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The world of decorator fabrics is bursting at the seams with options for your design needs. Silks, jacquards, chintzes, brocades, leather and microfibers are just a few of the fabrics available. Learning which type is appropriate for your particular application is an important step in making the right choice. For example, some fabrics that work well as window treatments, such as silk, are not durable enough for covering a sofa.

Personal preference
In addition to defining your applications, you should also consider your lifestyle. If you are raising children and dogs, silks are not going to be a practical choice, at least not for upholstery uses. Cleaning them can be difficult. “With five children and three dogs, our house must be bulletproof,” says Lisa Paras, owner of Frugal Fabrics. “In this case, I have found that chenille and woven, textured fabrics are ideal for upholstery. The pile and texture of these fabrics hide a multitude of sins while allowing for the elegance that is within my comfort zone.”


Photo courtesy of Forsyth Fabrics

 

Delicates
Silks, chintzes and cottons are great choices for window treatments, bedding and pillows. Many of these decorator fabrics are dry clean only. For window treatments, that is not a major concern. However, when making bedding or pillows, it’s a good idea to wash the fabric prior to fabrication. Check with the manufacturer before taking this step.

Buffalo check, dupioni and taffeta are just a few of the silks available from which to choose. In addition to these, faux silks are a new choice on the market. They are less costly than the real version and can look quite real. Still, they are not recommended for upholstery but they make great window treatments!

For furniture
So what are the best choices for covering furniture? Faux leather and microfibers. “These fabrics are practically indestructible,” Paras says. A damp sponge and soapy water may be all you need to clean them. If you are considering one of these materials for your upholstery, check the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process before purchasing to see if they will accommodate your lifestyle.

Another good choice for sofa and chair covering is woven upholstery. It is durable and typically responds well to cleaning sprays. Designers today are even using upholstery fabric to make window treatments, because they have more body than the thin silks and chintzes.

Other options
Textured, woven cottons and blends are prized for their simplicity and understated elegance in the contemporary or transitional home. And, finally, woven jacquards and brocades are still as popular as ever in the classically styled home.

Without even considering colors, patterns and textures, the choices available in decorator fabrics are practically limitless for today’s homeowner. Understanding their uses and your lifestyle will enable you to weave your way through the options until you find the fabrics that are right for you and your home.

 

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