Different Types of Fabrics for Various Home Applications

When it comes to home decor or outfitting your home with the basics like bedding and drapery, there are so many different types of fabrics to choose from. If this is your first time choosing fabrics for home use, here are some basics everyone interested in DIY fabric projects should know.

Different Types of Fabrics for Home Applications

Let’s talk about the most popular fabric categories for home use: drapery fabric, upholstery fabric, and bedding fabric.

Drapery Fabric


When choosing drapery fabric, you want to look at the furniture in your home, the rugs, the floors, and the surrounding decor. They matter when choosing fabric weight and pattern. While drapery fabric is its own category, it’s often made from multipurpose or light upholstery fabrics for sheer curtains. Actual upholstery fabrics are often too heavy to use as window treatments. Here are some popular materials for drapery:

  • Sheer: A translucent fabric with a soft sheen. Use alone or with another fabric. Adds privacy to a lit room.
  • Cotton: Has an organic, natural appearance.
  • Cotton Sateen: Woven with a high sheen and looks luxurious.
  • Voile: Semi-transparent and light. Made from cotton, silk, rayon, or wool. Pair with heavier fabric for light control.
  • Coated Fabric: These are usually used to block out the sun in bedroom drapes. Strongly recommended for drapery use.
  • Lining: For uncoated fabrics, adds protection for your drapery from sun damage and will insulate your windows efficiently. The better the quality of your lining, the longer your drapes will last.

Upholstery Fabric – Different Types of Fabrics



These durable fabrics can be used on furniture while lighter upholstery fabric may also be used as bedding or drapes. When choosing upholstery fabric, be sure to look into materials that complement the decor of your home, with pattern scales that make sense for your room size. Certain colors and fabrics are more durable than others. Tightly woven fabrics will last longer than light printed fabrics. Lastly, if your room is very sunny, try to choose sunlight-resistant fabrics to avoid fading.

Natural Fabrics

Cotton fabric is the most popular natural fabric as it takes color well. However, it’s known to soil easily, so be mindful of that. Silk is lovely but fragile, and not suitable for applications involving lots of use. It also requires professional cleaning if it becomes soiled. Wool is resilient and often available as a blend, making it easier to clean. Wool blends make great upholstery for furniture. Lastly, linen has a beautiful feel and texture. It does require lots of care, however. It will need professional cleaning to avoid shrinkage.

Synthetic Fibers

There are so many synthetic fibers appropriate for upholstery that we can’t name them all here. However, here are synthetic fibers commonly used for upholstery:

  • Microfiber
  • Nylon Blends
  • Polyester
  • Olefin
  • Rayon
  • Vinyl
  • Acrylic

Synthetic fabrics tend to be more affordable and more durable. They are great choices for upholstery in kids’ rooms, dens, playrooms, and living rooms where your family congregates. These fabrics are also often used for outdoor upholstery on patio furniture.

Bedding Fabrics


Choose your bedding fabrics wisely! It’s hard to stay comfortable when your bedding feels too hot or too abrasive against your skin.

For those interested in natural fibers, cotton flax, silk, and wool make for beautiful bedding, and they are naturally more absorbent. They will keep you dry and cool in most environments. However, after washing natural fibers, they tend to wrinkle. These fibers may also shrink.

Viscose, rayon, and other trademarked man-made fabrics from natural materials such as bamboo have some of the desirable qualities of actual natural materials. These may also shrink, so read cleaning instructions carefully.

As a rule, avoid fully synthetic fabrics for your bedding. They don’t absorb well and are unbearable in warm, humid climates.

A Note on Different Types of Fabrics

Multipurpose fabrics include those suitable for drapery, light upholstery (like for a pillow), bedspreads, tablecloths, etc. There are many prints available with a variety of designs using two or more colors. Multipurpose fabrics tend to be less costly than those made for a specific purpose.

Not sure what fabric you need for your application? You can request samples of most fabrics from Canvas ETC, and our team of fabric experts are ready to guide you to the right product and educate you on the different types of fabric for your home project. Contact us online today or call us at 404-514-7166.