Christy Ferer, Vidicom CEO, says "Richly textured materials, such as Oriental rugs, brocades, damasks, and jacquards, beling in formal rooms."
Formal is a label and labels are restricting. Learn to live without labels and watch what happens. Favorite fabrics can be everywhere you go so you can enjoy them. I've filled my beach house, for example, with a mix of rich fabric pillows. Persian rugs look wonderful layered over sisal or terra-cotta. Velvets and brocades complement rattan furniture. Conversely, cottom ikats on antique mahogany chairs break the formality of a dining-room table.