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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Decorating With Fabrics

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Soft furnishings can take your interiors to new levels, adding instant color and style. They not only transform the look of a room, but fabrics can also provide extra insulation and help reduce noise travel in the home.

Fabrics come in all different colors and patterns, and can be introduced into the home through sofas, cushions, throws, table runners, curtains, and ottomans. While it’s great to have options, the variety can make purchasing fabrics for your home a daunting task.

We’ve rounded up the three most common mistakes people make when selecting their home’s fabrics, along with advice on color, texture, style, pattern, and durability, to help you get a few steps closer to creating the interiors of your dreams.

Using Too Many Colors and Prints

Colors establish a room’s mood and help to create a sense of harmony and flow throughout the entire home. However, nailing the balance between different tones and patterns can be difficult so it’s important to first understand the basic color principles to help you mix and match with precision. Too many colors and patterns can make for an overwhelming environment that’s impossible to relax in.

While there are no set rules when it comes to colors and prints, these are a few guidelines that you might find helpful when starting out:

  1. A safe yet effective way to ensure your fabric choices work together is to opt for varying prints in similar shades. To prevent the room from looking overcrowded, ensure you include soft furnishing that are kept clean of busy designs. Plain colors will allow patterned pieces to sing.
  2. Another approach is to focus on a color and splash it around the one space. Create contrast with assorted prints and fabric textures, but refrain from going overboard. You can always add in accent pillows or colored vases at a later stage.
  3. Abiding by either a warm or cool palette can be a helpful guideline when considering your colors. If you want to make a space appear larger, go for hues that harmonize with your walls. For example, if your walls are white, stick to neutral tones for your textiles. That doesn’t mean it has to be a minimalist palette — you can add points of interest through pattern and texture.
  4. Choosing colors that complement your surrounding decor will create balance and will ensure your fabric won’t be the center of attention. Alternatively, you can choose to highlight a furniture piece by using a vibrant or playful print. It’s all about understanding how to create balance within your space. 
  5. Texture will add depth to a room and elevate it to new levels. If you’re looking to give your home a luxe update, opt for fine materials such as silks and leathers. Patterns are a clever way to inject character into your home, but always consider the scale of your room and its objects. Larger patterns are better suited to larger furniture pieces, while smaller prints usually work more effectively on smaller objects.

Choosing Unrealistic Fabrics

When choosing your fabrics, always keep your lifestyle in mind. While you may have your heart set on an all-white color scheme, it may not be the best option if you have pets and little ones in the house. Decorative style fabrics may require specific care, so unless you’re willing to spend the extra time (and money) on your fabrics, it’s probably not worth investing in them.

For high-traffic rooms, look for harder-working, durable fabrics that will stand the test of time and continue to impress. Reserve specialty fabrics for less-frequented areas, such a study or den. Leather is a timeless style statement that can often endure daily wear and tear, however it’s important to talk to the experts about finding the right style to cater for your needs. Some high-gloss leathers may require more upkeep than you’re willing to maintain.

With today’s options and technology, there is usually a quality that can give people the look they are after but also suit the application. Fitting seamlessly within all aesthetic styles — sleek, minimalist, traditional — the leather look is now available in all colors and finishes. With a natural veneer, the leather look is easy to mix and match with other materials: Think linen throws, velvet cushions, and soft-touch weaves.

There are many refined fabrics that have been engineered to withstand liquid staining, pilling, and mold. Designed to be easy to clean and yet still sophisticated in appearance and texture, they can make a great compromise and save you hardship in the long term. Always be sure to ask about a fabric’s durability before making your selection. Remember, good design is all about hidden functionality.

3. Not Testing Your Options

The easiest way to see if a fabric is right for your home and lifestyle is by using swatches. Take swatches home and lay them against one another to work out if your scheme will work with your chosen interior. Test the fabrics in different lighting (in sunlight, with lamps, under your ceiling lights) as you may be surprised by how your color and texture changes in different light exposure.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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