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Thursday 7 April 2016

Fabric Play in Interiors

Did you know that many folks appoint a designer to do up the civil/electrical/woodwork etc. aspects of their home but decide to carry out the ‘trivial’ chores of upholstering and fabric selection themselves. They often end up with very mediocre looking spaces, despite having employed the services of a designer!
People stress about the floor coverings, wall textures but seldom pay attention to the selection of fabrics.

This happens pretty frequently because many of us do not know/ realize or lay sufficient emphasis on the right selection of FABRICS for the upholstery of sofas, cushions, drapes or curtains, table-cloths, napkins, bed-covers, throws, towels, shower curtains etc.

Fabrics play a vital role in home interiors. Fabric selection includes material (i.e Linen, acrylic, silk etc), the color scheme and print/pattern.

Why Fabric Selection is important for your Home Interiors?

1) You can use fabrics to convert an average looking room to dazzling proportions.
2) The right selection of fabric, material, color and pattern can make or break the interiors of a home, I am not joking, seriously true!
3) The right fabric can make a small space look roomier and vice-versa.
4) Changing Fabrics at your home, for instance re-upholstering the sofa, curtains, sheets or just simply adding fresh cushions or throws is one of the cheapest and fastest ways of giving your home a makeover!
5) Remember too that, once you select a particular material of fabric, a particular fanciful print or color, you've got to live looking at it day-in-day-out till your next don't be over-impulsive while selecting.

Think about this: the plush feel of  Velvet, the richness of Jacquard , the sophistication of Silk, the rugged feel of Corduroy, the seductive feel of Satin, the earthiness of Jute and Linen, the bounce of fluffy Turkish Terry Towels….ahh so many kinds of fabrics evoke so many kinds of moods and feel!
Read the A to Z about the kinds of Fabrics available HERE

Just as diverse as the types of materials are the colors and patterns available in fabrics.

How does one decide what fabrics to select?

I always say consider Functionality and Aesthetics and of course the Big B – Budget.

Functionality Factors to consider before choosing Fabrics for your home:

Consider the area where the fabric is to be used.
1) What is the purpose of the room? 
2) Is it an informal or a formal area?
3) Is it a high traffic one?
4) Is the room hot or cool? Is the room exposed to direct sunlight?
5) Do you have toddlers or pets?

Once these questions are answered, you will have a fair idea of what you are looking for be it upholstery fabric or drapery ones! 

For instance, consider a Living cum Entertainment room for the Smith couple with a toddler, they entertain in style every weekend, the room gets hot during evenings as it is West-facing. And yes, they are hung-up on the Budget! 
What fabric should they opt for their three-seater sofa?

  • Leather /Rexine or faux-leather is ideal for oft used surfaces but ruled out because of the tendency of the room to heat up.
  • Cotton is highly breathable and comfortable, but tends to get soiled and crumpled very easily – remember toddlers are super-messy!
  • Velvet or Silk are lovely but too expensive and high on maintenance.
  • Acrylic/Synthetic fabrics would be the best bet here. Acrylic fabrics are readily available with many options in colors, prints, easy to maintain, crease free, and also with stain-guard options, plus they fit well into the budget. However to make up for the oomph factor, I suggest they use silk/velvet cushions! 
  • And if they are getting new drapes, it would make sense to use good light-blocking and light-fast material for backing material and to jazz up the style quotient use pretty gauzy material (chintz/muslin/synthetic) for the sheer /day curtains. 

Once the material is decided, you’ve got to decide on the colors and patterns.
Here is where your Aesthetics and Creativity come into play.
Don’t worry about mixing different materials/textures and patterns. In fact most designers do just that for a sophisticated and off-beat look. 
Fabrics are available in multitudinous colors and hues and an equally mind-boggling array of prints/patterns: Plain, Self Design, Floral, Stripes, Geometric, Abstract, Classic prints etc
But you cannot go overboard with the mixing either!

How to select fabric colors and patterns?
1) The current trend is to select fabrics of your choice first and build the theme of the entire room based on that, including color scheme.

2) If you want to try multiple patterns, vary the style and material. Eg. For an upholstered sofa, the back cushions could go floral or geometric in Velvet or Suede while the seat and armrest could remain plain in Chenille. A plain or self design pattern in neutral tones sofa would do well against bright floral themed curtains. 

For the Children's rooms don't go overboard with cartoon prints or the typical pink-blue colors.
Try florals, stripes or geometric prints instead. Color-wise try different hues like a turquoise or navy for boys and a mauve or peach for the girl.

For the girls' room - Image credit

Boys room - Image credit

3) While choosing colors, understand what combinations work if you don't have a natural knack for it.  
You could select a Monochromatic color scheme with a range of hues of the same color.

or you could go for Complementary colors that are opposite or near opposites on the color wheel. Eg Purple and Yellow, Blue and Orange would go well together. 

Read more on colors and how they work HERE.

4) For small spaces avoid large patterns as they will make the room look small.

5) If you are wary of experimenting with new colors and bold patterns on an entire area, invest in Throw blankets, cushions, table cloths, shower curtains etc. with patterns of your choice.

 Coordinated cushions and upholstery

6) Fabrics with vertical stripes can make the ceiling look higher while those with horizontal stripes can make a narrow space look wider.

I do hope I helped you to understand the importance of Fabrics in home decor.
So what are you waiting for, go get moving with the makeover you always wanted and enjoy playing with Fabrics!

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