From Victorian-era furniture to contemporary luxury pieces, horsehair has remained an indispensable part of home decor.

However, horsehair upholstery stuffing was perhaps most widespread during the 19th century. That said, you can visit a local antique furniture store and find settees, chairs, and ottomans from the era that were traditionally padded and upholstered with organic materials. 

Of these, horsehair was considered a cut above the others and a mark of high quality. Any upholstery fabric or furniture featuring horsehair was, and remains, relatively expensive. 

For that same reason, horsehair upholstery no longer enjoys the mainstream popularity it once did. The interior design and home decor industry have switched to cheaper alternatives that don’t offer as much durability or character. 

On the other hand, horsehair upholstery fabrics last a lifetime and often outlive the buyer. On that note, here are a few compelling reasons to invest in them:

1. Durability

It’s no secret that a modern, mass-produced sofa from a discount store won’t offer as much durability as an antique piece made of high-quality material. That said, horsehair upholstery fabrics are long-lasting options known for retaining their shape even after decades. 

If you look at antique pieces that have been chewed out or battered, the horsehair can be salvaged and the furniture restored. However, working with horsehair takes time and money, so some buyers go for cheaper alternatives, such as poly blends and cotton.

While they are easier on the wallet, other materials have various durability issues. For instance, rayon loses its original appearance after a couple of years, polyester cracks quickly when exposed to high temperatures, and cotton stains easily. 

2. Eco-Friendly 

Presently, using synthetic materials for upholstery jobs has become the norm as they are easier to mass-produce. At the same time, these fabrics do not last long and have to be replaced every few years — if the furniture is worth salvaging. 

Considering how these low-quality products are sometimes viewed as disposable items, the industry is undoubtedly marked by overproduction and overconsumption. 

On the other hand, furniture finished with organic upholstery materials, such as horsehair fabric, lasts a lifetime and is easy to recycle. After all, unlike synthetic materials derived from petroleum by-products, they are made of biodegradable substances found in nature. 

And in case you are wondering, no horses are harmed in the making of horsehair upholstery fabrics. Indeed, reliable manufacturers only use trimmings from the horsetail and never the entire tail. 

3. Low-Maintenance

Like other environmentally sustainable organic options, horsehair fabrics are naturally resistant to dirt, mould, and moisture — simply put, they are easy to care for. And since they do not undergo the chemical treatments that synthetic fibres are often subject to, you won’t have to worry about allergies and skin rashes.

4. Versatile

Horsehair can be woven into stripes or solids and embroidered with intricate designs. Interested buyers may also pick between exciting colours to add a modern and chic appeal to a traditional horsehair fabric. 

For instance, furniture upholstered with a black brocade horsehair fabric provides a timeless look to any living space. What’s more, the robust and durable material is suitable for making various other items, including garments and handbags. 

Horsehair Upholstery

Horsehair fabrics blend luxury, comfort, functionality, style, and sustainability to provide a sturdy upholstery material that can last decades. 

Genuine horsehair fabrics are sold by reputable fabric houses that source their textiles from international mills. This dynamic and premium product comes at a hefty price, especially when compared to inexpensive, low-quality upholstery materials sold at big-box stores.

But, considering how it is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase that retains its look and quality, buying a horsehair upholstery fabric may be well worth it.