Your Guide to the Most Common Home Decor Materials

When you start a new design for your home, you’ll probably spend the majority of your time thinking about ‘the look’ that you want to achieve. You may have a specific theme or style that you want to capitalize on, and you focus your efforts on finding pieces that will fit that style. This is incredibly common, and definitely a critical part of the process, but if you stop at appearance, you’re not only shortchanging yourself, but could be taking some risks as well.

living room blue theme design idea

In particular, if you haven’t thought about the materials that you’re going to use in your home decor items, you’re missing out on a critical aspect of interior design, one that can not only elevate the beauty and theme you’re trying to achieve, but help you maximize your investment. Different materials will whether the conditions of your home differently, and for families suffering from allergies, sensitive skin, and other medical conditions, material is key.

To help you enrich your design, and choose the right kinds of materials that will help make your home beautiful, unified, and safe, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common materials used in furniture and decor manufacturing.


Mankind has had a longstanding, symbiotic relationship with sheep, and similar animals, for thousands of years. From us, they can expect food, shelter, and medical treatment if they become ill; from them, we make use of not only their meat, but their coats of wool as well.

Wool is incredibly soft, but very durable, at the same time. Wool is also easy to dye, leading to a wealth of different color options you can choose from. It’s commonly found in rugs, pillows, throws, and blankets, though you don’t see it too often in end pieces like couches or chairs. Wool is very resistant to wear, abuse, and staining, but can be itchy, and trigger both sensitive skin and allergies.


One of the oldest and most widespread materials in the world, leather has been used to craft everything from coates, furniture, bags, purses, and padding, for centuries. Depending on the method used to craft the piece, leather has the potential of being one of the most pliable and resilient materials you can find.

Leather, even at its most durable, tends to be soft, and naturally made leathers have an oily texture that can both feel strange, and trigger certain skin conditions, so test it before you commit. If this isn’t an issue for you, you’ll find that leather can be incredibly resistant to just about kind of abuse you can shower it with. Be mindful though: leather, if it does become damaged, can be very difficult to store to its original state, and will often just be patched over, which can look tacky.


A 100% synthetic material, polypropylene is a great material, both because it mimics natural materials and can weather a great deal of abuse. With a wool like appearance and texture, polypropylene is incredibly soft on the skin, but avoids the common problems with allergies found in wool.

Since it carries the same general properties as wool, polypropylene can be used in any area of your home, especially those that see a high degree of use and traffic. The ease with which polypropylene can be dyed also means that you can enjoy a wide array of gorgeous colors and patterns, in everything from your area rugs to your couches, ensuring that you’ll find the perfect fit for your home, no matter what your design style.


Another widely used synthetic material, polyester rarely stands on its own, and is instead often combined with other materials to make it beautiful, while avoiding wear and damage. Polyester has an incredibly soft texture, and is perfect for areas where you see a lot of bearfoot traffic, like your living room or bedroom.

To help keep your polyester materials looking beautiful, especially if it's used for your rugs, pair it with a pad or other protective layer to help increase longevity.

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