Much of what I do is helping clients select fabric; fabric for window treatments, upholstery, bedding, carpets and other sumptuous accessories for the home. Fabric is everywhere and with our heat, humidity and sun here in Bermuda, selecting suitable fabric is a fine art. 

A well designed room needs to appeal on so many levels; your eyes do the first visual appraisal of a space and harmony. Are the colors pleasing? Do the furnishings suit the space? Do they look inviting? Etc


It’s then after you enter the room and get more intimate with the space that your tactile senses start take over. Now you are not only considering the aesthetic of the room but how the furnishings feel. Does that sofa not only beckon you to sit on it for its shape but also the fabulous upholstery? Do your toes sink into that plush carpet? Are your sheets as soft and crisp and as light as a cloud? There is nothing more disappointing then finding that things don’t feel half as good as they look.

Well selected fabrics and other furnishings should tick both sensory boxes but they should also function well. And that’s quite a feat anywhere but especially here in Bermuda. It’s very important to know the fabric composition and what its best suited for. There are three main camps; the natural fabrics, the synthetics and the blends.  


For natural fabrics, the key players for Bermuda are cotton, linen and wool. Cotton tends to be a very affordable fabric with good resistance to wear and can span the gamut from casual (think canvas and duck cotton) to more formal with damasks etc. Linens are lovely and a real favorite of mine, but are not as great with heavy wear and both linen and cottons soil and wrinkle easily.  Wool on the other hand is very sturdy and durable and with blends its offers good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling and soil.  

Silks and leathers are the two other natural fabrics. Both are fine for Bermuda but I would suggest using with care. Silks are very delicate and if exposed to direct light can disintegrate before your eyes. Leather while practical for cleaning, can be a nightmare for mold. Just like your once lovely handbags and shoes going green in the closet, leather pieces need to be used very frequently and require good air circulation.

Synthetics have come a long way baby; they are no longer your grandmothers polyester mumu’s and can do a great job to compensate for natural fabrics weaknesses. In fact I find their origins quite interesting. Acetate was developed as imitation silk and can withstand mildew (yay!), pilling and shrinking. Acrylic was developed as imitation wool and it resists wear, wrinkling, soiling and fading (another big yay! for Bermuda sun). Polyester is another synthetic that has very similar anti- fading and wrinkling properties to that of Acrylic. Nylon, while rarely used alone, is generally blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery options out there. It is also very soil resistant and can be used to prevent crushing of napped fabrics such as velvets. Rayon was developed to imitate silk, linen and cotton but to add durability. And finally vinyl is a leather alternative and ideal for busy families although the durability depends greatly on quality.  


I love fabrics, textiles as a whole really – I’m a yarn crafter too so when I’m not using fabrics for work, I’m busy making fabrics for pleasure.  I also spend a significant time abroad researching new and exciting collections which I do my best to represent here in Bermuda with our extensive fabric library.  

Bottom line; fabrics selected well will not only make the room aesthetically work but functionally. Fabrics are the cornerstone of any successful interior.  


Sponsored story by Beth MacDonald Interior Decorating Ltd.