Mixing Fabrics …Both Pattern and Texture

“There are no hard, fast rules to mixing fabrics.”

Home decorating is a very individual matter. One set of rules can’t apply to everyone. Especially when comes to choosing from all the fabulous fabrics on the market.

However…there are “guidelines” that make things progress more smoothly. Two in particular make mixing fabrics easier to accomplish…scale and balance.

For a room to be visually and emotionally appealing,
it needs a variation in pattern size and placement.

Decorator Tip

Before selecting your fabrics, take into consideration the size of the room.

Keep in mind cool colors (blue, green and purple) recede, making a room seem larger. Warm colors (red, yellow and orange) advance, giving the feeling the room is smaller.

Three of four large patterns in a room will be overwhelming and distracting. You won’t know where to look and the room may feel like it is closing in on you, particularly if it’s a small room.

Use too many small patterns in a large room and they all loose their significance…and you could become dizzy!

Varying the size, or scale, of your patterns is an easy way to achieve an appealing décor. Think large, medium and small.

Decorators can easily combine several correlate floral patterns with stripes, plaids, checks mini-prints and solids. The result is a pleasing mix of five or six different patterns. This takes a little practice.

For our illustration, three patterns and a solid will be selected. You’re
re-decorating a large family room. All the furniture in the room is to be replaced. You are custom ordering a sofa, a chair and ottoman, a recliner, a bench with an upholstered seat… and having window treatments made.

This means you need to select fabric for all these items.

Don’t think this has to be accomplished in one trip!

Buying upholstered furniture is too big an investment to rush through. Think of all the time you spend in your home. In all likelihood, you will be living with these pieces for many years.

Mixing fabrics may take a little longer than buying off the floor. Make sure you allow the time to make a decision you are excited about.

Even if you think you know what you want, it’s unlikely you’ll make quick decisions when you are surrounded by dozens of fantastic fabrics.

Let’s assume when you selected the pieces of furniture, you found your “must have” fabric…your inspiration piece. It’s a large scale floral in warm, slightly muted colors.

With your inspiration fabric in hand, pull fabrics you feel will work well with it. Include stripes, plaids, checks, mini-prints and solids.
Remember to vary the size of the prints.

Keep an open mind. Even if you think you don’t like plaids, pull a few to see how they blend with the floral. Select a few colors you usually don’t consider.

When you have finished making your selections, walk away for a while. When you return, eliminate the fabrics that don’t reach out to you. You will soon find several fabrics that you continually return to. These fabrics make you feel good. You know you want them in your home.

Before deciding which piece of furniture to put each fabric on, take a final look. When mixing fabric patterns ask…

  • do they vary in pattern scale?
  • are the textures compatible?
  • do the colors work well together?
  • do you love the fabrics together?

You decide to put the floral on the over-stuffed sofa. You have chosen a medium-size check to upholster the chair and ottoman and soft leather for the recliner.

The final fabric you have chosen is a small print. (Decorators refer to these as “mini” or “ditzy” prints.) This fabric will be perfect for the floor length, tab-top curtains you have decided to use on the four windows.

When mixing fabric patterns, you need to have balance. One way to insure balance is to spread the fabrics around the room. Make several throw pillows of the floral and put them on the check chair. Several check pillows will look at home on the sofa. The small print can cover the bench seat and make large floor pillows. Balance will further be enhanced if the fabrics are similar in weight and formality.

The fabrics now draw your eye around the room.

Remember…when mixing fabrics think large, medium and small patterns.

Use each fabric in more than one place.

With a little practice, you will be mixing fabrics without even thinking about it.

Some furniture stores offer a free design consultation if you are purchasing several items from them. The design consultant will ask questions that will help her select fabrics that will work with your color scheme and be appropriate for the function of the room. You can make your final selections from the fabrics she has chosen. It’s a great way to accomplish your goal without a lot spending a lot of time and effort chasing down fabrics.

Measuring Windows for Blinds… an Easy Guide

Mistakes in measuring windows for blinds will be greatly reduce if you make it a habit to always follow a few basic steps.

  • Use a 1″ wide, 25 foot steel retractable tape
  • Measure in inches (to the nearest 1/8″) from left to right
  • Always measure width first, then length.
  • Measure each window separately.
  • Measure each window horizontally in three places (top, center & bottom). Record the smallest measurement.
  • Measure each window in two places vertically (2″ from left & right edges. Record the smallest measurement.

There are two ways to mount blinds – inside mount or outside mount. Inside mounted blinds are installed inside the window casing (bet you guessed that!). The minimum depth required will depend on the product you’re installing and the headrail. Information on measuring windows for a specific type of blind is usually included on a manufacturer’s website or in the product and installation guide. Outside mount blinds will mount on the casing, covering more area than the actual glass portion of the window. Simply decide how much of the casing you want to cover. If the casing isn’t flat, it will depend on where you can mount the bracket.

It is a fact of life that regardless of the age of a house or quality of the construction, windows are seldom square and will vary slightly in measurements. That is why, if you are measuring windows for inside mounted blinds, it is critical to measure in 3 places…and record the smallest measurement. If you were installing wood blinds and used the widest measurement, your blind would lower to were the window frame narrowed…and stop! It can be difficult to return a custom order blind because you made a measuring mistake. So remember what my father-in-law always says, “Measure twice, cut once”. Okay, in this case you’re not doing the cutting, but you get the idea. A little extra time spent in measuring the windows will save a lot of hassle down the line.

Measuring windows for blinds isn’t difficult. If you are measuring for a number of windows it just takes a little time and patience. Be sure to number each room and window measurement if you have multiple window sizes.

The guide below is for measuring inside mounted blinds.

Window Treatments… the Cover Story

There are a mind-numbing number of window treatments on the market today.

You may hear them referred to as hard and soft treatments.

The hard treatments (the shutters, horizontal and vertical blinds) usually satisfy the practical functions.

Those functions remain much as they were years ago, to provide light control, privacy, energy efficiency and ventilation. Think carefully about the practical functions your window coverings must provide.

Before making you decision, survey the room where you are installing them.

There is more to consider than just size, color and cost.

  • Consider how the light affects the room at different times of the day.
  • What direction are the windows facing?
  • Is there a fantastic view you don’t want to shut out?
  • Is too much sunlight hitting the big screen TV?
  • Is your new sofa or carpet going to end up faded?
  • Are all the windows in the room the same size?
  • What is the style you envision for the room?

And this is just for starters!

The Hunter Douglas Company website has a fantastic in-depth section on all the functional considerations of window treatments.

Technology has greatly advanced the window treatment industry.

The word “blinds” no longer conjures up images of your grandmother’s metal, finger-slicing Venetian blinds.

Blinds are now being created in a myriad of finishes, materials and slat sizes. Wood has surpassed metal and vinyl as a favorite. The industry has even created a faux-wood for use in high humidity areas!

Of course there are the wonderfully energy-efficient “honeycomb” blinds and elegant sheer fabric-vane shades.

A word of caution. There are blinds from hundreds of manufacturers on the market. If you are making a large investment, make sure you have asked about the warranty. It’s nice to know you can resolve a problem should one arise.

Need help measuring for blinds? Here it is!

Draperies, shades and top treatments are the soft, decorative coverings.

These are the treatments that will make a decorator’s heart beat faster! Most decorators love designing decorative treatments.

We think of the decorative treatment as the frosting on a cake. Without the frosting, it’s just a couple layers of cake sitting on the counter. Add the frosting (or in this case, the window treatment) and it pulls everything together and gives it a finished look.