How to Mix Fabrics For A Custom Look in Home Decor in 5 Easy Steps
5 Easy Decorator's Tips for Mixing Fabrics with Different Colors, Patterns & Textures
We've put together five easy-to-follow guidelines and lots of pictures to make it easy for you to achieve an expertly put-together room that expresses your personal style and is worthy of appearing in your favorite decorating magazine.
Many people are good at mixing one pattern with a solid but are afraid of adding more. Yet, adding even one more color, print or pattern can make the difference between a so-so room and one that is interesting, polished, and pulled together.
Those brave enough to venture beyond the two-fabric combo will often rely on retail home decor fabrics printed in the same colors and sold as coordinates. However, these fabrics are usually overly matched and the result is formulaic cookie-cutter decorating that can be boring and leaves little room (pun intended) for individual expression.
You will also find some links to some great (way-below-wholesale and warehouse priced) buys on fabulous to-the-trade only fabrics and wallpapers to get those creative juices flowing and inspire your own unique style of home decor!
1. Inspiration is Primary
A fabulous designer fabric is often the starting point of a great interior decorating scheme and a room that is welcoming -- that just "feels right."
Begin by choosing a fabric in a pattern or color you love. Names to look for include Brunschwig & Fils, Clarence House, Schumacher, ScalamandrÃ©, Stroheim & Romann, Lee Jofa or other premier design houses. Try to find a design or pattern in at least three colors, such as the floral shown here.
This will be your inspirational starting point and the most prominent design element in your room. (If you prefer to use a wallpaper for your interior decor's starting point, just substitute the wallpaper for the primary fabric and choose a fourth coordinate according to the following guidelines.)
2. Choose Coordinates
Once you have your main decorating fabric, select two or more fabrics, each having one or more of the colors in your inspiration fabric. Try to vary the fabrics so that contrast, texture, scale, sheen, and pattern vary.
• Contrast: Overall color of one fabric should be light, one medium, and one dark.
• Texture: Choose fabrics with different textures, such as a smooth silk and a woven linen.
• Scale: Vary the size of the patterns by including one large, one medium, and one smaller pattern or solid. For example, you might choose a large floral like the one above, a medium size plaid or stripe in coordinating colors, and a small embroidered pattern or a solid in a textured matte linen or cotton to complement the sheen in the chintz.
• Sheen: Mix shiny and matte fabrics.
• Patterns: Mix curvy and linear patterns, such as a floral or a toile and a check or plaid, with a solid. Or choose a third pattern.
Note: Most of these tips will also apply to decorating with a single-color scheme. In fact, following these simple guidelines will add interest and will keep a monotone from becoming monotonous.
Handy Reference for Country Style Pattern Mixing
3. Experiment to create different looks
Experiment with different swatches until you find a grouping that balances color, scale, and pattern and is pleasing to you. You can do this with actual swatches if available, or you can request jpegs from on-line sellers whose fabrics you are interested in, download them, adjust the size of pictures for scale, and see how they look together on your computer screen.
Home decorating should be fun, so play around with different fabrics and be sure to check the swatches with different lighting too. A fabric that looks great in a softly lit room at night, for example, may look garish to you during a sun-flooded afternoon.
Remember, too, that colors will look different depending on what other colors are adjacent to them, so be sure to look at your swatches against wall, floor, and furniture colors.
4. Decide What Goes Where?
Once you have decided on your home decorating fabrics, plan where they will be used. Do not use all of the fabrics in one area of the room. Spread them around to create balance. For example, if you use your inspiration fabric for a valance and/or curtains, or draperies in your bedroom, you might use the same fabric for a couple of throw pillows, shams, or a headboard and/or dust ruffle for the bed, to cover a lampshade, and as welting or a cushion for a pair of chairs. Then your second fabric (such as the plaid or stripe in the previous example) could be used as a duvet cover and for window shades and to upholster one chair. Your third fabric might be a luxurious solid silk or linen that can be used to trim the window treatments, make shams or throw pillows for the bed, and to cover a bench at the foot of the bed and a second chair.
5. Put it All Together
Don't forget that your walls and floorcoverings are additional areas for color and pattern
and be sure to consider them, as well as the style and scale of your furniture, when planning your room. Remember, these are guidelines, not rules, and there are exceptions, including some in the pictures we've included in this lens to inspire you. Have fun!
Two Home Decor Fabrics = Two Interior Decorating Looks - By Changing the Third Coordinate
In the above photos, two fabrics in each one are the same, Just by changing
the third coordinate you can create a different look and feeling.
What a Difference One Fabric Makes
The following question refers to the two photos above.
Which of the above combination of fabrics do you like better? Why?See results without voting
Interior Design Color Wheel Helps You Harmonize
Your Interior Design Projects.
Pattern & Color:
for Your Home
Inspirational Palettes for Designing
Which Trim Would You Choose?
Both of these trims coordinate with the two fabrics shown. Which do you prefer?
Which trim would you choose?See results without voting
Some Additional Inspiration
More Sample Boards - For a Casual Country Look
For a More Urban(e) Look...
Or a Casual Elegance...
Visit Restoration Fabrics & Trims - For 100s More Inspiration Fabrics
Specialists in Period Sensitive Decorating at Budget Sensitive Prices
Like Interior Decorating Tips and/or Old Houses? - Want to See More Coordinating Fabric Boards?
Subscribe to Our Blog
We're So Glad You Stopped By!
Make Your Own Squidoo Lens
It's FREE and a lot of fun!
You do not need to be a member of Squidoo to visit our lenses or leave comments, but if you'd like to make your own lens, have more "voting" rights, and earn some extra cash for yourself or your favorite charity, I invite you to join our community!
Special thanks to Steve for the Squid Art used in this module.
All fabric photos and collages were created by Restoration Fabrics & Trims (that's us!)
© All Text and photos not otherwise credited are © 2011-2012 CJS
Restoration Fabrics & Trims LLC/Old House Interiors. All rights reserved.
For information about copyright issues, please click here.
Last updated on April 29, 2014
You can help the HubPages community highlight top quality content by ranking this article up or down.