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How to Coordinate Fabrics for a Designer Look

How to Coordinate Fabrics for a Designer Look

Have you ever wandered through the bedding and window treatment departments at your local home store and felt completely overwhelmed?  Don’t be tempted to buy a “Room-in-a-Bag” set to complete your home decorating project.  You can get a custom, designer look by coordinating several fabric patterns yourself.

A "Statement Fabric" with a Large Pattern Repeat

To help you limit your fabric choices, plan to select just three fabrics to incorporate into your space.  If you try to bring too many fabrics into the room, it may end up looking chaotic instead of cohesive.  As you gain confidence in your decorating abilities, you will find that adding a few more patterns to a space can be done gracefully.

Once you have the room’s color scheme in mind, you are ready to shop for fabric.  For the first fabric you select, look for a large-scale pattern such as a large floral, plaid or other statement fabric.  This is the fabric that will make the most impact in the space, and the one that often drives the color scheme and the feel of the space.  Often, a statement fabric will have a pattern repeat of 9”-27”; this information is available from the fabric manufacturer, but you can also measure the pattern repeat.

Your second fabric selection will be determined by the statement fabric you have chosen.  For this selection, look for a pattern with a smaller scale than the statement fabric.  You will want to choose a piece with a medium scale; the fabric pattern should be smaller than the statement fabric you chose, but not a solid and not a tiny print.  Also important to note is the color of the fabric.  The second fabric should incorporate at least one of the colors found in the statement fabric.

A Secondary Fabric, with a Medium Pattern Repeat. The Geometric Pattern Contrasts with the Floral Statement Fabric

For the final fabric in the room, you can select either a solid fabric or a small-scale pattern.  This fabric should also contain at least one of the colors of the statement fabric, and should also contrast with the second fabric you selected.  It could be a pin dot pattern, small check or narrow stripe.  When blending fabric patterns in a room, the key is that all the fabrics complement one another, and that they don’t compete with each other and fight for attention in the space.

In addition to varying the scale of the fabric patterns, you also want to consider the type of pattern on each fabric.  For example, if your statement fabric is floral, you may want to bring in at least one geometric print or stripe as a second or third fabric.  The straight lines of the stripe or geometric fabric will contrast nicely with the curved, organic forms found in the floral fabric.

As an example, here is one way to blend the fabrics in a room.  If I find a large floral print fabric to create a statement in my room, I would consider a medium-scaled stripe and a small-scale checked pattern to coordinate with the floral.  Perhaps the stripe picks up the brick and gold tones in the floral pattern, while the checked pattern contains gold and olive hues also found in the statement fabric.

A Solid Texture, Which Accents a Color From Both the Statement & Secondary Fabrics

Or, perhaps you found a lovely plaid as a statement fabric.  In this case, I would look for a mid-scaled organic print, such as a vine or leaf pattern, along with a solid fabric to coordinate with the plaid.  Blending geometric forms and organic shapes creates a lovely contrast in textures and patterns.

So many people are intimidated when it comes to combining several patterned fabrics in the same room.  Whether you are looking for fabrics to make your own draperies or pillows, or you are shopping for ready-made window treatments, bedding and decorative accents, with these simple tips, you can have a designer look in your home!

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3 Responses to How to Coordinate Fabrics for a Designer Look

  1. […] in your space, be sure to use some geometric patterns and some organic patterns in your decor.  Mixing the patterns on your fabrics, rugs or wallpaper creates contrast – the key to a balanced and interesting […]

  2. Vickie berryman says:

    I!m looking for co ordinating floral &plaid to make toss pillows. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

    • Teri says:

      What colors are you looking for? Probably your best bet, is to spend a bit of time on the Greenhouse Design website or Robert Allen Design website…they are 2 of many fabric companies offering coordinated home decor fabrics. You can search by color or pattern; I would probably select a floral fabric first, since that may be a more difficult pattern to find. Once you’ve selected that one, look for a plaid to coordinate with it. The Greenhouse Design site will also show you fabrics that coordinate with each other, so if you find a floral you like, be sure to look at the “Coordination Fabrics” tab at the bottom of the page to see some that work with your fabric! I hope that helps!

      Check out the article I just posted, Color Inspiration: Hibiscus, for some trendy color and pattern options – including a couple florals and a plaid. Good luck!

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