Interior design tips: Which leathers and fabrics to use in your home

We all want to give our home that luxe look. And, one of the ways to achieve a truly high-end feel is to choose the right materials. But, it’s not only about the look, feel or colour of a fabric. You need to think about the function of a room and who will be using it.

While in a guest bedroom, you can get away with selecting more delicate materials, in a living room shared with a boisterous toddler or family pet, you’ll need to look for something more hard wearing.

Here’s our guide to some of the leathers and fabrics chosen by interior designers.


Naturally, in any home, the type of furniture you choose is pivotal to achieving an overall look. One material that will stand the test of time, both in terms of trends and robustness, is leather. Leather sofas and chairs add a touch of sophistication and luxury to the living, dining or bedroom. But, there are many different types of leather to choose from depending on the style and function of a piece of furniture:

Aniline leather

The most natural looking leather furniture made with aniline leather will have the unique surface characteristics of the hide still visible. It creates a softer, more delicate look than other types of leather, but can stain and fade more easily, meaning it’s probably not suitable if you have young children or if you want to position your sofa or chair in direct sunlight.

Semi aniline and pigmented leather

More durable than aniline but still retaining a natural appearance, semi aniline leather has a light surface coating to make it easier to clean. A two-tone colour effect is usually added to give it a more natural look. Pigmented leather is given a polymer coating to make it more resistant to scratches and stains, making it ideal for those with a young family.


Leather with the surface worn away to produce a velvet-like feel, suede can give a room a softer, more elegant look. It’s a material that gives texture and warmth to a room, but it can be difficult to clean, so could be best used in finishing touches such as headboards, cushions or for an accent chair.
In the right style, leather pieces can be a worthwhile investment for any room as, if looked after, they can last a lifetime.


There are countless fabrics to choose from, all of which can add a different look and ambiance to a room. Popular materials for the home include cotton, linen, silk, velvet and wool. Choosing the right fabric can give your home a feel of elegance, romance, warmth or space:

Silk and rayon

While it can stain easily, there are many advantages to using silk in your home. A natural material, it is highly absorbent so it can easily be dyed, meaning you can find silk soft furnishings in a wide range of stunning hues. It’s also hypoallergenic and durable, making it a good choice for bed linens. If you wish to get the look of silk without worrying about how to clean it, you could always choose to add it in accessories like accent cushions or pillows. Or, you could opt for rayon, which is described by designers as “art silk”. With a bright, shiny texture similar to that of silk, it is less likely to stain and easier to clean.


A beautiful natural fibre found in lots of different blends and fabrics, Cotton is comfortable and breathable, making it a good choice for a range of uses, including bedding and table cloths. Resistant to fading and signs of wear and tear, cotton blends also look beautiful when used as sofa or chair fabrics, or in lampshades or cushions.


Opulent and dramatic, velvets can bring a lavish look to your home. From small ottomans to long sofas, velvet can be used to upholster all sorts of seating, looking particularly attractive when used to cover traditional Chesterfield-style sofas. Or, you could choose to use velvet to cover headboards or full bed frames. It also gives an expensive feel to a room when used in window dressings or can add colour to a space through use on cushions or throws.


Used in everything from carpets to sofas, wool and wool blends are traditional, quality fabrics that are not only beautiful, but are tactile and hardwearing. You could choose to add a wool rug to define spaces in your living or dining room, or to add interest with a woollen footstool or crocheted accessories.
Choosing the right fabrics can bring texture, warmth and interest to your home.
Copyright © 2012 Modern Home Design Ideas by Honoriag.