DIY Decor – Your Complete Guide To Fabrics and More-With-Less Home Decorating

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When you are doing your own DIY decor it doesn’t take long to learn everything gets judged on a two metric scale: cost and impact.

Anyone can spend a couple thousand dollars on designer feature pieces to improve the decor of a room but what distinguished a great interior designer is being able to do more with less.

Understanding fabric types and how to use them plays a big role in this. Fabric doesn’t usually give any significant structure to a room’s decor however it can be be thought of as the way a room is dressed. It gives a room a significant portion of its texture, contrast and overall colour palette.

There are many fabrics to choose from and it may be a little difficult to choose which patterns and fabrics will work the best for you and your decorating needs. You need to think of not only fabrics that are used on windows and pillows, but also the fabrics that are used on the furniture, as all the fabrics work together to bring the room together as one cohesive space.

You need to answer some questions about your space and your plans for design before you go about choosing which types of fabrics you want to use. Some important things to think of are:

  1. What is the space going to be used for?
  2. Is the space a high traffic area?
  3. Is it a space that will be regularly used or just for special occasions when guests are over?
  4. How is the lighting in the space?
  5. Do you have pets and/or children?

 

These are all important things to think about because you want to get fabric that will be durable if there is going to be a lot of activity in the room, such as people eating that room or pets using that room and furniture.

You also want to be aware of the lighting because you don’t want to have a leather chair in a sun room or a room with a lot of light because it would ruin that fabric. Once you make the practical assessments then you can decide on your fabrics for the look and feel you want to create.

There are lots of different fabrics and combinations of fabrics, but for practicality this article with focus solely on 100% fabric and not the combination fabrics.

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Types of Fabrics

Silk – this can provide a rich element to a room, especially with curtains. The fibers are prism like and have a nice lustre to them. It also reflects light in various angles. The one problem with silk is that it is not very durable. Silk stains and wrinkles easily. Avoid using silk in high traffic areas and use in more formal settings.

Silk is also something you want to use sparingly in your decor. It is such a dominate fabric that using too much will be overbearing. This makes it ideal for any feature areas of the room you are designing.

 

Rayon – this is a semi-synthetic fabric that’s an alternative to silk. It has a shiny texture and is very bright. It’s great for homes that want something more durable than silk. Rayon does wrinkle, so avoid using it in high traffic areas where a lot of people will be resting it on it or lounging on it.

Be aware that rayon also has the same rich, shiny quality of silk, so it is very to overuse in a room as well.

 

Olefin – this is a material that is both comfortable and functional especially for a diy decor project. It’s a synthetic fabric that is usually used on furniture because it’s very durable, holds its colour and is stain resistant. Olefin is a great fabric to use in high traffic areas and also great to pair with other types of fabric for a great look for any room.

Olefin can be effective at creating visual organic and natural feel when it is manufactured to be quite rope and bare. This makes it one of the best options for a feature fabric in a high traffic area. Usually aesthetic is sacrificed when making a fabric more durable (eg: cotton blends) however high quality olefin can even develop character as it wears.

 

Polyester – this is a synthetic fabric that is not usually used for straight decorating, it is usually in bed sheets and window coverings. It is good to use with other fabrics and polyester is great to use on seating furniture as it is very durable and will not wrinkle. However the look of polyester is unlikely to be a secret weapon when enhancing the aesthetics of your decor. Most people can detect the look of cheap fabric, even if they aren’t actively conscious of it in the moment.

 

Cotton – this is a natural fabric that is breathable and comfortable and is used in lots of fabrics and blends. It’s also resistant to fading and other wear and tear. Cotton is a comfort fabric  so what type of cotton you use will depend on what it’s function is. Quality pure Egyptian cotton is renowned for being what the highest quality bedding is made from. The subtle texture that such quality fabric adds to a bedroom diy decor project goes a long way. However, the main problem with cotton is that is can easily become stained and soil, which is why you should use a cotton blend instead of just pure cotton when decorating areas that need to be more durable or features that will be cleaned less often.

 

Acrylic – synthetic fabric that is an alternative to wool and also to cashmere in diy decor. It’s soft, comfortable and durable, which makes it a great choice for home decor. Acrylic holds color very well and does not shrink. It is also wrinkle resistant, stain resistant and withhold wear and tear.

 

Nylon – this is a synthetic fabric that is very resilient and has a nice silky feel to it. It is a pretty strong fabric, but is rarely used on its own, it is more widely used in fabric blends. However, because it is a strong fabric it can really be used wherever you want within your home.

 

Leather – this is a natural fabric that is used by tanning hides of an animal, which is usually cow. In your diy decor this adds a lot of richness to any space, but be mindful that leather requires a lot of work to maintain. The color can fade if it is placed in direct sunlight and it can scratch and stain easily. It can be an excellent choice though if placed in the right area of the home.

Quality leather can be a real investment if properly cared for and is makes a real statement in a room’s decor as people know that it is an expensive material. Similar to silk leather is better used for statement pieces than all throughout your decor design. Do not use leather if you are aiming for a cozy feel with your decor.

 

In closing…

When deciding on fabrics the most important thing to remember is you need to pick fabrics that work the best for you space and your lifestyle. You want to pick fabrics that will be durable and practical for you home. Make sure to also look at alternatives to fabrics, such as fabric blends if you don’t want to use 100% of a fabric. If you take the time to think about all your diy decor options, you will not be disappointed later in your fabric choices and you will also have fabrics that last a long time in your home. Visit Abode Living

Alexander is a full-time freelance writer and digital designer. He is passionate about intelligent web design. You can read more of his writing here.