How to Choose Materials for Home Decor
Materials matter — in home decor, they can be just as important as color or pattern. For instance, a cozy wool sweater or a beat-up leather jacket? Fluffy rug versus hardwood floors? You probably have a preference.
Materials don’t only affect our sense of touch, but also how we perceive a room: a wood table projects warmth, while a metal-and-glass number is frosty and cool.
Our articles come in a huge range of materials, so it can feel a little overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Ultimately, the right material for your home is one that fits your lifestyle (and looks good doing it).
Help! Where Do I Start?
We find most of our customers fall into one of two camps: function-driven, or design-driven.
You’re Function-Driven If …
You have kids (or are planning on it), have pets, or love to entertain and can’t trust your friends not to spill. That means you should choose fabrics like easy-clean polyester (durable and low-maintenance) or leathers with a well-worn patina that will hide scratches.
You’re Design-Driven If …
Your ultimate goal is to make your space Insta-worthy and/or make a bold statement. A material with the right finish can make that mid-century sofa look curl-up-with-a-book cozy or photoshoot-ready — we’re talking gray cotton-linen versus luxe velvet.
See what others have to say:
“The Conan oval dining table paired with the Sede chairs are perfect for my dining room. The chairs are flawlessly created, and their shape allows me to angle them so that everyone at the table has a view to the garden beyond my French doors. The delivery and installation team were the best I’ve ever experienced.” – annedoris325
“We were very very nervous to purchase a sofa online. However, after receiving the leather sample we’d requested from Article, we decided to go for it. We’re really happy we did — the Sven sectional is so comfortable, has held up to our little kids so far and the color is beautiful too.” – phastalis
Are you ready? This is it, so take notes. (Or just bookmark this page, whatever works.)
For sofas, chairs, loveseats, and ottomans, you want materials that are stylish, comfortable, and functional.
Ultra-durable and great for heavy use and lots of lounging. Kids get their sticky little jam hands all over everything, best friends spill red wine … Just use a damp cloth and wipe it away. With natural hides sourced in South America, our leather develops a rich patina over time, taking on a beautiful, lived-in look. Design-driven? Full-aniline leather — like Charme, Rawhide, and Taos — has markings that are as unique as fingerprints and it quickly develops a warm, vintage patina that photographs beautifully. Want something more functional? A semi-aniline leather — like Oxford — has been buffed and sanded to provide a more uniform finish that’s protected by a seal of wax that’s even more resistant to spills.
Linen is warm and welcoming for those nights spent cuddling on the sofa. Resilient and long-lasting, it can take some normal wear and tear. We put our premium fabrics through Martindale abrasion testing, and test for color-fastness and weave resilience — our fabrics won’t wear over time and your furniture won’t look tired in a year or two.
A pop of velvet can be a game-changer in an otherwise tame living room, so choose this fabric if you’re feeling bold. Our cotton velvet is made from 85% cotton and 15% polyester, so it needs a little bit of TLC to keep it looking its best. To remove wrinkles use a steamer and gently brush in the opposite direction of the pile.
We offer our velvet articles in a variety of saturated and neutral colors. Find your favorite velvet sofas one here.
“My bestie turned me onto Article and I’m so glad she did because this couch is a TOTAL DREAM!!! I was torn between two colors and Article happily (and quickly!!) shipped two swatches of interest free of charge. I decided on Cascadia Blue and, lemme tell you, it is one LUXE specimen. The color is so true to the photos, and the fabric a velvety delight. It’s so comfortable it’s quickly become my hubby’s favorite napping spot. ” – jessicabrigham
Your living room is for living in. Find the perfect sofa for your lifestyle.
Marble is elegant, timeless, and chic. This natural stone will vary in color tone and vein markings from item to item. You need to avoid some abrasive or acidic cleaners; a mild dishwashing liquid and soft brush for cleaning can keep things in shape. For a sophisticated touch in any space, marble is your best bet for instant elegance
The marble obsession is real. Our marble articles are available in a variety of heights and leg finishes. Marvel at all the marble all here.
Solid, sturdy, and durable. Nothing feels quite as dependable as solid oak or walnut. Both hardwoods have attractive natural aspects that provide a sense of stability to any living space. Wipe wood clean with a damp cloth and use coasters to prevent water stains.
A natural stone that will withstand heavy-duty useage. Practical, smooth, and heavy, granite is easy to clean and can be formal or casual — kids can happily set up a craft station next to the adult’s wine and cheese with no fear of imminent damage. Maintenance is minimal; simply wash periodically with a soft brush and gentle detergent.
For furniture that you can use inside or out, you want articles made from versatile, weather-resistant materials.
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, rattan is flexible, attractive, and brings a natural, boho feel to any living space. Added benefit: it’s built to last. Modern, synthetic ecolene binding is resistant to cracking, splintering, and corrosion — and it’s eco-friendly and 100% recyclable, meaning you also get to feel good about yourself when you buy it.
Hot-dipped galvanized steel is incredibly sturdy and will become less shiny as it weathers. Tough and strong, this material is great in those industrial-chic spaces that look effortlessly cool and a little bit edgy at the same time (think warehouse-meets-apartment vibes).
Teak is one of those materials that people genuinely fuss over, but once you own your own piece, you’ll get it. A prized tropical wood, teak is gorgeous, resists decay, and naturally patinas over time, changing from its original color to a silvery-gray (meaning your furniture will eventually achieve that sought-after vintage look).
“I’ve purchased dining room chairs, bar stools and now an outdoor dining set from Article. I’m always blown away by the high quality and styling look of the furniture. The Nebula granite table with Mira dining chairs for the patio are stunning.” – CraigWin
Make your outdoor space your favorite “room” in the house with our patio and outdoor furniture.
When pulling your whole room together with that final touch, you want to complement the materials already at play. Think of your rug like an anchor, something that helps define a space (especially important in an open-concept layout). Your furniture should all have a foot on the rug — or else you risk a floating, disconnected vibe.
Sheepskin is so cozy you may just want to sleep on the floor. They require some maintenance though – shake briskly and brush regularly to maintain the rug’s fluffiness and luster.
Wool is sturdy and incredibly versatile. Kids, dogs, shoes — wool can handle being walked all over. Pick one with a fun color palette (like Loopi) to add an extra dimension to your room.
Handwoven jute rugs are long-lasting and sturdy, meaning they’re great for high-traffic areas like the hallway or living room. No need to go over or around ‘em.
Made with thick wool, pile rugs are soft and plush — though they may shed a little. These rugs are spot clean only and best suited for low-traffic areas.
Psst: Don’t forget the rug pad to make sure your rug is safe and secure, especially on hard flooring.
Whether you love to entertain, have a family to raise, or simply want a more comfortable space to cozy up in at the end of the day, the right materials can make all the difference.
If you’re unsure about a fabric, get in touch. We’ll send you swatches so you can see the fabric before you commit.
Once you have matched all your materials to each other and your lifestyle, we want to hear about it. Make sure to tag us on Instagram — @article and #ourArticle — so we can see how you choose materials for your space.