Choosing the Perfect Fabrics: Everything you Need to Know

From silk and cotton to linen and wool- learn everything you need to know about the materials that go into making your fabrics.
Choosing the Perfect Fabrics: Everything you Need to Know

Last update: 26 July, 2019

Textiles have long been an essential part of interior decor. Tapestries, curtains, and other decorative elements help give rooms character. They can transform a home from boring to spectacular. Choosing the fabrics for your home – and doing it well – is a real art. So, there are a few things you need to know before buying your fabrics.

While there are hundreds of different textiles to choose from, every decorative style favors some fabrics over others. The characteristics, qualities, and uses of each textile are things every interior decor fan should know. In today’s article, we’ll tell you the most important things you need to know about the most popular textiles on the market. With our advice, you’ll soon become an expert in all things fabric.

Linen and cotton fabrics

Linen is a plant fiber that people have used for thousands of years. Of all the natural fibers on the market, it is the most popular, followed closely behind by cotton. The purity, softness, and strength of cotton is its mark of quality.

People use long-fiber cotton for making fabrics such as poplin, damask and batiste, and short-fiber cotton for items such as bedsheets. It’s washable, hard-wearing, and doesn’t conduct static electricity, making it very popular in the world of decorating.

Cotton fabrics.

Cotton fabrics

  • Cretonne: a strong fabric made from a mixture of thick cotton and taffeta. The density of the material makes it ideal for curtains.
  • Canvas: canvas is a strong, rigid fabric woven from irregular cotton fibers. It has a huge number of uses in interior decor.
  • Piqué: a cotton fabric with a stunning honeycomb weave. People mainly use piqué for making light quilts and bedspreads.
  • Toile de Jouy: is from cotton or linen. Toile de Jouy features pastoral themed patterns with embroidery on a beige background. Today, however, you can find a whole range of different colors and patterns.


Wool is a natural fiber that comes from goat, sheep, llama, or alpaca fur, and is a strong, warm material. Here are some of the different types of wool materials you can find on the market.

Balls of wool.
  • Cashmere – made of soft, fine wool, traditionally taken from pashmina or Tibetan cashmere goats.
  • Chenille – a very soft woolen fabric, chenille is one of the most popular on the market, especially in upholstery.
  • Flannel – a soft fleece fabric made from wool. Ideal for winter bedding.
  • Jacquard – a type of wool with a unique and unusual weave. Jacquard is a luxury upholstery material.
  • Twill – a very strong woolen material, used for a range of different elements, such as curtains, duvets, and quilts.
  • Tartan – a traditional Scottish woolen material with a crisscross pattern of vertical and horizontal bars.


Silk is a natural material that comes from the cocoons of metamorphosing silkworms. It is one of the strongest natural fibers, and one of the most popular.

Silk fabrics

  • Brocade – silk brocade is a fabric that features embroidery with glossy silk or metallic threads. People sometimes mix it with viscose, cotton or rayon to give it a different texture or thickness. It usually features geometric patterns or floral motifs and is often used for making curtains and bedsheets. Although often used in upholstery, it is a very delicate fabric that gets worn out quickly.
  • Damask – this fabric is very similar to brocade, but it is much finer and lighter. It is a delicate fabric, that requires regular care and attention.
  • Moire – a beautiful silk fabric with a shiny, rippled appearance. People used to make moire from a mixture of silk and linen but now use polyester. It is mainly used for making wall upholstery and curtains.

More silk fabrics

  • Muslin – a fine, light, semi-transparent fabric. Muslin originated from India in the 13th Century, where it was made from silk. Today, however, it is also made from cotton, and is commonly used for making curtains.
  • Ottoman – a thick silk material, with a ribbed or corded effect. You’ll normally find this fabric in upholstery.
  • Sateen – a strong fabric with a bright sheen. This is very similar to silk, but nowadays, it is normally made from acetate. There are many ways to use sateen in interior decor. But like all silk-based materials, it is very delicate.
  • Taffeta – there are several different types of taffeta, depending on the thread count. These include paper taffeta, double-faced taffeta, and shot silk taffeta.

There are so many other wonderful textiles you can use in your home, from synthetic leather to crocheted fabrics. Whatever the material or fabric you choose, it will fill your home with color and texture.

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