Lets start with upholstery weight fabrics, as durability is always in the forefront. The weight of these fabrics is defined as being able to hold up to heavy usage. You can definitely feel the difference between a light weight fabric, usually used for drapery or toss pillows, and a heavy weight fabric used for upholstery, pillows, and cornices. For well used seating such as family room sofas, breakfast chairs, office chairs, and children rooms, a heavy weight fabric such as chenille, micro fibers, leathers (though technically leather is not a “fabric”, but a material used in upholstery), or any other tightly woven fabric is best suited. These materials are generally easy to clean and keep clean. In more formal settings, a backed silk becomes very durable, but usually not cleaned easily, unless professionally cleaned, and then there could still be problems. The above mentioned fabrics are also well suite for upholstered walls and ceilings, even though a light weight fabric could also fit the bill. There are general rules for patterned fabrics and solids. Lets define the difference in there use. For larger upholstered pieces most interior designers use a solid fabric and accent with a patterned toss pillow. There are many fabrics on the market today that appear solid, but have a small dot, a slight slub, a subtle thread running through it, that will make up beautifully on upholstered pieces. They add a new dimension to the furniture piece, add a little excitement, a show a different style. Patterned fabrics are used more as accents since changing them will result in very little expense. To change a few toss pillows to a different color as compared to changing as entire sofa, clearly make sense.
Light weight fabrics have there purposes and needs. These fabrics used properly by an interior designer, will bring the color and excitement to your room. Light weight fabrics are used mainly for drapery and accent or toss pillows. These light weight fabrics flow easily, fold easily on drapery swags, hang beautifully for side panels and tab top drape, and generally cost less. Cost is truly a factor since drapery panels should be “full”, and require a great deal of yardage. Mix and match solids and prints in these light weight fabrics, add tassels and trim in coordinating colors, to get the most out of your drapery applications. Patterned fabrics are also a great way to spark up a sofa in a solid fabric. Using a vibrate pattern for these pillows pulls in and adds to your accent color palette. I would recommend a heavy weight fabric for toss pillows in any room heavily used, even though I would still recommend a patterned fabric.
When consulting with an interior designer, make sure they understand the use of each area. In my experience, adults are usually worse than children when it come to wear and tear on furnishings, so remain diligent when selecting your fabrics no matter who lives in the home. Remember the International Design House philosophy, “Beautifying the world, one room at a time”.