Fashioned from Fabric

by Nancy Bollefer

I’m often approached by individuals seeking decorating advice. Initially, they feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices in the marketplace and are perplexed as to how to commence their endeavours.

Whether you are moving into a new home or renovating an existing space, one of the best methods you can pursue is to work with fabrics. If you are fortunate enough to have learned even the most basic of sewing skills, you’ll be able to undertake many projects on your own, should you decide to invest some personal time. Alternatively, outsourcing projects may be the avenue you choose, if you lack the time or skills.

So, what is it about fabrics, textiles or just plain cloth, as it is sometimes called, that is the jumping off point to good design? Fabrics introduce pattern and dimension, whether it is through a printed piece of material, embellished with a large-scale floral design or simply a Shantung silk which refracts light giving way to many tonal variations of one hue. Let’s say you fall in love with a multi-coloured paisley. This print would have been developed by a textile designer who fully understands how to marry colours which co-exist harmoniously. And, often a colourway will embody a dozen or so colours. If you gravitate towards a particular print, you’ve narrowed your design decision to a point where you can start building out your story, your style, your vision, that is. Search for materials which complement each other; pillows, throws, and of course, draperies. Play with scale, from large to small. Consider combining different fabrics, such as linen, silk, wool or velvet and don’t forget to combine textures. You’ll soon discover you have selected fabrics which will ultimately dress your home in a style which suits you, similar to how you may select an outfit from your wardrobe.

Now the process of selecting a paint colour becomes enjoyable, especially if you have incorporated a patterned design, such as a brocade or damask into your mix. Simply select a colour from the pattern for your walls and you’ll be sure to end up with a cohesive aesthetic. Keep in mind how you prefer to feel in a space. Perhaps you need bold, energizing stimulating colour and if so, pull out one of the more dominant colours from your fabric choices, such as a fiery red. Or, if you find the pattern selected offers enough appeal in itself, opt for a more subtle hue, such as a creamy white or a lighter weight tone.

Note the use of multiple fabrics in this bedroom. We are viewing a collection of nine materials, from the sheer draperies to the linen lampshade, to the chocolate herringbone blanket, anchoring the room. This bedroom bridges the gap between masculine and feminine design. And, the focal wall is punctuated with Behr’s Espresso Beans, a dramatic hit of colour, inspired by the statement headboard. If you desire a less monochromatic feel, try Behr Forever Denim paint to reinterpret the space.

in gold, the walls are adorned with Gold Plated paint by Behr.

This is a great study in contrasts, illustrated by the cream chairs, juxtaposed with the ebony armoire, flooring and chest of drawers. It’s the stunning pleated, floor length panel draperies, which set the tone. Just try to imagine how different this office would appear without the draperies and the shot of colour, drawn onto the ceiling in Behr Pale Cucumber paint for drama.

This printed duvet cover provides clear direction for the colour palette; red, red and more red, tempered by white. This room is so simple, yet so interesting, mostly because of the graphic print which sets the adorable tone along with the reminder to “Live, LOVE and CHEER” embroidered on the pillow!

In addition to making an announcement through bold colour in the form of bedding; layering, dimension and texture is paramount here. The wall colour, Behr Sweet Molasses is pulled from the trim detail on the bed skirt. It reads as a neutral, toning down the daring combination of bedding hues.

Spaces become visually interesting with the addition of layers, such as a series of pillows adorning a bed. Fabrics also absorb sound. Velvet, for example, a luxurious fabric, has a longer pile which contributes to improved sound quality. And, the changing seasons are a perfect excuse

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to switch up bedding, pillows and even side drapes. With the advent of fall in just a couple of days, think of replacing lighter weight fabrics such as linens to perhaps a cut-velvet to embrace the cooler season when we spend more time indoors.

Colourfully yours,




3 responses to “Fashioned from Fabric”

  1. Greg Szott says:

    Like the blog. Content is forward professional and very helpful.

  2. Wolf says:

    I would like to congratulate Nancy on her skill, of bring her extensive product knowledge to the forfront in this article which allows others to make a more informed decision in their projects.

    Way to go Nancy.

  3. That midnight blue (Observatory) is my current obsession! Thanks for sharing, Nancy – and congrats on the gorgeous blog!

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