Natural or Not?

Many people are concerned about their health nowadays, and rightfully so. Along with this they are concern about their environment and the materials used in their homes and furnishings. When it comes to upholstering their furniture, some people would like to have All Natural (or Organic) fabrics and stuffins put into their furniture. These are worthy desires.

Here are some considerations. I’ll break materials (both padding and fabrics) into four basic categories: (These are just based on my thinking and my experience, but may not be precisely accurate.)

1. All Synthetic, such as polyfoam, fabrics of nylon, rayon acrylic, etc.

2. Blends of both synthetic and semi-natural paddings and fabrics. This would include many Latex foams and partially natural foams.

3. Commercially processed mostly natural paddings and fabrics. This would also include most upholstery cotton, some Latex and “natural” foams.

4. Organically and naturally processed paddings and fabrics.

Options 1-3 are all commercially processed in varying degrees using varying amounts of processing, Chemicals and preservatives, etc. (I haven’t studied this out so am not sure about the exact details.) Because they are mass produced in large quantities, their prices are much lower than “Natural”.

The cotton that we use for our upholstery would probably fit into Option 3, it’s a relatively natural product, but I’m not sure what all has been put into the processing. It probably has been raised and processed with having pesticides being applied to it. I don’t smell or feel anything on it, but there are no claims that it’s organic or “purely” natural. We’ve had no complaints about it, and you are welcome to come have a look at it. This is the cotton that we use for most of our jobs.

(Probably a less expensive (than #4) option would be to have a commercially processed mostly naturally padding and cover.) This would be our standard upholstery cotton, perhaps covered in a denim, duck, or other cotton fabric. Another “natural” fabric is linen. It is a little harder to find and not as soft as cotton.

Option 4 is the most Natural and by far the most expensive. It usually involves a lot more hand labor, both in the raising or producing of the raw materials and the processing into the end product.

People who have high sensitivities and other health issues can really appreciate the absence of chemicals etc. However, Natural/Organic paddings and fabrics often run 2 to 3 (or more) times as much as the “regular” types of paddings and fabrics. Besides the cotton paddings, it might also include wool padding, cotton fabric, and wool fabrics.

Because of the additional cost of pure natural upholstery supplies, and the relatively few number of clients who are willing to pay the additional cost, there are very few, if any, upholsterers in any given area that specialize in doing all natural upholstery. Consequently, very few upholsterers stock those higher cost supplies. This means they have to special order small amounts for those jobs needing natural supplies. This adds to the cost.