Interior Design Calgary: Choosing The Perfect Fabric

One of the things I like best about what I do is that I get to help my clients really pop the personality in their home.  You've seen it on TV: the designer comes in, sweeps a hand across and poof! suddenly there's gorgeous toss pillows and curtains and accessories and a simple paint color change and a new rug and BOOM!!  It looks like a brand new, perfect place!

Well, sweeping of the hand aside, it is reasonably easy to add those touches into your home yourself if you have an eye for color.  Let's just talk about fabrics.  The key on bringing in the right fabrics is two-fold:

  1. Be Fearless
  2. Pull from what you already see

Ok Amy, How Do I Do That?

I'm sure you're thinking, well that sounds easy but where do I start?  Take a look around the room you are working on.  Is there one or two colors that pop out to you as distinctly different from the rest?  If your home is beige-on-brown-on-tan-on-darker-brown, as was the trend not so long ago, and there are no pops of color in your home, do not be disheartened!  You have the most perfect palate to work with!

Breaking It Down...

Ok, back to the key points I noted earlier. 

#1 - Be Fearless-  When approaching your home, one of the biggest benefits a designer has is that they have an open, un-invested eye to your space.  Meaning: they can look at the space and see past what you see - the place where you keep the remotes, hide the plates, tuck an extra blanket or nap on your sofa.  What designers are looking at is the overall space, the contents, the feel, and the light.  So when you are practicing fearlessness, walk into your space as if it isn't your home and see it without the filter of 'this is my napping/playing/hanging out place'.

Now, with that filter removed, you can really see what's going on and where there may be spaces crying out for a little touch.  Look at the windows - do they only have blinds?  How about your table - do you only use a tablecloth for fancy parties?  At the floor - could you add an element of color or pattern there tobring everything around it together and make the space come alive?

#2 - Pull From What You Already See - Now that you've had a bold, fearless, unfiltered look at your space, what stands out?  Is there a bit of fuchsia running through an accent pillow that tickles your eye?  A fresh green plant that is asking for a color companion?  Perhaps you notice that the light is really cool (as in cold) and you want to add some warmth.

Fabric Frenzy!

So you've taken notes on what you see and where you may be able to add a little oomph (official design terminology).  Next step, take that info and head down to your nearest fabric store or supplier who sells to the public.  Here is where it gets tricky.  Look for colors, patterns and textures that jump out at you.  Not in the AH!  Scary!! kind of way but in the, oh! Hm!  Pull out anything that grabs your eye in that pleasing way and create a pile.  Then filter through based on your gut instinct.  When you've narrowed the heap down to a handful of fabrics that you really love, sign them out and take them home.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!

You need to see the fabrics in your home in order to see how they react in your space.  The light is very different from one space to another and a color that may be a perfect green in the store is suddenly a weird garish gray when you bring it in your home.  And remember, your fabric selection DOES NOT NEED TO MATCH your home!  In fact, it shouldn't!  Design staples such as a hit of black can really make a pattern look amazing even if there is no black in your room.  And a touch of white can really brighten up a space.


Ok, you've selected your favorite one or two fabrics, and you're ready to roll forward.  Use those fabrics as toss pillows, valances, drapery, backsplashes (yup!), a runner on a dining table, custom-made place mats, custom bedding, re-upholster a chair or just the seat, wrap candle holders in it - get creative!  Also, if you don't sew or own a sewing machine, best to have a professional make those tricky things for you.  Fabric suppliers often have in-house fabrication services or can send you to a great seamstress/upholsterer.

And lastly, if you've chosen two great patterns, obviously you want them to work together but add a solid color or two to help them stand up and stand out.

Want To Know More?

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