If your preference is for bold color contrasts and crisp design, nothing beats a good graphic or geometric patterned fabric. A case in point: vividly colored drapery and upholstery fabric from Duralee.
A neutral palette has always been a favorite for home decorators. The reason: it’s a look that ages gracefully and is extremely versatile. Photo: Guy Chaddock.
A way to build visual interest with textiles is to choose patterns that are varied in scale. Photo: John Robshaw Textiles
Beyond revealing a lot about your decorating personality, fabric choices are the most pivotal decorative element in a room. They set the style, color palette and ambiance of a room.
A Material World
How fabrics make a room.
- by Nancy Robinson
What’s your decorating style? Not sure? Fabrics are a great place to start. Look at the fabrics that attract your attention for insight into your personal style. Do you favor rooms filled with ethnically inspired fabrics evocative of world travels, or do you crave clean geometric looks? Are you a traditionalist who loves nothing more than a beautiful peony print in luscious spring colors, or are you more of a modernist who can’t get enough of simple, monochromatic palettes like those of lustrous, organic linen?
Fabrics Set the Tone
Beyond revealing a lot about your decorating personality, fabric choices are the most pivotal decorative element in a room. They set the style, color palette and ambiance of a room. Because of their overarching importance, fabrics are usually one of the first elements to be selected.
So how can you get off on the right foot when choosing textiles for your dream room? Experts say the first step is to determine the overall style you’re going for. Look for inspiring images on HomeFurnishings.com as well as in home decorating books and magazines. In addition to providing a wealth of ideas and inspiration, they’re a great starting point as you begin the process of narrowing down your preferences.
Key in on Color
Once you’ve established the style, it’s time to decide on the color palette. Typically a room will include two or three key colors that are used throughout the upholstery, window treatments and decorative pillows. Look for a fabric that you like, that incorporates the style and color palettes you desire. Then you can find coordinating fabrics, such as solids and small- to medium-size prints or patterns that complement your primary fabric.
“For a beginner, selecting a statement print—something that catches your eye and makes the room interesting—is a good way to get started,” says Stacy Senior Allan, marketing director for Thibaut Wallpaper and Fabrics. For both visual and textural interest, she also advises mixing printed fabrics with woven fabrics.
Focus on Pattern
A textured fabric in a solid color can be a great complement to your favorite print, and highlight the colors you want to accentuate., says Pam Maffei-Toolan, vice president of design for PK Lifestyles. “I think it’s nice to have an organic design mixed in there along with something a little more rigid, like a plaid or a stripe,” she adds.
Another way to build visual interest with textiles is to choose patterns that are varied in scale. Wes Mancini, fabric designer and president of Wesley Mancini Designs, loves to mix pattern sizes in a room. He combines everything from textured wovens with a barely-there pattern to medium-sized patterns to some that are large and bold. “I would also mix textures, so that everything isn’t a chenille nor is everything flat,” he advises.
Trim it Up
The final consideration in creating your dream room with fabric? Decorative trim! Using contrasting welts, cording and fringe helps complete the look. “Trims, fringe and other details are very important and wonderful accents, like a cherry on the top of a cake,” says Maffei-Toolan . “They bring everything together.”