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When it comes to furnishing our spaces, India serves as a treasure trove of quality textiles and fabrics where spools of materials available in a burst of colours, prints, textures and intricate weaves come to mind. From tie-dye and ikat to block prints and aari embroidery, the craftsmanship of Indian fabrics is not only widely popular in the country but has made it’s mark across the globe from home décor to fashion.

As we try to promote more vocal-for-local consumer habits, when it comes to upholstering our furniture, choosing our home accessories and styling our drapes, we’re spoilt for choice with the options available to us. But, as we thread our way (quite literally) through yards of cloth, how do we pick the fabric suited best for our homes?


For every Indian home, the main composition of materials to look for to gauge the quality of a fabric is cotton, linen, jute, silk and wool. While some fabrics may even blend a couple or more of these materials together, they all work well in our homes as they are breathable and durable at the same time.

For upholstering your furniture…consider the rub count of the fabric you are choosing. This measures the durability of a material and its resistance to abrasion. For your sofas, armchairs and seating consoles, you’ll want to look for a rub count between 20,000 to 30,000; along with textures and finishes that are soft and comfortable to touch.

For your cushions and covers…cotton is the most durable fabric being the easiest to wash and cosiest to lay on. For a more formal setting, consider velvet which will also add warmth to the décor.

For your throws…natural fibres such as cotton, linen and cashmere will provide warmth while staying breathable.

For the table spread…cotton or cotton blended with linen serves well for everyday use as it won’t crease easily, absorbs quickly and is fuss-free to clean. Linen is higher in cost and maintenance but makes for a more elegant and tasteful formal spread.

For your bed linens…cottons and silks are not only soft and cushion the skin well, but also absorb moisture, can be used all year round and are easy to clean and care for.

With a plethora of choices available these days, how does one pick the right fabric for a home? Your starting point should be the purpose the material will be used for (along with the wear and tear it will have to withstand), and the weather conditions you’ll face through the year. If you have a large family living in the house (especially with children), lighter fabrics such as linens and silks will be prone to snags and tears. However, home owners at higher altitudes living in cooler temperatures can create a cosier space with thicker, richer upholsteries such as velvet. The key is pairing the most durable fabrics with your living habits.