fabric for upholstering

What fabrics to choose for upholstering theatre seats?

It may seem that one can choose any fabric for upholstering theater, cinema, or concert seats. Unfortunately it is not so. We cannot choose any upholstery for our theater seats. Even though it may be hard to believe, upholstery materials have a great impact on the acoustics of a given concert, theater, or entertainment hall.
Therefore, what fabric will be best for upholstering theater seats? What to choose and what criteria to follow for the acoustics of our interior to be the best?

What fabrics to choose for upholstering theater seats?

When constructing theater seats the following parameters are important:

  • Upholstery fabric,
  • Filling material,
  • Type of upholstered elements,
  • Type of arm supports and their milling,
  • Method of attaching the seats to the floor.

It’s worth to remember that the seats possess the highest acoustic absorption properties from all of the equipments found in concert, entertainment, cinema, or theater halls.
The seat’s filling is most often made from an elastic polyurethane foam. The upholstery fabrics are mainly: velour, trevira, and molton.
These are elastic fabrics which do not change their shape. Furthermore, they stand out with a relatively high abrasion resistance. Their additional advantage is the easiness of maintenance and upkeep.
For the high comfort of reception it is important that the sound is audible identically everywhere within the room. Seat upholstery fabrics also have an impact on that.

A key test for upholstery fabrics

A key element, which to a large degree decides on selecting a specific upholstery fabric, is its abrasion resistance. Abrasion resistance is expressed by the Martindale’s scale. The test consists in rubbing the fabric until it is damaged. Depending on the type of fabric it may take a few hours or even several days. A piece of the fabric is placed between two discs made from sandpaper or other material, and then the fabric is rubbed with the use of a constant force.
Fabrics possessing an average abrasion resistance usually last for 15-35 thousand cycles.
The most abrasion resistant fabrics last more than 100 thousand cycles. It is worth to choose fabrics which reach the abrasion resistance of more than 50 thousand cycles.


Upholstery fabrics for theater, cinema, or concert seats play an extremely important role. They not only emphasize the character of a given interior and impact its esthetics. They are also immensely significant for the acoustics of a specific interior.
That is why when selecting a specific upholstery material one has to follow not only reasons related to esthetics, but also those concerning acoustics.
Upholstery fabrics in concert or theater halls should properly mute noise and reduce reverb. Thus, they should significantly improve the comfort of participating in a show or concert.
Additionally let us not forget that upholstery fabrics for theater seats should stand out with their high abrasion resistance, be easy to maintain and keep clean, but also be fire retardant. Thanks to this they will maintain their advantages and initial look for longer.