Key Facts About The 10 Most Popular Home Decorating Fabric Fibers

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Questions often arise about home decorating fabric, in particular the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Use the guidelines below to help you make the right decisions when choosing decorating fabric for your upholstery and window treatments.

Home Decorating Fabric - Natural Fibers

Cotton

  • Advantages: cool, soft, takes color well, versatile, withstands abrasions and high heat
  • Disadvantages: wrinkles easily, shrinks or stretches unless treated, will mildew or rot
  • Care: Machine washable
  • Example home decorating fabrics: gingham, chintz, broadcloth
Wool
  • Advantages: elastic and resilient, dirt resistant, flame resistant, tear resistant, easily shaped, strong, drapes well
  • Disadvantages: watch out for moths, will shrink unless properly treated
  • Care: Must be dry cleaned
  • Example fabrics: broadcloth

Silk

  • Advantages: luxurious and sensuous, very strong fiber, takes color well, retains shape, drapes well, resists mildew, decent wrinkle recovery

  • Disadvantages: shows water spots unless treated, weakened by the sun, may yellow or fade if ironed with high heat, susceptible to moths and insects
  • Care: Must be dry cleaned, unless hand washable is indicated
  • Example fabrics: brocade , matelasse, poult de siue, silk broadcloth
Linen

  • Advantages: elegant and refined, good durability, takes a pressing well, does not fade easily, resists moths
  • Disadvantages: poor elasticity, will wrinkle , shrinks and stretches unless treated, yellows with age, will crack if stored for long periods
  • Care: Must be dry cleaned, unless hand washable is indicated
  • Example fabrics: damask, butcher's linen

Home Decorating Fabric - Man-Made Fibers

Nylon

  • Advantages: very strong, light weight, very good resiliency, dries quickly, dirt and stain resistant
  • Disadvantages: melts at high temperatures, may yellow or gray over time, fades if exposed to the sun for long periods
  • Care: Machine washable
Polyester
  • Advantages: strong and resists creasing
  • Disadvantages: melts at moderate to high heat
  • Care: Machine washable
Rayon
  • Advantages: very cotton-like, strong, does not melt or burn at high temperatures, drapes well
  • Disadvantages: not a very strong fiber, wrinkles easily, may stretch when wet, may shrink when washed, will deteriorate with prolonged exposure to sunlight, can be damaged by mildew
  • Care: Must be dry cleaned, unless hand washable is indicated
Acrylic
  • Advantages: very soft and luxurious, light weight, fairly strong fiber, dries quickly
  • Disadvantages: does not dye well
  • Care: Hand-washable, unless otherwise is indicated
Olefin
  • Advantages: strong and durable, wrinkle resistant, mildew resistant
  • Disadvantages: will shrink, doesn't dye well
  • Care: Machine washable
Acetate
  • Advantages: good resiliency, looks like silk, resists shrinking, resists moisture, resists wrinkling, drapes well
  • Disadvantages: not a very strong fiber, will melt if exposed to alcohol, nail polish, and super glue, perfumes
  • Care: Must be dry cleaned, unless hand washable is indicated



To gain and understanding of the possibilities available for mixing home decorating fabrics, watch this excellent video.


Related Articles

1) 10 Home Decorating Ideas To Quickly Update Any Room
2) Interior Painting Ideas To Bring Your Walls To Life
3) Window Treatments: Putting An End To The Confusion

Recommended Books

home decorating fabric Window Treatments Made Simple - Dressing your windows is an expensive decorating decision. Make the right decision, and you’re on cloud nine. But make the wrong one, and you’ll be kicking yourself every time you look at your windows, for the next 5 to10 years. Now you have a resource that will help you avoid costly mistakes and show you how to easily select window treatments that match your decorating style, personality and window type. Learn how to select the home decorating fabrics that are right for your family's lifestyle.



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