How to Choose the Right Upholstery Fabrics for Interior Design?

Tips to find right quality fabric that suits your interiors and budget

When it comes to interior design, fabrics play an important role to set the tone for aesthetics and functionality of a space. If done right, the right fabric can transform a room from a blank canvas into a dynamic, welcoming space. It is said that the best way to bring alive a sentiment in the room is with the use of fabric. They really evoke a sense of emotion and make us feel connected to a living space.

Every home incorporates fabrics in the form of upholstered couches and sofas, curtains and drapes, throws, pillows and cushions, carpets and rugs, and also embellishments such as wall art –there has been an abundance of fabrics in home interiors ever since history.

The best functionality of fabrics is that they can completely transform the look of a room or space. Just the change of fabrics can give a space a redo and without running up expenses excessively. Just switching around colours and textures of fabrics can give you astonishing results.

This article will be a complete guide for you, in the sense that, you will get to understand the different types of fabrics, things to consider while choosing a fabric for interiors and ten solid tips to choose the best upholstery fabrics for interior design. Let’s get started:

Types of fabrics in interiors:

  1. Silk

    Silk is a classic fabric to pick if you want to give your place a rich, classy look. It is a timeless, classy fabric that flows beautifully and has a lovely sheen that lends a royal look and is a delicate fabric. Silk is ideal for living rooms and formal rooms. Silk will be even a better choice if the space has large windows and doorways. Silk can also be used in curtains, bed linen and cushions. However, there are some constraints to using silk, such as it wrinkles very easily and requires lots of maintenance and it stains easily too.

  2. Cotton

    Cotton is like everyone’s go-to fabric in clothes and interiors. It is natural, lightweight and easily available. Cotton is an easy fabric for children’s bedrooms and designing other common areas. Cotton can be used for beds, linens, curtains and cushions.

  3. Leather

    Leather is an extremely versatile fabric which can be a great choice for flooring and wall coverings. Leather can also be used in dining chairs, study chairs, or even sofas and to cover items like tabletops and headboards. This versatility makes it easy to find ways to incorporate leather into just about any decor style.

  4. Rayon

    This fabric is a lookalike of silk and is fast replacing the use of silk as it is much cheaper and affordable. It has a similar flow and finish and is much easier to maintain. Rayon is economical and much sturdier which makes it a perfect option when you choose fabrics in interior design. All drapes and upholstery can do very well with a touch of rayon.

  5. Polyester

    Polyester is easy to use, long-lasting and resistant to stains so it is often used for interior decors. However, it is not such a popular choice and can be used more as a blend with other materials. Polyester blends can be a great interior decor option as they are wrinkle-resistant and don’t fade over time. Their stain-resistant and durability makes them a good choice for kids’ rooms and outdoor furniture.

  6. Velvet

    Velvet is perhaps the most classiest of all upholstery fabrics. If you are looking to create a sophisticated and royal look in your home space, then this is a great fabric to consider.

Things to consider when choosing the right fabric for interior design:

Picking up a look or style from the magazine or internet and trying it out in your living room or any other prominent part of your home such a bedroom or bathroom is considered the most classic and repeated faux pas in interior design. There are several other considerations you should bear in mind when selecting the right fabric type for your home. Here are some of these factors before you make a final choice:

  1. Colours

    Colours have a huge influence on the perception of interior design and it is in fact most important in creating just the right mood and tone. Some colours may make the room look smaller, so choose wisely. For instance, darker colours make the room appear more closed and smaller to the eye. On the other hand, lighter and cooler colours make the space appear larger. Also you should be careful while going for patterns and designs. If the fabric has patterns in them then make sure they go with the mood and theme of the room.

    The arrangement of colours or textures in an environment changes the perspective, making the room appear larger, taller, longer, wider or highlighting a particular element. What experts suggest is to have a particular look in the mind that can guide you to pick the perfect colours to suit your context.

  2. Texture

    Texture refers to the perceived quality or feel of a fabric and they inevitably bring in an added layer and enhance the appearance. But, however, if done too much they always add to the clutter. If the room is monotonous, you can opt for one textural element in the fabric that will give the room an edge. Textural fabrics can be used in sofas, curtains, chairs, or even rugs and cushions.

  3. Price

    Without a doubt, your budget influences the type of fabric you purchase. You can choose a combination because natural and synthetic textiles can be readily substituted for one another without significantly lowering quality. Choose cotton, polyester, or rayon if you’re on a small budget; on the other hand, if you’re willing to spend more and want a certain style, you can also choose silk and wool.

10 tips to choose the best upholstery fabrics for interior design

  1. Analyse the use of fabric

    In your home, different rooms and furniture pieces have different levels of wear and tear. For example, a sofa in the living room might get more use than a chair in the bedroom. So you need to have a good idea of how often you are going to use the space and choose fabrics that can withstand the traffic. For high traffic areas, look for fabrics that are stain-resistant, fade-resistant and abrasion-resistant. For low traffic areas, you can opt for more delicate or luxurious fabrics that add texture, warmth and aesthetics.

  2. Choose the right fibre

    Fibres can be of two types: natural and synthetic, and the fibre of the fabric determines its strength, softness and durability. Natural fibres are usually made up of cotton, wool, linen, or silk and synthetic fibres are made from chemicals such as polyester, nylon or acrylic. Each type of fabric has its own pros and cons. Natural fibres tend to be more breathable, eco-friendly and biodegradable, however, they can be more prone to wrinkling, shrinking or fading. Synthetic fibres, on the other hand, tend to be more resistant to stains, wrinkles and fading, but they can also be less breathable, more inflammable and less environment friendly. There are also plenty of fabrics in the market that blend both natural and synthetic fibres to create a fine balance of qualities.

  3. Check the durability of fabrics

    Durability is one of the most important aspects of textile performance esp when it comes to interiors. Any fabric goes through wear and tear such as abrasion, pilling, fading and stretching. Natural fibres like cotton, linen, silk and wool are more prone to shrinkage, wrinkling and fading so you may use these fabrics in specific locations of your home such as living rooms or formal rooms where you want to give a polished rich look. Also, conduct a representative sample test for the fabric in different directions and locations, such as warp, weft, or bias.

  4. Color coordinate with fabrics

    Color plays a significant role in setting the mood of a place. Colours influence the perception of size, height, depth, and ambiance of a scheme. A room’s apparent size or proportions can be altered by colour, making small spaces appear larger and vast ones appear smaller. It can make oppressively low ceilings appear higher or lower optically. For design harmony, you can use different colour palettes and temperature and establish an ambiance. You can even follow the colour theory principles to consider how the colour temperatures, that is, how your usage of warm, neutral and cold colours reflects your interior design objectives.

  5. Make choices based on colour quality

    While selecting colours for your drapes, upholstery, and chairs you should also take care of the functionality aspect of it. Take an example of your umbrella, which is new but looks as if it’s been around for ages. It is the result of the weather and sunlight that have an effect on certain fabrics. When choosing fabrics in interior designing, placement becomes an important determinant in the colours and fabrics you choose. For instance, if the windows tend to receive a lot of direct sunlight, choose heavier drapes and consider lining them to protect the colour. Natural fibres have a tendency to fade faster so use them indoors, in cooler places, or less likely to be used extensively.

  6. Never forget your interior design objective

    Once you have a theme or style in mind, your efforts and fabric selection will be guided by this design objective. It’s important you stick to your theme so that you don’t create a hotchpotch with your interior selection. You can of course revamp your interior design objective, however, it is very important that your efforts look coordinated for a perfect overall look.

  7. Experiment with performance fabrics

    Performance fabrics are made of a blend of synthetic fibres and natural fibres and are designed to be durable, stain resistant and easy to clean. This fabric holds up well when it meets harsh chemicals or spills. Performance fabrics are really versatile in interior design because of their enhanced strength and durability. The common applications of performance fabrics in interiors are upholstery and drapery, outdoor furniture, boats and RV interiors, commercial settings like hotels and even healthcare, and public spaces like libraries, theatres, and children’s play areas.

  8. Test the fabric before buying

    One of the best ways of selecting a fabric is to see if it is durable and easy to clean for interior spaces before buying. For this you can ask for fabric samples and swatches from the store or manufacturer and try them out at home. You can check how the fabric looks in different lighting, how it matches with your existing furniture and decor, and how it responds to spills , stains or scratches. Also, do check the labels or tags to see the composition, care instructions and warranty of the fabric. This will help you choose a fabric that is not only durable and easy to clean, but also suitable for your needs and budget.

  9. Add layers with fabrics

    Adding layers with fabric can help to protect the interior and also bring a sense of class and style. Like for example to the curtains, sheers are an amazing layer to add. Just by adding some sheers you can bring about a new look to the curtains and they are gonna look amazing. Adding table covers or slipcovers on tables, chairs or sofas can help protect them better while at the same time giving an aesthetic appeal.

  10. Repurpose when required

    Repurposing an old look is coming as a new trend in interior designing. People often like to redecorate because they are tired of the space’s look and feel. Redoing upholstery fabric doesn’t always mean you have to change them completely. Some of the popular examples of repurposing your interior are furniture transformation through painting, creatively changing old crates & shelves, innovating lighting, redoing flooring and tiles, or by adding some indoor plants etc. Repurpose is all about getting creative with repurposing materials and it’s a sustainable and eco-friendly way to transform old and existing interiors into unique creative solutions.


The best ways to choose the right upholstery fabrics for interior design are by always looking for durability, check for the weave and weight, consider the usage rate of the fabric, make choices based on the colours and basically think for the long term.

The choice of fabric is very important as it sets the tone and ambiance of a space. The texture, colour and pattern of the fabrics gives a sense of depth and visual intrigue.

Fabrics not only add beauty and aesthetics in interior design but also offer practical and functional benefits. For instance, sofas and chairs adorned with soft, durable and beautiful fabrics offer comfort and functionality while at the same time making the space look more inviting and elegant.

Synthetic fabrics like acrylics, polyester, and nylon are widely used in home decor. They are durable, resistant to stains and much more affordable.

Usually, polished granite is used in kitchens and when it comes to fabrics cotton, wool and silk are also very popular in interior designing.

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