How do you put that extra touch in a room that can pull everything together and make it look professionally decorated?  Fabrics – anything from a simple tablecloth to the upholstery on a couch.  Iinterior decorators use fabrics to provide a splash of texture or color, or to pull together an entire color scheme.  Your fabric choice can make or break your redecorating project.  So how do you figure out what fabric to use and where you can use it?

Match the Fabric Type To the Purpose

  • What will the space be used for?
  • Will it be a high traffic area?Will it be used regularly or just when guests come over?
  • What type of light does the room have?
  • Do you have any pets or children?

You definitely don’t want to use silk in a child’s room, nor a fabric that may fade in a sunroom.  So you need to learn a little about the different types of fabrics used in decorating, as your best decorating on a budget tips will involve a fabric - and picking the fabric is half the fun of a decorating project.


Cotton is a natural fiber that is found in a many blends and fabrics. It is comfortable and breathable, and is resistant to fading and other signs of wear and tear. The main problem with cotton is that it tends to stain and become soiled easily. That is why, if you choose to use cotton in your home, you should use a cotton blend instead of a pure cotton.


Also known to many designers as “art silk,” rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric that is a great alternative to silk. It has a shiny texture to it and is a great choice when looking for a more durable silk alternative. The one major drawback of rayon is that it will wrinkle, so it is better to use it for light-use.


Silk can provide a rich element to any room when particularly with window coverings, pillows or even as a light-use upholstery covering. The main drawback of silk is that it is not very durable, is prone to wrinkling and it stains easily. Avoid using silk in high traffic rooms and places where it will become soiled – usually it’s reserved for guest rooms and formal living rooms.


Polyester gets a bad rap from those inexpensive suits you find it in, but it is also found in drapes and bed sheets.  Most items do not use a straight polyester fabric, but a polyester blend. The chocies available in polyester fabric are vast and with its durability, it's a choice to be considered. Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is a good choice for seating areas and window treatments since it is durable and wrinkle resistant.


Acrylic is a synthetic fabric that’s surprisingly soft and comfortable and its durability makes it an excellent choice for home decor. Generally, acrylic fabrics hold color well, resist shrinkage, and is wrinkle resistant, which makes is good candidate for use on anything that you may need to have cleaned, such as pillow covers.


Leather is a natural fabric that is produced by tanning hides, usually cow. Leather can add a rich element to the home but can require maintenance.  The color can fade in direct sunlight, and it can become scratched and does stain. Still, it does make a statement and can be an excellent choice for many rooms.

So when you start to choose your fabrics for your decorating project, keep in mind what fabric will work best in what area, and even more importantly, make sure to pick one you love!