Soft furnishings for curtains, draperies, cushions and bed linen are available these days in a variety of fabrics ranging from crochets to plaids to cotton voiles and rich tapestry. Embroidered silk and silk brocade is a rich and elegant alternative.
Choosing the right colours for soft furnishings can give a totally new look and feel to a room. Dark colours against a light coloured wall can provide a stylish contrast. Large patterns on small windows or small rooms can create an overpowering effect. Instead, use small patterns or self-patterned fabrics. Taffeta and damask fabrics are popular as table linen and curtains.
Curtains and Drapes
Lined curtains help to lower heating bills. You can dress up your windows with curtains of different kinds. The choice of curtain fabrics and styles would depend on the kind of window that is being dressed. If privacy is necessary, then you need to go in for thick curtains.
Velvet can endure heavy use and is a good choice for family areas. Crocheted curtains are an alternative to the traditional materials such as nylon and velvet. White lace curtains inspire the relaxed and comfortable feeling, reminiscent of a romantic country cottage.
Combine draperies with shades and valances to get a well-dressed window. For kitchens, a short curtain suffices whereas sheer curtains create a romantic look that goes well with bedrooms. Window locations and sun exposure also play a role in deciding the right kind of fabric. Direct exposure to the sun and its harmful Ultra-Violet radiation can quickly fade the fabrics, upholstery and rugs. So it is wise to use non-fabric shades to protect more sensitive fabrics from direct sunlight.
Cushions and pillows
Fabrics for cushions and pillows will depend on the kind of use they are going to be put to. If you have young children around, you need hardy fabrics that can withstand plenty of handling and can easily be washed. If the cushion is for decorative purposes, delicate fabrics such as silks and muslins are options.
Plain cushions can be enhanced with decorative braids or patterned piping. Using tassels, appliqué designs and fringing can add elegance to an otherwise simple cushion.
Sofa upholstery should be sturdy and in a colour that harmonizes with the room. Slipcovers used on sofas can provide a new look at an affordable price. You can play around with fabrics of different colours and textures to create an effect that is aesthetic and functional. A drab sofa can be trimmed with bright cushions.
There are a wide variety of styles for upholstery. Leather is a durable upholstery material that can withstand children and pets. Leather outlasts fabric 4 to 1. With a simple maintenance routine, leather can retain its original gloss and give good value for money. Woven damask and jacquard can provide an elegant and classic look. Many synthetic weaves offer the convenience of easy washing and stain-resistant qualities.
Rugs and Carpets
Adding a touch of colour with a brightly coloured rug will liven up even the drabbest of rooms. Choose a rug or carpet depending on the area you want to cover. Scatter rugs are used for adorning smaller spaces and adding a touch of warmth. The colour and design of the rug plays an important part in giving the complete room a new look.
Light coloured carpets make a room appear more spacious. Deep colours add cosiness to a room. Rugs and carpets are available in a variety of fabrics and textures – wool, synthetic yarns such as nylon, olefin, polyester and acrylic. Dense pile with close stitches and tufts make for longer lasting material.
Twisted yarn adds to durability. Machine made rugs are available for much lesser than hand made ones and look just as good. They are easier to maintain.