A fabric lamp shade, varied patterns and textures on pillows along with a suzani draped across the back of the sofa create depth and interest. Photo by Roy Inman
Fabric is a beautiful thing. It is transformative and expressive. Fabric provides color, pattern and texture. It also plays a major role in setting the mood for any room.
Countless designers have graduated into becoming textile designers after years in the interior decorating industry. Thom Felicia (who recently graced Kansas City's DIFFA Dining By Design event this past May), Kelly Wearstler, Barbara Barry, Thomas O'Brien, to name a few, have all delved into the fabric houses of the world.
Even fashion designers have been crossing into the home to introduce their vision. Of course we are all familiar with the likes of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, who both have corresponding furniture lines. There are new names to add to the home textile from fashion runway list; Trina Turk, Diane von Furstenberg and Lily Pulitzer have all brought their vibrant and eclectic patterns to home decor.
So, what is so great about fabric you ask? Besides the obvious beauty that can be found in the vast array of fabrics that are out there, here are some quick and easy ways fabric can be applied to spruce up a space:
Pillows. The easiest and potentially most affordable change you can make to a room. Many homeowners have several sets of pillows they can change out seasonally. I almost always have a contrasting color or texture pillow on every sofa or chair.
Tablecloths. Have an old side table that is a bit unsightly? Or just want to add some drama to a room? Having a custom tablecloth made can be an affordable way to change the look of a room instantly.
Lamp shades. Recovering lampshades with a printed fabric can take a ho-hum lamp to smashing in no time.
Artwork. Pieces of fabric can easily be framed for a unique piece of art. Vintage suzanis make great statements hung on walls, draped over the back of a sofa or at the end of a bed.
Reupholstering. A bit more costly, but a great way to reinvigorate a lackluster chair or sofa is with new fabric in the form or a slip cover or reupholstered.
Fabric headboard. Tired of the "set" of furniture you purchased where your bedside tables, dresser and bed all match? Replacing the bed with an upholstered headboard in a fabulous fabric can make all the difference in the bedroom.
Window treatments. A space with naked windows is not considered complete by designers standards. There are countless options when it comes to custom window treatments. Choosing the right fabric for the job is crucial, as this is a costly endeavor and will make one of the biggest statements in a room.
Where to find fabric:
Ebay is a great source for vintage fabrics such as suzani and ikat prints.
Calico corners has a great selection of fabrics and their onsite workroom is very affordable for upholstery and window treatments.
Hire a designer who has access to trade only fabric showrooms for a more exclusive and high end option.
Choose bold fabrics and mix solid fabric with patterns. Be sure to alternate textures to add contrast and visual interest. Pair silk with velvet or cotton and linen with chenille. Let your fabric selections in your home be a reflection of your personal style. The type of fabric should be suitable to your lifestyle; slipcovers and durable fabrics for those with children and pets. Fabric has the potential to create the depth and richness that makes a room interesting, livable and beautiful.