How to Decorate Your House with Soft Furnishings

Soft furnishings is the collective name given to all the elements of a home that are made of fabric. It includes upholstery, curtains, cushions, quilts, and duvet covers.

Choosing fabric

With such a wide variety to choose from, making a decision can be difficult. Considering these points will help:

  • How much wear will fabric need to withstand? Seats need hard-wearing fabric, but cushions do not. So you might choose heavyweight cotton for the sofa, then add a beautiful but less robust silk-based fabric for cushions.
  • Easy-care fabrics for upholstery are important if you have children and pets.
  • Always view a fabric sample in your home. See how it looks by day and in artificial light.

  • Man-made fibres tend to have greater resistance to sun damage than natural ones. Silk is the least resistant
  • among natural fabrics; those with woven patterns will be slower to fade in the sun than printed ones.
  • Large patterns and dark colours can overpower a small room.
  • Few rooms can hold two different patterns. If your sofa has a strong design, balance it with plain curtains.
  • Use stripes sparingly and balance them with plain fabric elsewhere in the room.
  • Offset pale walls with deep-coloured curtains.
  • The fabrics used in a room don’t have to be the same material, but should share similar characteristics. Formal fabrics such as velvet and brocade will group well together in a living room, as will gingham and printed cottons in a kitchen.

Recovering upholstery

There are four options for a covered chair or sofa that is structurally sound, but in need of a replacement cover.

  1. Disguise it with a throw. This is a blanket-sized piece of fabric that can be draped over a chair or sofa and tucked under the seat. A sofa might require two throws to cover it.
  2. Stitch a new cover yourself. Making a loose cover that is held in place by a grip-fastener and ties requires careful cutting and accurate sewing skills, but no upholstery skills.
  3. Buy stretch-covers. These typically consist of material with a high elastic content that stretches over the old cover. This is a budget option.
  4. Call in a professional upholsterer. He will remove the existing cover and fully fit a new one, with the fabric of your choice. However, this can be as expensive as buying new furniture.


  • Choose removable covers in washable fabrics.
  • Give a fixed cushion a removable cover by unpicking one seam and replacing it with an iron-on grip-fastener.
  • Extra-large cushions can double as floor seats.
  • Experiment with sizes, shapes, and fabrics, especially if your upholstery is in neutral shades. This is a good way to add new life to tired furniture and a simple way to make a room more colourful and cozy.
  • Don’t restrict cushions to the living room. They add colour, comfort, and decoration to kitchen chairs and in bedrooms.
  • Choose firm cushions if you are using them to support your back.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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