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Interior Design: Decorative Fabrics

Nothing in your home will generate warmth and appeal more than the decorative fabrics used. A review of available fabrics will assist the homeowner in the sometimes-confusing selection process.

Is any fabric as rich as silk? Imported from the Orient for centuries, the very word silk generates opulence in one’s imagination. How can a room not feel elegant with the incomparable sheen, texture and depth of color that silk offers?

While there may be no more beautiful designer fabric, there are certain cautions to be taken when using silk, primarily its sensitivity to direct sunlight. Your decorator will specify not only a quality lining but also an interlining for protection from the strong Florida sun. When used for upholstery, silk should always be enhanced with a knit backing.

Cotton is Still King
Originating in Egypt, cotton is one of the most versatile and appealing of all fibers, natural or manmade. In the home, cotton is a decorative fabric mainstay. It dyes beautifully, and when finely spun, combed, and tightly woven it is both beautiful and sturdy, lasting for years.

If opulence is your goal, but budget and durability are important, choose a high quality cotton fabric in a rich hue or fabulous print.

Pre-historic Linen
Long before anyone thought to unwind a silkworm cocoon or plant a row of cotton, linen was being woven into fabric. While dimensionally stable and easily bleached, linen generally does not take dyes well thus limiting the range and depth of colors available.

Since linen is readily recognizable and tends to be expensive, it immediately lends prestige to any room it adorns. However, linen is prone to wrinkling and does not iron easily so those who enjoy perfection should make another selection.

Manmade Fabrics
The 1950’s brought manmade fabrics but they lacked many of the features that were so desirable in the natural fabrics. But chemists persevered until today we have many beautiful choices in the man-mades.

Still, there are a few drawbacks. No synthetic fabric will have the depth of color in a silk nor the ability to be woven into the complex patterns available in cottons. Yet, these fibers and what they offer in appearance and price extend to a greater population the pleasure of having their home make a strong statement about quality and opulence.

Your decorator will guide you to the right fabrics for your home and lifestyle.

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About the Author

Lori Wawczak, Decorating Den Interiors
Lockport, IL 60441

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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