When it comes to fabrics, colors and patterns tend to attract us more than the weight and durability do. While it is important that its appearance makes us happy, it’s equally important for the fabric to serve our decorating purpose to the fullest.
Fabrics essentially fall into three categories: lightweight, medium-weight and heavyweight. This weight is categorized by the fabric’s abrasion resistance, which is determined by a “double rub” test.
Lightweight fabrics max out at 9,000 double rubs, medium-weight at 15,000, and heavyweight fabrics, even higher. One year of use is equivalent to 3,000 double rubs. Most fabrics are labeled so you can easily determine which fabric is right for your particular application.
Medium-weight fabrics are typically the most widely used fabrics because of their versatility. Lightweight and heavyweight fabrics are wonderful options as well, however, many people struggle with using them together within a space successfully.
Once you have an understanding of what these types of fabrics are, and what they’re best suited for, the process of mixing them becomes easier. Lightweight fabrics include fabrics such as silk, linen, and microfiber, while heavyweight fabrics are ones like velvet and wool. When done correctly, blending them together can really elevate the look of a room.
When it comes to using heavy and lightweight fabrics together, be sure to adhere to the rule of three: no more than three patterns within one space. If you stick to that, it really all comes down to how and where the fabric will be used.
As a general rule, avoid lightweight fabrics on pieces of furniture that get heavy use. Instead, opt for a heavier fabric that can withstand the daily abuse. A good example of using multiple-weight fabrics together is a sofa covered in a medium-weight fabric, accented with throw pillows covered in something lightweight, and then a finishing touch of sophisticated velvet window treatments. You could even expand textures by using something such as tweed or linen on chairs, velvet on a sofa and leather on an ottoman.
To keep the place looking like it makes sense, keep a similar color among your fabrics so they tie together nicely. When the fabrics complement each other in color and meet your decorating needs, you’ll have that beautifully cohesive space that’s tailored to suit your personal style.