I have heard designers say that every beautiful room needs to start with a rug. I have read advice in decorating magazines stating that a palette is the beginning. I disagree with both schools of thought.
I believe that the first item that the foundation should be is the one that sets the mood, evokes the strongest emotion, and says the most about the room. The first layer is a textile that takes your breath away.
It is far easier to plan a color around a beloved fabric than to search through acres and acres of fabric books for a textile that will work with an arbitrary color.
More often than not, that incredibly beautiful fabric that has stolen your heart will come packaged with a breathtaking price tag. Fear not. Remember that is 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 quite comfortable with pairing a pattern with a solid. Beyond that, the thought of adding more strikes the heart of design cowardice, and that is where an average room and an amazing room 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.
Leave your fear behind and experiment with different fabric samples until you find a combination that feels comfortable with the balance of color, scale and pattern. Once identified, move ahead bravely with a plan of where they will be used. Spread the fabrics around the room 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 even on an upholstered 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 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 the second chair.
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 your perfectly layered room.