What is Soft Furnishing Material? (Explained)

What is Soft Furnishing Material? Well, fabric is made of natural and synthetic fibers. These two types are the basic furnishing materials.

Generally people misunderstand furnishing materials as products like cushions, curtains and table runners etc.

Cushions and curtains, etc. along with other items are types of furnishings and not the materials.

Soft furnishings are any product made out of fabric. Fabrics are prepared by using materials we call fibers.

Therefore, fibers are the basic material for furnishings of all types.

This short article will explore about the two basic types of  soft furnishing (fabric / textile) materials.

So, let’s dive in..

Fabrics are an unavoidable material in any home. We all use fabrics in different ways in our home.

From upholstery fabric, bed sheet, napkins to curtains and table runners fabrics of various types are an essential buy.

Fabrics are manufactured through different woven, knitted, felting, etc techniques that involves yarn prepared from fibers.

The basic materials in the manufactureing of fabrics are called fibers (filaments or threads).

These fibers fall into 2 categories, natural and man made fibers. Soft furnishing or fabric is prepared by using these two categories as raw materials.

Animal and plant based fibers include jute, hemp, falx (linen), rattan vines.

Pineapple leaf fibers, sisal leaf fibers and coir (coconut husk) etc.

Animal fibers on the other hand include wool  and silk that are the most popular animal fibers, wool is generally obtained from different sheep breeds.

Other commonly used animal hair include Mohair, camel’s hair, Alpaca, and Lahama, etc.

Animal and plant fibers or filaments are natural raw materials for making home textiles and are used by interior designers worldwide.

Many high end soft furnishings are made out of these natural materials and priced expensively.

The other type of fibers used as material for the manufacturing of soft furnishings are the synthetic or manmade fibers.

These engineered fibers have a set of their own properties like strength and flexibility, breathe ability etc.

These include polyester, acetate fibers, nylon, acrylic, olifin etc.

Synthetic fibers are engineered fibers with unique properties of their own that defines the quality of the fabric.

Soft furnishings (textiles) are manufactured through weaving these two types of fibers.

Therefore, these natural and engineered / manmade fibers are used in the making of fabrics of different colors and  patterns.

Soft furnishing items like cushions, curtains, sofa back throws, table runners, bedspreads and bed sheets and other decorative fabrics with embellishments have such fibers as basic raw ingredients.

So, conclusion of the question what is soft furnishing material is the natural and manmade fibers that when woven independently or in combination forms a structure we call fabric.

Written by: Adil Masood Qazi