Merchandising and Interior Design Tips

Using Fiber Content to Pick the Right Fabric For Your Home

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Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting milestones in a family’s life. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into the process. Carefully considering what you want to bring into your home is an important step that will create a blissful home for years to come. Out of all the decisions you have to make, one of the most important will be deciding which fabrics are right for your needs.

Fabric is one of the foundations of interior design – it’s used in every space of your home! In everything from carpet to upholstery to bedding, and even accessories like towels, lampshades and cushions, fabric is the key component. The simplest way to distinguish what type of fabrics is best for you is to understand the fibers they’re made from. There are natural plant fibers such as cotton and linen, animal-based products such as wool and leather, man-made synthetic fibers, and fiber blends; all of which have advantages and disadvantages for varying uses. Below is a handy guide that highlights several fabrics by fiber type; with tips to help you decide which will serve your household best.



This natural fiber is one of the most commonly used worldwide. It’s versatile, comes in a variety of weights and can be used in almost any application. Cotton can be classified by thread count, which is the number of threads per inch. Roughly speaking, the higher the number, the better the quality. If you’re environmentally friendly, organic cotton can be found too.

Estates Plan 2 Guest Bedroom
Luxurious cotton bedding that will provide breathability and a cool night’s sleep.

Advantages: Versatile, breathable, durable, easy to clean, drapes well and cost effective.

Disadvantages: Wrinkles relatively easily, takes time to dry, and is prone to shrinking or stretching if not blended with another fiber.

Best for: Almost everything. Egyptian cotton sheets are a luxury worth investing in. We especially love this Fieldcrest luxury sheet set!

fieldcrest egyptian cotton sheets



Linen is made from flax and is a smooth fiber. It can be found in different fabric weights; some of which are rougher in texture and may include natural slubs. It is used in a wide range of household items, from upholstery and bedding to pillows and table linens.

A linen-cotton blend makes up this upholstered sofa. The throw pillows are also made of linen, creating a relaxed and laid back look.
A linen-cotton blend makes up this upholstered sofa. The throw pillows are also made of linen, creating a relaxed and laid back look.

Advantages: Very strong, stain resistant, and relatively easy to care for – it actually gets softer the more you use and wash it.

Disadvantages: Wrinkles very easily, which makes it less suitable for sitting areas with heavy use. However, when blended with another fiber, it can make beautiful upholstered furniture.

Best for: Drapery, bed linens, throw pillows and upholstery. It’s used in this Corinne Bar & Counter Stool seen in some of our models!




Silk is a surprisingly strong fabric. It’s synonymous with luxury, but is also a great hypoallergenic option, as it resists dust mites. Silk has a natural sheen that is great for reflecting light, especially when woven into a shiny satin fabric. Despite the fiber’s strength, it produces a fabric that isn’t particularly durable and it will stain, pucker or pull easily.

3A-Silk-Emerson-P2_Great Room
A silk blend is used in the detail of these drapes. The silk blend brings an elegant and polished look.

Advantages: Luxurious, it drapes beautifully and has a natural sheen.

Disadvantages: Lacks durability; it fades and will eventually breakdown in direct sunlight.

Best for: Drapery made from silk looks beautiful, but when used in this application be ready to replace them about once a year. Silk throw pillows and lampshades are ideal. For an elegant, transitional look this polished nickel sconce with silk shantung shade is a must have.




Harvested from the fleece of sheep or other animals such as alpacas, this warm, soft material is popular for use in both knit and woven textiles. It can also be blended with synthetic fibers, which reduces the possibility of felting and makes it even more versatile.

Wool bedding
Wool blankets are perfect for creating a cozy bed.

Advantages: Warm, soft, durable and versatile, wool absorbs sound, and is relatively dirt and crease resistant.

Disadvantages: Can be prone to felting, fiber qualities vary depending on the type of animal it came from, and sun exposure can discolor or affect hand feel.

Best for: Throw blankets, accent pillows and upholstered furniture, such as this 100% wool covered ottoman.




Made from tanned animal hide, leather has a long history of use in the home. Although it’s not the cheapest of materials it is worth the investment. It is incredibly tough and with proper maintenance will last a lifetime. Distressed leather is particularly popular right now, as it hides the signs of wear and tear. For homes that need extra durability or prefer not to use real hide, vinyl can be used as a vegan alternative.

This leather ottoman brings in texture and a timeless look.
This leather ottoman brings in texture and a timeless look.

Advantages: Strong, durable and very easy to clean.

Disadvantages: It can scratch, crack, and may stain or fade without treatment.

Best for: Ottomans, dining chairs, bar stools and accent chairs like this leather nailhead chair. We are big fans of the chrome base paired with the leather for a contemporary style.

white leather arm chair


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