Fab Love: 5 Types of Fabrics That Are Best for Your Home

by Pooja Dara | February 19, 2024 | 6 mins read

Types of fabrics for your upholstery dreams

Upholstered furniture is a huge investment in modern homes. Let’s discuss the various upholstery fabric types that add to the charm.

The fabric selection can affect the overall aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality of your home design for many years, so you must be very careful about the different types of fabric you choose. Fabrics are a subset of upholstery that covers the sofa, headboard, chairs and much more. Upholstery fabric is heavier than most cloth used for clothing and bedding since the usage, frequency, and durability are different. 

Let’s find out what differentiates natural fabrics from synthetic ones and what factors must be considered while selecting those for the various interior applications.  

Factors to Consider While Purchasing Different Fabric Materials

  • Be aware of the thread count. Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. Higher thread count = more tightly woven fabric = better ageing. 
  • Look out for upholstery materials that are durable, high-quality, more resistant to moisture, dirt, and fading, and easy to maintain.     
  • Choose budget-friendly options like nylon, polyester & cotton. More expensive choices include wool, velvet & silk. Consider placement, as it is an important determinant in your colour choice.
  • Take samples first (carry back a swatch to see how the fabric looks in your room). 
  • Consider the room’s requirements. Functionality encompasses structural stability, temperature insulation, light, ventilation, and comfort.  
  • Be mindful of textures. Wool, velvet, and even microfiber can prove challenging to maintain in the presence of kids and pets. 
  • Choose the appropriate colour and texture for your room. Smaller spaces do well with lighter fabrics and lighter colour tones. If the room is plain and ordinary, you can opt for one textural element to give it an edge.

Fabrics are also divided into four categories based on their weight, which further decides their specific uses:

  • Thin/Sheer Fabrics – Soft Top Window Treatments | Window Draperies | Window Curtains
  • Light-Weight Fabrics – Linen Bedspreads | Lamp Shades | Window Shades
  • Medium-Weight Fabrics – Heavy Curtains | Slipcovers | Rigid Top Treatments | Upholstery 
  • Heavy-Weight Fabrics – Wall Coverings & Hangings | Furniture Upholstery | Heavy Bedspreads

Natural V/S Synthetic V/S Blended: Types of Fabric Materials

Natural Fabrics

  • Derived from plant fibres and animal fibres, and are mainly soluble and not dust-resistant.
  • Mineral/cellulose/protein-based fabric (natural farming | animal husbandry | insects)
  • Medium durability, warmth, breathability and comfort are easier to dye. 
  • Have a fixed length.
  • Expensive as compared to synthetic fibres and has a low environmental footprint (~more sustainable)  
  • Examples: Wool, Silk, Linen, Cotton, Cashmere, Rayon

Synthetic Fabrics

  • Engineered from natural but mostly chemical polymers, which are mainly insoluble and dust-resistant. 
  • Do not have a fixed length.
  • Easier to maintain, highly durable, but difficult to dye.
  • Cheaper as compared to natural fibres but has a significant environmental footprint (~less sustainable) 
  • Examples: Spandex, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Chiffon, Lace

Blended Fabrics

  • A mix of natural and synthetic fabrics; offers the best of both worlds. 
  • Example: A polyester and cotton blend provides durability and comfort, respectively. 

Now, let’s dive into the world of sofa upholstery fabric types so that you have a quick guide in hand for your final purchase decision that will save you from making an absolute blunder.

A Faux Leather Upholstery Fabric Type for Armchair 

This brown faux leather armchair is an excellent choice for the library room as it lends a regal air and luxurious vibe. It is comfortable, incredibly soft and easy to maintain using a special leather cleaning product. It adds a pop of bold colour to the space, which is further accentuated by the natural light and freestanding reading light.

Faux leather upholstery fabric for armchair to lend a regal air and luxurious vibe
Leather is a wrinkle-resistant fabric

Suede: A Different Kind of Fabric in Home Interiors 

Suede is made from the underside of animal skin, giving it a smooth finish that lasts for ages. It is thinner but not as strong as full-grain leather. Dress up your home like this large living room with a shining suede three-piece sofa set. It complements the wooden elements in the room, such as the wall decor and wall panel, creating an earthy glow. 

Suede fabric for a three-piece sofa set  which complements the wooden elements in the room
Suede can be easily customised

Upholstery Fabric Types List 101: Silk-Embellished Choices

The dining room looks classy and visually striking with these navy blue silk-upholstered dining room chairs. The colour and material add a subtle charm and richness to the furniture pieces and the room’s overall vibe. It matches perfectly with the light wooden flooring, grey area rug and dark green accent wall.

Silk embellished fabric for the dining room for a visually striking look
Silk is durable with a beautiful sheen

Cotton: Sofa Upholstery Fabric Type Staple

If you are looking for an inexpensive but versatile fabric that is ideal for high-traffic areas, then cotton is your go-to fabric choice. Cotton blends are mostly used instead of a purer variety since the blends are sturdier. Cotton can be easily dyed to match the existing home decor.  

Cotton fabric for Sofa, which is available in different patterns and colours
Cotton fabric is available in different patterns & colours
Explore trendsetting home interiors to redefine your space

Wool: Type of Fabric Your Home Needs in Winters

This large wool area rug adds grace and opulence to the living room. It envelops the sofa set and the pristine white armchair and demarcates the space. It makes you feel like you are walking on the clouds. How surreal! The area rug contrasts the walls and ceiling and seamlessly merges with the flooring.

Wool fabric for your home in winter to add grace and opulence
Enhance lighting to reveal the intricate beauty of the wool rug

Wrapping Up

Different types of fabrics play a very important role in enhancing your home’s comfort and aesthetic appeal. The choice of fabric upholstery for each room ultimately depends upon your preferences, lifestyle and needs. If you are looking for some guidance in picking up the right type of fabrics for your home interiors, reach out to the interior design experts team at DesignCafe, who will gladly lend you some useful advice.

FAQs On Types Of Fabrics Used In Home Interior

How to clean & maintain fabrics in high-traffic areas?

  • Rotate the fabric 180 degrees every few months to distribute the wear & tear evenly.
  • Attend to the spills promptly by blotting the affected area with a clean and soft cloth to soak up the spills. Then, use the detergent and gently clean the area.
  • Go for professional deep cleaning for the fabrics every 12 to 18 months.
  • Regularly vacuum at least once or twice a week to remove all the debris and dirt.

How to make your home interior design more sustainable?

A sustainable home interior design uses eco-friendly materials to create a healthy living space and a clean atmosphere. Here is how:

  • Go for eco-friendly fabrics that can withstand wear and tear and are more durable, e.g., linen and wool.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting solutions/appliances and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Choose sustainable materials that provide a natural look to your home, like reclaimed wood, cork, and so on.
  • Upcycle, repurpose and reuse the older items rather than buying new decor and furniture items for your home.
  • Incorporate green plants into your home interiors to improve air quality and add a natural touch.
  • Opt for low-VOC or no-VOC wall paints to reduce the exposure to many harmful chemicals and fumes.

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Pooja Dara is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Pooja Dara

Pooja Dara is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of experience and has worked for several reputed companies in multiple niches. Having made a switch from quantitative research (of leading FMCG and durable brands) to secondary research, she is now an independent content specialist who believes in creating value for her clients through her work. She is also passionate about photography, spirituality, dogs, and traveling.

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