you’ll also find it tends to absorb moisture on hot days – which can lead to stains. In fact, that’s why we recommend these chairs as task chair options – they stain too easily for our liking.
Knitted Fabrics Office Chair
Knitted material is awesome and it’s often used on chairs that require additional lumbar support.
They breathe well and are easy to clean and, in our experience, while they aren’t the longest-lasting chair of all – they will last a reasonably long time and certainly won’t need replacing quickly.
They are very breathable too and if you work in a slightly hot environment that can be a real blessing.
Mesh Fabric Office Chair
Mesh is often used for gaming chairs, in fact, a gaming chair can be a good choice of mesh office chair too. Mesh chairs usually come with additional lumbar support as standard which is good for your back.
Mesh offers the greatest level of airflow around your body, which is amazing for your comfort and keeps you cool
It will also conform to the shape of your body easily. The only real downside with mesh is that it can rub against other materials (such as your clothes) and damage them.
Plastic Office Chairs
Plastic isn’t really something you see a lot of for a fabric desk chair, however, it is a common part of nearly every ergonomic chair that you can choose.
This kind of plastic is not good for the environment but is good in the office environment as it gives the perfect chair plenty of weight capacity and it should last a long time. Leaving you to sit comfortably.
We think the best office chair avoids plastic but for many people, if they want a stylish chair that they can afford? Plastic may be an essential component of that chair.
Final Thoughts On Choosing Fabric For Your Chair
There are lots of things to take into account when buying a chair from the seat cushions, to adjustable armrests, to adjustable lumbar support, to the ergonomic features, but if you want to sit comfortably, then you also need to pay attention to the fabric that your chair is made out of.
We hope that our guide has made it easy for you to invest in a chair for your office space that you find comfortable and useful for years to come.