Restaurant Design Ideas: Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics

To help simplify this selection process, here’s what you need to know to guide you in the right direction.

By GR Chair

Cutting blue upholstery fabric.

When designing a restaurant, there are thousands of decisions to make, one of them being whether you should use natural or synthetic fabrics to make your design ideas come to life. Making the right selection between these two material types is an important decision based on a number of needs and factors of the restaurant.  To help simplify this selection process, here’s what you need to know to guide you in the right direction:

What’s the Difference?

Derived from nature, natural fabrics include materials like cotton, linen, wool, and silk. When we talk about synthetic, these are human-made material combinations like nylon, polyester, and rayon.

What to Know About Natural Fabrics

Cotton: This is an adamant and breathable option, making it appealing for upholstery and casual curtains. It’s also a very affordable option, making it more appealing for those on a tight design budget.

Silk: This is a luxurious fabric that’s usually a perfect selection for oriental rugs and pillows. Keep in mind that sunlight can cause silks to fade over time. Silk fabrics also tend to be on the more expensive side.

Linen: A more casual look with a beachy and fun feel, linen is an attractive option for very specific restaurant design ideas. While great for stains, the fabric is also prone to wrinkle quickly.

Wool: It’s robust and durable, so it stands the test of time on upholstered areas and carpeting. These fabrics also offer a feeling of warmth and coziness to space. However, much like that wool sweater in your closet, it can be uncomfortable.

What to Know About Synthetic Fabrics

Nylon: It’s a sturdy and long-lasting fabric, which can be appealing for durability and the budget. However, this is not a breathable option so it can be uncomfortable.

Polyester: This is usually blended with other natural fibers and used for upholstery. It maintains its color over time but lacks strength.

Rayon: Common for window treatments because it hangs up nicely. Not the best option for humid areas as it has a tendency to shrink.

Striking the Right Balance

Don’t be afraid to mix up your fabrics and patterns, some of the most sought-after restaurant design ideas come from layering different textures together to achieve the perfect design balance. You can usually get away with mixing up to three different patterns or textures together before it starts to look awkward and unbalanced.