With such an enormous selection of fabric available, how do you know which to choose?  To make sure that your design project is successful, it is essential to know which type works best for your specific function.


This natural fiber is a popular choice for home décor projects.  Cotton comes in many finishes to coordinate with most room styles.  It works well for window treatments, as it hangs nicely and usually keeps its shape.  Prolonged exposure to sun can cause yellowing, so use a lining for protection.

Cotton is also a good choice for slipcovers and smaller accessories because it launders well.


Silk has a beautiful, luxurious sheen, and is available in a wide variety of textures and rich colors.  It is a fragile fabric, so it is usually avoided on upholstered furniture.  It is very susceptible to staining from moisture because it absorbs all the impurities and causes spots.

Silk is best used on pillows and draperies.  Sun and heat does cause silk to fade quickly, so use lining and interlining to protect window treatments.


This manufactured fiber is a good choice for many home décor projects.  It is often woven to resemble natural fibers, like silk or leather.  Polyester needs less ironing than natural fabrics, and it resists sun nicely, so it is a perfect choice for window treatments.  Because it is resistant to wrinkles, it also works well for upholstery and cushions.

Many fabrics come as a blend of polyester and another fiber, which gives you the best of both materials.


Leather adds a rich touch to a room, but it does require work to keep it looking good.   It is often used for upholstery.  Leather fades quickly from the sun, so don’t keep it close to big windows.


This synthetic fabric is very strong.  It is usually blended with other fibers, and adds a silky shine.  It’s strength and resiliency makes nylon and nylon blends good choices for upholstery.  But because it is very heat-sensitive, it is not recommended for draperies.


Choosing the right fabric and following the proper cleaning and care guidelines will enable you to enjoy your furnishings for years to come.

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