Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mixing Fabrics in 5 Easy Steps - Part 5

This installment wraps up our short tutorial on coordinating fabrics and patterns. However, we will be posting sample boards based on a few more of your submissions over the next couple of months or so. So follow this blog to see more. Last week we featured several options for Steve's inspiration fabric. This week we turn our attention to Nancy's fabric and how it all comes together.

Nancy's sample board can be used in several ways. You will notice that there are a variety of textures, scales, sheens and patterns as discussed last week in Parts 3 and 4. Nancy can pick one stripe, one plaid, one small pattern, one solid silk for sheen, etc. from the swatches above.

Or the sample board can be divided so the left half is one scheme and the right side is two schemes - one on the top right quarter and one below on the bottom right quarter of the board. Trims and accessories go with all groupings.

If working with the left side, Nancy needs to select one stripe and one of the solid greens - either the quilted silk (for a more formal
look) or the textured velvet (for a more casual feel). Both provide a wonderful tactile quality. The cornice above the solid satin drapery panel on the left is actually covered with a wide wallpaper border (or frieze) that happens to echo the flowers and colors of the inspiration fabric beautifully.

Similarly, Nancy can choose from the fabrics on the bottom half, and even select more than one pattern since all (except the striped lisere) are quite different. 

Once you have decided on your fabrics, plan where they will be used.  Do not use all of one fabric, color, texture, pattern, or sheen in one area of the room. Think in terms of balance in using them.

For example, if your inspiration fabric is a floral used on a sofa and a chair, as in the example below, you might use the same fabric for a couple of pillows to toss on another chair (whether part of that seating group or elsewhere in the room), and/or as a valance for the window treatments.  Then your second fabric (such as a coordinating plaid or stripe ) could be used as a comforter or duvet and for Roman shades and to upholster a chair or cover a table. Your third selection might be a luxurious solid or tone-on-tone fabric that can be used to trim the curtains, make shams for the bed pillows, and to cover a bench at the foot of the bed.

Be sure to consider your walls and floors when selecting fabrics, as they provide additional places and sources of color and patterns. The scale of your furniture should also be considered. The same "rules" outline above can be used. Just substitute a wallpaper for one of the fabrics. Wallpaper can even be your starting point instead of a fabric. And lighter weight fabrics can be used as (removable) wallpaper! These are not hard and fast rules, and exceptions can often be successfully made but this guide is meant to be just that -- a guide to help you build the confidence and skills to create the room of your dreams.

Here are some additional informational and DIY resources you may find helpful:
How to use Fabric as a Wall CoveringFabric wallcovering can be provide a lot of decorating impact for little cost. It is not only easy to apply fabric to your walls with starch, the fabric will be easy to remove (and reuse) and it will not damage the wall. Whether you live in an apartment or dorm and are not allowed to paint or wallpaper or even if you simply like to change your decor frequently or want to cover flawed walls, hanging fabric as a wall covering is the perfect decorating solution.  
Color Your World: How to Choose and Use Color in Your Home
The overwhelming possibilities and thousands of paint chips that confront you in paint stores or your local Home Depot are enough to drive anyone to the safe shades of white and almost-whites. The fear of choosing colors that do not work together, the misconception that matching colors takes some innate ability you don't think you have, and the inability to visualize what colors will actually look like in your room may also contribute to difficulty in deciding on color. Once you understand the basic principles of using color and some professional "tricks" decorators hide up their sleeves, you will have the knowledge and confidence to create a space that enhances your life, conveys the mood you want, and garners a lot of compliments as well.  Top 10 Interior Decorating Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
You don't have to be a professional interior decorator to understand and apply some basic principles of interior design that will help you create a comfortable and functional home with style.Whether you want to rearrange furniture in your living room, update your bedroom decor, create a guest room, shop for a dining room chandelier, or are downsizing or starting from scratch with your first studio apartment, the tips on this page will help you make the choices that are right for you and your lifestyle. 
This DIY Guide shows you how to hang artwork, individual shelves or shelving units, closet organizers, cabinets, curio cases, media storage, speakers, flat screen tvs, kitchen cabinets, heavy mirrors and more. Our guide to hanging items on walls explains how to determine what type of wall you have and the mechanics of hanging items on different types of walls (drywall or sheetrock, plaster, brick and stone, etc.) including what type of tools and hardware you will need to hang everything from family photos to heavy mirrors. You will learn the the basics and some easy-to-do but more advanced options plus we've included tips the pros use, important links for safety information, how-to videos, and much more.
This page dicusses 11 common interior decorating problems and teaches you the tricks interior designers use to correct them with pattern and color. Creating a home decorating magazine-worthy room does not take magic or a lot of money. It is much easier than pulling a rabbit out of a hat and you can do all of these tricks yourself. Whether you have a long narrow room, low ceilings, furniture you want to feature or make less noticeable, or other problems commonly encountered when decorating a space, we've got some easy-to-learn and DIY slight-of-hand secrets the professionals use to fix such things.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. You make it sound so easy I may give it a try.

  2. Dear Chazz-
    I am thrilled with your suggestions! Can't wait to start shopping. Do you know where I can find the fabrics and items from your sample boards? And how do I figure out how much fabric I need? Thank you so much - I am so grateful to have won this contest.

    1. Hi Nancy -
      Thanks for submitting your inspiration fabric and telling us about your room.
      Most of the fabrics and items on our sample boards come from or through and Although you should confirm with your upholsterer, you can download free yardage charts on this page:
      Have fun shopping and please send us pictures of the results.