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Which Fabric Goes Where? The Ultimate Fabric Guide for Home Decor

Furnishings wield the power to soften the hard edges of any space. Making the right choice, be it upholstery, curtains or bed linen, can update your interior décor in a jiffy. But do you know your fabrics and how to choose them for the right purpose? We tell you all:

Silk: A rich, expensive and aesthetically pleasing fabric, silk connotes luxury and is used for rugs, cushions, curtains, wallpapers and decorative headboards. Silk curtains need to be lined since they can weaken in sunlight. Available in various vibrant colours and varieties (embroidered silk, silk brocade), silk is often mixed with other fibres to make it cheaper.


Velvet: Decorating with velvet adds a touch of unsurpassed luxury to a home. This tightly woven and sumptuous fabric has been used down the ages in homes of the rich and the famous. Tricky to clean, its distinct touch finds way to upholstery, cushions, blinds and curtains. Synthetic and cotton velvet (velveteen) are also available.


Brocade: Woven with various types of silk with metallic threads adding interest, brocade provides a formal look through upholstery and draperies. A variety of patterns and colours are available and the fabric is often used for fancy cushions and runners.


Lace: A delicate fabric, lace can completely alter the look of a room and create a Victorian and romantic ambience. Be it vintage or new lace, it can be used in many ways — sheer curtains, tablecloths, placemats, lace-trimmed pillows, lace-panelled cushions, etc.


Chenille: Available in plain or patterned designs, chenille has a soft surface, a gentle sheen and good dyeing properties — qualities that make it ideal for use as soft furnishings across the home.


Cotton: Cotton’s durability, maintenance-friendly nature, comfort and softness make it a favourite for bed linen, curtains, upholstery and cushions. Plain, textured, poly cotton, cotton silk as well as mixes with other fabrics are also popular.


Linen: Synonymous with the usage of soft furnishings across the home (be it table linen or bed linen), linen is a unique fabric with many exceptional properties. The ecological fibre with high durability lends itself well to use across the home, is exceptionally durable, and resists fairly harsh cleaning practices. It is often blended with cotton (to alter the quality of cloth) or synthetic yarns such as viscose to boost durability.


Corduroy: Often used to generate interest by creating an interplay of textures, corduroy is a soft and hardwearing material that is a great option for family rooms and children’s playrooms. Corduroy, available in a range of colours and weaves, can be used for upholstery, curtains, sofa slipcovers and cushions.


Plaid: Available in various thicknesses, it is used for light upholstery across the home. Cool, smooth, strong and dirt-resistant, plaid has a great lustre but can be weakened by the sun and has a tendency to crease. The material is versatile and can be used to create a variety of styles.


Wool: It may work best on stools and ottomans, but wool is also used in curtains, carpets, cushions and upholstery. The material gives a traditional, rich and cosy feel, but can be used in contemporary décor as well. Prone to piling, it needs to be shaved occasionally.

This publicity photo provided by Burnham Design shows a bedroom designed by Betsy Burnham, with walls of pure white and frosty blue  complemented by a fluffy snow-white flokati rug.  (AP Photo/Burnham Design, Grey Crawford)

Leather: Available in a variety of colours and textures, this natural material offers immense possibilities. A range of leathers, including Nubuck and Aniline, are available on the market. Superior quality leather has a good-looking grain and tends to develop a “patina” and sheen as it ages. Designer leather (plain and embossed) is often used for panelling purposes.


Eco fabrics: Sustainable, green and environment-friendly textiles made from bamboo, cotton, hemp, jute and natural silk are also popular these days. While eco fabrics may not be as durable as conventional furnishings fabrics, environmental activists often opt for them.

Photos courtesy: ////,,, ////, ////,, ////, ////,,, ////, courtesy: Insite
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