Teaching Students About Soft Furnishings


Soft furnishings play a crucial role in defining the aesthetic and comfort of a living space. As future interior designers, it’s essential for students to gain a comprehensive understanding of how soft furnishings contribute to the overall design and ambiance of a room. This article will discuss the importance of teaching students about soft furnishings and how they can be effectively used to enhance the visual appeal and functionality of a space.

The Importance of Soft Furnishings in Interior Design

Soft furnishings encompass various textiles and fabric-based accessories, including curtains, cushions, upholstery, bedspreads, and rugs. These elements not only add comfort to space but also give it personality and character. They allow for creativity and versatility in design since they can be easily changed or updated depending on the desired look.

Teaching students about soft furnishings strengthens their ability to make design choices based on factors such as color, pattern, texture, and fabric type. Understanding the interactions between these elements empowers students to create harmonious and well-balanced spaces.

Key Topics to Cover in Soft Furnishings Education

1. Fabric Types: Introduce students to different kinds of fabrics, their properties, and their suitability for specific applications. For example, cotton is versatile and breathable; velvet adds luxurious texture; polyester is durable and easy-to-clean.

2. Textile Functionality: Teach students about the functional aspects of fabrics – from insulation and light control provided by curtains to the tactile comfort added by cushions or upholstery.

3. Color Theory: Explore how color affects mood and ambiance within space. Encourage students to consider colors that complement or contrast with the other elements of design when choosing soft furnishings.

4. Patterns & Textures: Delving into the world of patterns and textures allows students to develop their creative flair and add depth to their designs. Familiarize them with popular motifs like geometric shapes, florals, and abstract designs, as well as techniques for combining patterns effectively.

5. Custom vs Off-the-shelf: Discuss the benefits and limitations of customizing soft furnishings versus purchasing ready-made items. This includes factors such as cost, convenience, versatility, and uniqueness.

Practical Learning Experiences

Enhance the learning experience for students by incorporating practical tasks into the curriculum. For example:

1. Room Design Project: Assign students a room design project that requires them to select soft furnishings based on a specific theme or color scheme. This encourages them to think critically about how each element contributes to the overall design.

2. Fabric Swatch Books: Build fabric swatch collections for students to explore and experiment with different materials, colors, patterns, and textures.

3. Field Trips: Organize visits to local textile shops or home furnishing stores where students can interact with professionals, understand current trends in the industry, and observe surrounding interior styles.

4. Real-life Design Scenarios: Provide students with real-life case studies wherein they need to solve specific design problems or meet particular requirements using soft furnishings.


Teaching students about soft furnishings is essential in equipping them with the necessary skills to become successful interior designers. By exploring various fabric types, colors, patterns, and functionalities, educators can help students develop their creativity and ability to make informed design decisions. Providing practical learning experiences alongside theoretical knowledge will also ensure that students are well-prepared for their future endeavors in the world of interior design.

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