How to Select Timeless, Durable & Unique Fabrics for Your Living Spaces

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Wow, can y’all believe it’s August already? Summer is zooming right on by. I even went back-to-school shopping with my babies last week. Didn’t they just get out?? 

Fortunately, this summer has felt closer to what is typical, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I hope y’all are also enjoying good times and making special memories with the people you love most. After the year we’ve had, we all deserve it.

One of the reasons I love design is that it creates the backdrop for those beautiful moments. It adds your personality into the room. Evokes emotion and meaning. Brings the family together. (For the last four or five years, it seems what we do most is remove walls. I will never tire of the dramatic change it can create.)

Other than opening up a space, my favorite way to bring personality into your home is through fabric and accessories. For me, that’s upholstery and pillows in unique patterns, chinoiserie and hydrangeas (bet you could have guessed that), and a rug with a splash of color… 

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Case in point: I recently created this classic yet fun rug and fabric pairing for the most difficult client — ME. Y’all can laugh. I can make a decision on anyone’s interior the first time I am in the space, but not in my own home. (Designer struggles are real.)

Have you ever selected fabrics for your own furnishings before? Do you know what to look for? Have you noticed the latest shift toward happiness and color in our surroundings? Maybe you’re feeling inspired to freshen up your space? (Especially as we are coming out of a gray trend and the pandemic.) 

Me, too. Today, I want to help you understand what you can do with fabrics and give you several ideas for using stunning fabrics to create a home you love. Come take a look…

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I stumbled across this perfectly appointed vignette in one of my favorite stops at High Point Market: the Thibaut showroom. It’s absolutely bursting with color and pattern that are always spot on. When our quarterly fabric updates from Thibaut arrive in the office, we are like kids at Christmas opening our presents! 

How does fabric play a role in your home?

Fabrics, like the Thibaut bench, ottomans, and sofa above, are most famous for their visual role in a design. They can add color, pattern, softness, and comfort to a room and can make a space feel classic and personal at the same time. 

Fabrics also help your home last. Great fabrics can keep your pieces in better shape over time, and some fabrics can even resist staining, which means daily peace of mind. How would your day-to-day life change if you didn’t have to worry about the wear and tear of kids or grandbabies? You can just relax and live.

Where can you use great fabrics?

  • Upholstery: sofas, chairs, ottomans, benches
  • Window treatments: drapery, roman shades
  • Headboards, bedding, and custom pillows in all shapes and sizes
superior-construction-lebanon-tn-select-durable-fabrics-muted-navy-accent-chair-asian-tile-pattern-chair

Which do you like best? A muted navy with patterned pillow accent or this Asian toile pattern for the chair itself?

Designer Terms to Know when Talking about Fabric

Yes, fabric has its own set of vocabulary. Whether you’re working with us or shopping on your own, here are some terms you’re likely to hear:

  • Fabric Memos: This is what we call fabric samples in the industry. When we make selections for clients’ homes, we always have these on hand so you can feel them, too. Which brings us to…
  • Weight/Hand: The “hand” of a fabric is how the quality is described and the value is perceived by touching the fabric. If I touch a fabric, and I can tell that it feels high quality, I would say “it has a great hand.” (Now y’all can say it, too.)
  • Rub: A fabric’s “rub,” or rub count, is determined by a machine passing over the fabric again and again until it wears through. That amount of passes is described as the rub count. This tells us how long a fabric is likely to last and also gives us a tangible number we can use to compare two similar fabrics. We prefer a rub count over 25K for high-use pieces, like sofas and chairs. For window treatments that don’t get a lot of wear and tear, a rub count over 15K is good.
  • Performance: “Performance” is a term used in the furnishings industry to describe a fabric that is able to withstand wear and tear and resist staining or abrasion over time. Examples of performance fabric providers include Revolution, Crypton, and InsideOut. These are also perfect for those pieces that get a lot of love.
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Pairing multiple patterns in a space is all about balancing their scale (small, medium, and large) and overall color palette with the composition of the room. For most people, it’s not easy to do on the first try.

Fabric Brands We Love

I know a designer isn’t supposed to give away her secrets, but I think we’re all made better by the great company we keep. Our favorite fabric vendors include Magnolia, Thibaut, Revolution, Greenhouse, and Fabricut

I trust all of these brands to take care of our clients during our work together and long after. They’re second to NONE.

Fabric Inspiration for Timeless Yet Personalized Living Spaces

Y’all have already seen some inspiration so far, but I can’t resist sharing some more of my High Point Market finds with you. Here’s what else you can do with fabric…

superior-construction-lebanon-tn-select-durable-fabrics-uphostered-chairs-with-exposed-frames-traditional-updates

Here are two very different chairs with upholstery and exposed frames. Traditional style with a fresh update. 

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Upholstered benches are beautiful and functional. You can use them as seating in an entryway or bedroom, or add a tray and call it a coffee table.

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Ottomans come in various shapes, sizes and styles. Small patterns and big. Exposed frames or hidden. Tall or squat.

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Y’all know I love pillows. The picture in the middle is from Eastern Accents, our newest bedding line. The designer, Alexa Hampton (daughter of prestigious designer Mark Hampton), is my design crush! If you are not in the design world and don’t know her, go follow her now. You’re welcome.

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Bold, vibrant color in emerald and navy. Can you guess which one is my favorite?

I’m going to wrap this post up here, but I hope these ideas have inspired you to really explore the colors, styles, fabrics, and materials that bring YOU health, comfort, and joy at home. Answering that question for yourself, and then putting those findings to work for you, really can help you live and feel your best every day. 

Do y’all have a favorite from this list? I’d love to hear it! 

P.S. If you’re curious about understanding what’s under the fabric, check out my recent thoughts on What to Look For in Quality Sofas & Chairs. It’s a good one.

xoxo,
E

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