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Selection of Fabrics and Its Importance In Interiors

Textiles are another important materials that contribute to the overall design of an interior space. Textiles add softness, comfort, flexibility, and dynamic movement to otherwise static spaces. Fabrics are useful for both functional and aesthetic purposes in an interior environment. They also add color, depth and visual interest to the interiors. Here we see a brief of uses and factors to consider in selection of fabrics.

selection of fabrics
Image source – fibre2fashion.com



  • Control natural light
  • Provide privacy without solid walls.
  • Insulate from heat and cold
  • Absorb noise
  • Provide comfort as upholstery for sofas and chairs


  • Fabrics are pliable and can be manipulated to create any kind of mood or characteristic.
  • Variety of colors, patterns, and textures and can be readily changed or replaced.
  • Integrates with walls, windows, ceilings, and furniture.

Selection of Fabrics

The selection of fabrics depends on many factors. The criteria for selection refers to these-

  • Aesthetic factors
  • Functional aspects
  • Economic factors
  • Classification of Fabrics

Aesthetic factors

  • Three main factors are color, pattern, and texture.
  • Good design principles within itself and on how it will coordinate with other materials.
  • Coordinate color schemes of fabrics with those of other materials in an interior space;
    • Color schemes should support each other.
    • Enhance, and complement one another, not compete or cause visual irritation.
  • The intensity and brightness of color within a fabric color scheme should be varied. If all colors are of a low value or dulled, the overall effect may be uninteresting or monotonous. If all the colors are intense, the effect may be unlivable.
  • Consideration in selecting fabric color is the light and ventilation within the space and how it will affect the color of the fabrics.
  • Good proportional patterns within fabrics and exhibit good design composition.
  • Coordination of period styles and their pattern and motifs must be consistent to produce an authentic effect.
  • Fabrics possess both visual and tactile textural qualities.
    • Textural characteristics range from a smooth and refined quality (satin, velvet, damask) to a coarse and sturdy quality (tweed, matelassé, frieze).
    • Textural relief within a fabric refers to the three-dimensional quality of the surface, such as the peaks and valleys created. This third dimension gives depth and interest to a fabric and accounts for the highlights and shadows in its appearance.
  • Weight of a fabric.

Classification of Fabrics

  • Fabrics can be classified into four basic weight categories :
    • Sheer and/or thin,
    • Lightweight
    • Medium-weight
    • Heavyweight
  • Sheer fabrics are typically useful for window curtains or draperies, soft top window treatments, and canopy coverings.
  • Lightweight fabrics can also be used for curtains, draperies, and top treatments, as well as for shades for windows, lampshades, and linen bedspreads.
  • Medium-weight fabrics are useful for bedspreads, slipcovers, upholstery, draperies, shades, rigid top treatments, and heavier curtains. They can also be functional as wall and partition coverings.
  • Heavyweight fabrics are applied as furniture upholstery, wall coverings or hangings, and heavy bedspreads.

Functional aspects

  • Serviceability, Performance qualities – include durability, strength, stain resistance, water resistance, and sometimes flame resistance.
  • Some fabrics wear out faster than others because of the fiber, yarn, construction method or color adding or difficult to clean.
  • Durability, colorfastness, fire safety, flame resistance, static reduction and structural stability have to be taken care while selecting the fabrics.

Economic Factors

  • Cost limitations involved with the installation of the material and maintenance requirements.
  • The cleanability of a fabric is based on the fiber content, construction method, and durability of finishes.

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