top of page
  • beth swade

How to pick your upholstery fabric- the martindale test...

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Function will be a key element in choosing what type of fabric is going to work best for your project... by looking at the 'rub count' you will be able to see if the fabric will be able to withstand what you need it to... By choosing the right rub count your chair will look better and wear better!

The Martindale Test is an internationally recognised test to score how durable a fabric is. There is a number given that aligns to the number of ‘rubs’ that the fabric can take before it starts to show distress. The machine used uses metal disks that rotate round in a circular motion counting the number of rotations. Whilst the Martindale Test is a really good indicator of how fabric will wear it doesn’t take into account UV light, chemicals or dirt and extra ordinary wear such as animal claws!

Think about what your chairs (or any other interior project) is going to be used for and how much wear it needs to withstand and check that the martindale number matches up to the functionality you need...

Have a look at the break down below...


10,000 or Less

Decorative Use this score would mean that the fabric is not suitable for upholstery but could be used for cushions or accents that will not be used much. Basically avoid!!


10,000- 20,000

Light Domestic Use this could be used for domestic furniture that will not be in high use, an occasional decorative chair for example. Again I would tend to avoid and not go for anything this low unless its a real occasional chair, and who really has these any more?!!


20,000- 25,000

General Domestic Use a good score for everyday use furniture used as piece of furniture in a regular domestic setting. This is a good starting place for most of your home projects.


25,000- 30,000

Heavy Domestic Use suitable for high levels of everyday use in domestic setting and light commercial use. If you have small people and pets in your life I would recommend starting hear.


30,000 or More

Commercial use this score is the highest and considered suitable for any commercial setting and high traffic furniture.


So what number does your project need?

Give me a shout if you would like to discuss further.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page