There are many reasons of using plain furnishing fabrics in a home décor scheme. They could be used to add calmness to a room, balance out the excessive use of prints & decorative items, or highlight the use of certain colours (bright, earthy, dark, etc.) that are essential for a theme. Plain furnishing fabrics are extremely good at complementing other ideas (items) present in a room. For example, a beige velvet sofa goes well with walls, chairs, carpets and curtains of almost all colours. This sofa could be easily added to a contemporary or traditional home décor style without affecting the overall theme.
While prints add artistic elements, plains provide uniformity to a space. In other words, excessive use of prints could create a cluttered look where every piece of furniture is trying to overshadow other elements in its vicinity. In such situations, an interior designer needs something that will hold these elements together and the saving grace is usually a plain furnishing fabric. In fact, you wouldn’t find many home décor schemes that do not make use of plain furnishing fabrics.
If you want to accentuate a particular fabric (such as silk or velvet), or a colour on your sofa, it’s better to go with plain fabrics rather than embroidered and jacquard fabrics. It doesn’t mean that you cannot work with prints on sofas, but you would not be able to highlight a certain characteristic that effectively. A royal blue velvet sofa amidst a white dominated décor theme would look nothing less than a surreal experience. Similarly, a cherry red sofa with golden drapery will add a rich texture to a space. It’s important to use patterned and embroidered fabrics in conjunction with plain fabrics. The whole idea behind this is to create a sophisticated yet lively space where every item is simultaneously complementing and balancing the other elements in a room.