How to Choose the Most Durable and Attractive Naugahyde

How to Choose the Most Durable and Attractive Naugahyde

Two Comfy Grey Chairs in a Room with a two tone color paintjob.

Maybe you have plans to remodel your restaurant. Maybe it’s time to update or upgrade your old seating. Or maybe you just want to hop on the recent restaurant trend of having lots of comfy seating.

In any of those cases, your goal is to make your seating the nicest you can to make your setting as comfortable and attractive as possible. The material you choose for your upholstery needs to not only be attractive but also durable.

Naugahyde is a premium vinyl upholstery fabric common in restaurants because it is easy to care for. Additionally, its style and function make it flexible enough to work for inside or outside seats and casual or elegant decors.

Let’s take a look at what Naugahyde brings to a restaurant in terms of form and function and how to choose the best option for your upholstery.

Know Your Types of Vinyl

Before you go about trying to select the best Naugahyde for your restaurant space, it helps to know a little bit about vinyl in general. Grading of vinyl is often more about the cost of the fabric than the quality. For that reason, it’s better to focus on the intended use of a particular fabric than grading.

Vinyl is made from ethylene and salt, which makes a kind of plastic. In general, it is similar to the look and feel of natural leather but less expensive and easier to take care of than real leather.

Most vinyl falls into one of three types - non-backed, non-expanded, and expanded. All three can have different chemicals, treatments, and backings added to change the potential application for the vinyl.

Non-backed vinyl can be found in automobiles for trim and upholstery. Non-expanded has a cloth backing to strengthen the vinyl and is used for less durable purposes such as tablecloths or purses. You can use non-expanded vinyl for upholstering, but it will have to be replaced more often as the fabric can tear.

Expanded-back vinyl is the most appropriate for use in upholstery projects as it is much thicker - and thus more durable - than the others.

Commercial-grade versions can be really thick, almost foam-like. It has the durability needed for furniture upholstery and can have a texture or pattern added to further the simulation of fabric or leather. This type can also have special coatings added to make it stain-resistant or antibacterial.

Marine-grade versions are suitable for outdoor use, making it a good option if you plan to expand your outdoor seating and want upholstered seats. This type gets extra treatments for UV protection and to prevent color fading.

What is Naugahyde?

So what is the difference between vinyl and Naugahyde? Nothing, actually, since Naugahyde is simply a specific brand of vinyl designed as a faux leather product. It’s made by Uniroyal Engineered Products.

Naugahyde is a premium vinyl choice that works in all kinds of settings, and the company has more than 500 standard products for you to choose from. There’s a huge range of color and texture options that give you the best chance of finding something perfect for your particular decor style.

Regardless of which Naugahyde product you choose, you’ll get the benefit of a product that is abrasion-resistant, fire retardant, and antimicrobial. Many come with Naugahyde’s unique BeautyGard® Supreme topcoat finish to make it stain-resistant and easy to clean. Others are available with the Advanced BeautyGard® top coat.

Naugahyde is manufactured to retain a soft, supple feel even as a vinyl-coated fabric with a jersey knit backing. It’s designed to reflect the physical appearance of leather with its various grains and textures. But unlike leather, Naugahyde is a cruelty-free fabric and has one-third the environmental impact of real leather.

Naugahyde for Restaurants

You find vinyl in abundance in restaurants - everything from barstools to chairs to booth seating. More than 170 million people are moving in and out of those seats daily across the country, so they need to be able to handle a lot of traffic.

Because it’s versatile and easy to clean, Naugahyde is a practical choice for most dining rooms. The wide range of colors available also makes it work with just about any decor.

Uniroyal offers several specific lines of Naugahyde meant for use in restaurants, coffee shops, and diners. These particular types of vinyl combine durability with distinctive and stylish looks. All are stain-resistant, flame-retardant, and antimicrobial.

Spirit Supreme

This is one of the more durable Naugahyde choices, which makes it a winner in a restaurant setting. Its heavy weight and extreme abrasion rating make it more of an advanced performance option. This vinyl comes with Uniroyal's BeautyGard Supreme top coating, giving it superior stain resistance even against blue jean dyes.

The downside to this particular line is that it only comes in nine colors. They are solid basic colors, though - black, grays, red, blue, and browns - so it is easy to find one that works.

Spirit Millennium and All-American

These two lines are good for high traffic areas thanks to their good durability with a high abrasion rating. They both come with the Advanced BeautyGard top coat finish for improved stain resistance.

Spirit Millennium is a heavier vinyl available in a dizzying array of 84 colors, while All-American is a good medium weight that comes in 31 colors.


One of the new lines, Casablanca features a linen pattern that can be paired nicely with a solid color for contrast. It’s a medium-weight vinyl that comes in 13 colors and is available with the Advanced BeautyGard top coat finish. The texture is more like a fabric than traditional leather like the others.

It does have a lower abrasion rating, making it a less durable choice than some of the others.


This most attractive Naugahyde features a soft hand for a more luxurious feel than most types of vinyl. It’s a lighter weight fabric with a lower abrasion rating, so it won’t be the best choice for all applications. Allure comes in 14 colors, including several greens and a yellow.

Keep It Looking Good

After you’ve spent a lot of time and money on your upholstery choice, you want to ensure it stays looking as attractive as it did the first day. No matter how durable the vinyl might be, it needs some loving care to keep it looking great.


Keeping vinyl clean is an easy job, requiring just mild soap and water for most messes, dirt, and scuffs. The trick is to wipe up spills and clean the surface as quickly as you can to prevent staining.

If you do end up with a stain, you can try a commercially available cleaner recommended for vinyl. Make sure you test it out in an inconspicuous spot before tackling the stain. Dry the vinyl thoroughly when you’re done as excessive water left too long can soal through and damage the vinyl.


Beyond cleaning, a regular plan to inspect, clean, and condition your vinyl upholstery can increase its longevity and durability.

Naugahyde should be able to handle the UV rays without fading, but if you have seating in a sunny area, use a vinyl conditioner to avoid sun damage. Restore and keep the lovely luster of the vinyl with a light coat of furniture wax followed by a buffing with a clean cloth.


Dealing with a stain or scuff is a cinch compared with a cut in your upholstery. Jabs from jeans snaps, corners of cell phones, and points of pens can poke small holes that eventually become a rip. If it is small and out of the way, you could try a vinyl repair kit to close it up.

No matter how careful you are, a repair is going to stand out a bit since matching the texture isn’t possible and the color will be just that tiny bit off. Even so, it can be worth doing a repair as it will keep a hole or rip from growing to the point where replacement is your only option.

A professional upholsterer can help you with more severe damage by recovering the piece, which saves you money over replacing the entire stool or chair.

Ready to Choose Your Naugahyde?

Whether opening a new restaurant or remodeling an old one, upholstered seating creates a cozy, comfortable atmosphere to welcome your diners. From classic to casual to elegant, Naugahyde has a vinyl option that works with your eatery’s decor and can last you for years to come.

If you need help deciding which Naugahyde is best for your decor, contact us to talk to one of our experts about your project. We can help you narrow down your options to make your chairs, booths, and bar stools reflect your restaurant’s style.

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