Under Cover 05/08
The world of decorator fabrics is bursting at the seams with options for your decorating needs. Silks, linens, chintzes, brocades, leather and micro-fibers are just a few of the fabrics available. “Fabric is the ready-to-wear of the home furnishings industry,” says Heather Ryan of Pierre Deux. “It provides color, texture, comfort and style, and can easily and affordably transition with your taste or trends.”
“Fabrics can be used to create a focal point or show your personal style,” says Dama Sayh with Calico Corners. Learning which type is appropriate for your particular application is an important step in making the right choice. “Always consider your lifestyle first,” Sayh says. If you’re covering a chair for the formal dining room, silks and other fine fabrics are tasteful options. However, a sofa that’s home to your kids and pets requires fabric that is durable and washable.
Once you’ve determined the function, think about what styles you prefer. “Pull pictures from home design catalogs and magazines,” Ryan suggests, “then visit a store or showroom where you can peruse fabric selections and obtain swatches.” The array of fabric choices can be daunting, so don’t be afraid to consult a designer or decorator who can edit the selections to what works for your home and budget.
“According to design experts, printed linens are becoming a leading choice in home fashion. With formal looks becoming less popular, linens are a natural choice for homeowners who seek both style and comfort.
Of course, the classics are always trendy. “We continue to use silks or polyester silks in the home,” Sayh says. “Silk adds a touch of class but can be used just as easily in more casual rooms.”
“Another trend that just keeps going is the use of the color chocolate,” Sayh continues. “It is a great neutral palette and is most often paired with aquas and blues, but works just as well paired with classic colors like reds, terra cottas or greens.”
“The best thing you can do is to trust your personal style,” Sayh advises. “Trends will come and go, so it is important to know what you love and stick with that.”
Silks, chintzes and fine cottons work well in formal environments free from the risk of stains or rough wear. Otherwise, they are great choices for window treatments, bedding and pillows. Many of these decorator fabrics are dry clean only, so when making bedding or pillows, it’s a good idea to wash the fabric prior to construction. Check with the manufacturer before taking this step. Buffalo check, dupioni and taffeta are just a few of the silks available from which to choose.
For window treatments, silk is still the most popular choice. “Lighter-weight fabrics like cotton prints also win out because, like silks, they have a desirable hand and drapability, making your drapery look its best,” Sayh says. “When it comes to drapery, the biggest consideration is making sure the style of window treatment you select matches the fabric pattern.”
In addition to silks and lightweight cotton, faux silks are a new choice on the market. They are less costly than the real version but can be just as lovely.
“The majority of people are looking for a durable fabric when it comes to upholstery,” Sayh says. “Often a blend of synthetic fibers makes for a stronger fabric overall and would be a good choice for homes with children and pets. Be sure to read the labels when available, and try to select fabrics that have a stain-resistant treatment.”
Chenille and material woven with texture are other durable upholstery choices. The pile and texture of these fabrics hide a multitude of sins while allowing for elegance.
Other options for furniture are faux leather and microfibers. A damp sponge and soapy water may be all you need to clean them.
“Also this season, we tend to feature more tapestry style wovens,” Ryan says. Most woven fabric is durable and typically responds well to cleaning sprays.
Textured woven cottons and blends are prized for their simplicity and understated elegance in a contemporary or transitional home. Woven jacquards and brocades are still as popular as ever in the classically styled home.
The choices available in decorator fabrics are practically limitless for today’s homeowner. “Invest in seasonal changes in bedding, table linens, window treatments and slip covers,” Ryan suggests. “It’s a great way to give your home a fresh look and mentally anticipate the coming season.”
As Sayh says: “Fabric is the finishing touch that brings your room and, more importantly, your home together.”