History of Upholstery
Upholstery is derived from ‘upholder’, an English word common in the Middle Ages. An upholder in those days was a tradesman who finished or repaired goods from falling apart. These artisans or tradesmen inspired the name of the soft cushions that add comfort to modern living and commercial spaces. And they were later known as sofa upholstery.
Formerly, an upholsterer was a person skilled in the art of making or repairing furniture. This designation is still evident in the 21st century.
Earlier, upholsterers nailed animal skins over wooden furniture to add softness to the hard wooden structure of the furniture. They progressed to use any material available to create soft cushioning over hard furniture structures. However, there are different types of upholstery fabric like cotton, acetate, leather, hemp, linen, silk, polypropylene, acrylic, polyester, rayon, and nylon. But not all are used to make sofa upholstery.
Coconut husks, hay, straws, animal hair like horsehair, wadding, linen, and burlap were frequently used to fill the seats. This gave rise to the art of including padding, pillows for sleep, and cushions over wooden furniture. Furthermore, there are different types of linen fabric like damask linen, plain-woven linen, loosely-woven linen, etc. And they are a common sofa material that need care with a proper homemade sofa cleaner.
Traditionally, the upholstery was used as wall hangings and over mattresses only. During these times, cleaning upholstery was an easy task. That’s because washable fabrics were used for mattresses and wall hangings that could be easily dusted. The history of upholstery can be traced as follows:
- By the 17th century, beds were introduced followed by chairs and sofas. As the initial prices of such products were high, only the rich in any society could afford them. This is why the furniture was covered in precious fabric like silk and velvet.
- By the 18th century, springs were used to make sofas and different types of beds, which made the furniture durable with mattresses.
- Fabrics were made using machines and dyes post the industrial revolution in the 19th century after a major industry shake-up. Prints on cotton started becoming popular as an upholstery fabric.
- Dirt retardants, plywood, and synthetic fibres were introduced to create durable, luxurious, and comfortable furniture. These advancements improved in the 20th century, modernising the upholstery form into what is seen today.
Taking the amazing history of upholstered furniture forward, we at Wakefit, offer a range of upholstered dining chairs, different types of sofa sets, armchairs and lounge chairs, ottomans and so much more. They come in different types of linen fabric and Indian print fabrics.