Find things you love and build around them. Designers will be the first to tell you that they’d rather not start from scratch. Their best work is a combination of what you love and what they know. – Karol DeWulf Nickell, Signature Style: Creating Beautiful Interiors
Decorating a room requires falling head over heels in love with one stunning textile. That one textile is the catapult for the remainder of the design.
More often than not, that incredibly beautiful fabric will come with an amazing price tag. Fear not – remember that it’s just one fabulous fabric and, when mixed judiciously with moderately priced fabrics, it elevates all the players in the room.
When it comes to mixing, most homeowners are comfortable with pairing a pattern with a solid. Beyond that, the thought of adding more strikes to the heart of design cowardice, and that is where so-so and polished part ways.
This inspiration fabric should have at least three colors, which can be blended with two or more additional fabrics. Vary the fabrics with contrast, texture, scale, sheen and pattern.
- Contrast: Overall color of one fabric should be light, with one medium and one darker.
- Texture: Choose fabrics with different textures, such as a smooth silk, a woven linen or velvet.
- 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 paisley, a medium stripe in coordinating colors and a small embroidered pattern or a solid texture.
- Sheen: Mix shiny and matte fabrics.
- Pattern: Mix curvy and linear patterns, such as a floral or a toile and a check or plaid, with a third pattern, such as a small overall print or solid color.
Experiment with different fabric samples until you find a grouping that feels comfortable then decide where they will be used. Spread the fabrics around the room to create balance. For example, if you use your inspiration fabric for draperies in your bedroom, you might use the same fabric for a couple of throw pillows, shams or a headboard. The second fabric could be used as a duvet cover and for window shades and to upholster one chair. Your third fabric might be a luxurious solid linen that can trim the window treatments, make shams or throw pillows for the bed and cover a bench at the foot of the bed.
Don’t forget that your walls and floor coverings are additional areas for color, pattern and scale. Consider those elements, as well as the style and scale of your furniture, when planning a room.