Home Furnishings- A Review
Home furnishings or soft furnishings is the happening thing in the textile and fashion business today. More the people long for decorating their surroundings with soothing colours and designs, more the textile manufacturers are increasing the production of interior textiles. Home Furnishings include a wide range of products- Carpets and rugs, Curtains, Table linen, mats and runners, Kitchen linen and other kitchen accessories, Bathroom furnishings, Window Treatments, Hammocks, Bed linen, Bed spreads, Blankets, Pillows and pillow covers, Cushion and cushion covers, Duvets and Duvet covers and many others.
Fabrics used in Home furnishings
Home Furnishing Fabrics or Home Textiles refer to the textiles used for manufacturing home furnishings. It has an extensive range of functional as well as decorative products. It consists of both, natural as well as man-made fabrics. Sometimes, these fabrics are made stronger and more durable through blending. The textile fabrics most commonly used for home furnishing may be listed as Silk, Cotton, Jute, Rayon, Wool, Nylon, Polyester, Satin, Organza, Organdy etc.
Different techniques are used by home textile manufacturers to enhance the decorative aspect of the home furnishing products. Some of these methods like decorative dyeing and printing, embroidery, products made of woven and non woven fabrics etc. are continuously gaining importance.
Role of Fabrics in Home Furnishings
Furnishings turn the neutral spaces into personal and very special places. Fabric is the prime contributor in home furnishing products and thus it must provide the texture, colour, character, scale and anything that is missing in the architecture. Fabric has many roles to play, it brings style, reflects one's taste and controls the mood. Moreover, it is the most flexible and can be easily changed, replaced or added to. Fabrics increase livability and workability of a small place, reduce noises, make music and even speech richer and more resonant.
For getting all the advantages of fabric used for home textiles, it must have properties such as light fastness, resistance to seam slippage, resistance to staining, pilling and snagging, flame retardancy etc.
Home Furnishings- The Areas of Application
Home textiles find application in upholstery, window textiles, bed linen and other bed textiles, bathroom textiles, kitchen linen and accessories, table linen and other table cloths, rugs and carpets etc.
Upholstery fabrics are used to cushion and cover furniture. There can be fixed upholstery or loose covers. Fixed upholstery is fastened or glued to the furniture. Mostly acrylic fabric and velvets are used due to their excellent brightness and appearance.
Window textiles may include curtains, drapes, blinds etc. This is probably the widest area of fabric development in home textiles. Mostly cotton, flax, wool, silk, acrylic, etc. are used for the purpose. Of late flame retardant curtains using modacrylic fiber, viscose, PVC etc. have also gained popularity. Blinds are opaque window textiles. Some blinds allow transmission of a little light into the room whereas the others usually made of cotton fabric, known as black out material, give 100 percent opacity.
Bed linen and other bed textiles
Bed linen and other bed textiles include bed sheets and pillow cases, bed spreads, quilt covers, duvet covers, cushions, blankets, mattresses, Bed throws, sofa throws and many other items. For bedsheets, bedspreads and similar items, acrylic, viscose, silk and blends are used. For quilted textiles, mainly PET fiber is used. For blankets wool , acrylic fiber, and acrylic polyester fiber blends are used extensively.
Bathroom textiles include shower curtains, bath robes, bath mats, bath rugs, towels etc. Shower Curtains need to be water proof and so plastic coated textiles either of woven or non woven fabrics are in great demand.
Table linen and other table cloths
Table linen and other table cloths include table mats, napkins, placemats, chair covers, chair mats and pads, table runners, coasters etc. For table cloths, cotton, linen, polyester etc. are extensively used. Jute, leather, plastic, silk satin are also used widely for other items like placemats, chair mats, table runners etc.
Rugs and carpets
Rugs and carpets are very important part of floor covering which has gained worldwide popularity. Apart from traditional woolen and silk carpets, other categories like coir carpets, hand knotted and jute carpets have a good market share.
Kitchen linen and accessories
Kitchen linen and accessories include aprons, mittens, dishcloths, kitchen towels etc. Cotton, leather, plastic, all are used for making kitchen wear aprons. Flame retardant kitchen wears are also in great demand these days.
Home Furnishing Styles
As home decoration is the extension of one's personality, not only the fabrics used in making these furnishings are significant but also the various styles of combinations among fabrics, colours and furniture etc. are important. The factors which affect the buying habits, as far as home furnishings are concerned, can be enumerated as lifestyle, location, budget and cultural influence. Before starting decoration of interiors, the tendency is to select from among the various furnishing styles -
prefers pastel shades, soft lighting, sheer fabric or gauze for curtains, antique accessories, patchwork quilts etc.
A mix of Italian and French styles, it uses warm colors like earth colours or yellow, fabric having simple patterns in blue and a little gold.
Oriental Style uses simple and sleek Oriental patterns with very few items. Mostly oriental rugs, silk fabric with oriental prints, pictures of dragons, cherry blossoms and Japanese seascapes are preferred for decoration.
Traditional Style uses fabric with floral prints, plaids and damasks. Heavy material is used for making curtains.
Victorian Style uses small and elegant items. Silk fabric is preferred for cushions having stripes or simple floral patterns, velvet and rich brocades are also used extensively.