A Guide to Choosing the Right Lightweight or Heavy Fabric when Decorating a Room

by on June 18th, 2011
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What do you know from fabrics? You go to the store and you buy an item based on how it feels and looks, right? Do you really need to know any difference at all between moiré and chambray? Probably not. Probably not if you don’t care about getting the ultimate in comfort.

Fabrics can range from very heavy like damask to those that are as lightweight as a conversation in the Palin household like linen. But what if you had to choose between linen and cotton rather than linen and, say, velvet. Why one lightweight fabric over the other? Or for that matter, why one heavy fabric over another? Well, to take one example, let’s say that your decorating theme is one that seeks to give a casual appearance as if you didn’t put much thought at all into elements that make up a definite decorative theme? Do you go with cotton or do you go with some kind of linen? Ideally, you would go with linen despite the fact that linen and cotton feel almost identical. The reasoning behind choosing this light fabric over cotton to create a feeling of shabby chic is because it only takes a whisper of humidity for linen to start wrinkling up. That wrinkled look is exactly what you are going for when you decorate in a shabby chic manner.

What if your decorating theme focuses on something a little more obviously upscale? Velvet provides instant upward social mobility, but it’s expensive and may conflict with other fabrics and materials used in the room. Chintz is simply a form of lowly cotton that has a smoother finish to it. There is a luster to chintz that lifts it from the realm of other humble types of cotton and linen fabrics that can much less expensively provide the same kind of luxurious ambiance as velvet.

Keep the decorating theme fresh and downtown by utilizing curtains and other decorative elements with chambray. Chambray is light enough for curtains, but also comes in a slightly heavier version that is more suited for use as upholstery. The sort of foggy appearance of chambray is its secret in being an effective material for decorating, but the effect doesn’t go overboard to the point of looking too hoity toity. Keep it down to earth with chambray which also is light enough for clothing.

Go entirely uptown with a heavy fabric that provides the distinctly highbrow look gained from having a tapestry design upon it. Tapestry fabric is similar to brocade or damask, but is usually more robust and dependable, making this fabric more suitable for heavily trafficked piece of home decor like chairs where bums will be resting regularly. Damask is similar in that it has raised effects, but is less resistant to constant use a wise choice is upholstering that uncomfortable chair that nobody likes or the sofa in the spare room where you hardly spend any serious sitting time.

Get to know your fabrics and you can save yourself a world of trouble when it comes time for decorating your home.

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