Friday, April 9, 2010

How to mix and match fabric

In my humble itty bitty opinion -- next to paint, fabric is the easiest, cheapest way to transform a room. I do not lie Squeezies. A coat of paint and new drapes, cushions or pillows, and you have a brand new room. Same furniture – different room!

I suggest, encourage, beg of you to check out your nearest fabric store for inspiration. When you’re starting fresh in a room, a gorg fabric is a perfect jumping off point. A beautiful fabric will make the rest of the room happen.

So how do you mix fabrics? First of all – don’t be afraid to mix patterns, stripes, solids, checks…just about anything. As long as the colors all tie in together, you’d be surprised what looks fab together.

Most of the time, fabric stores do the work for you. You’ll find fabrics displayed next to others in similar colors and textures that work together.

For example – this floral print and the stripe are beeee-utiful combined:

Drapes in the stripe, pillows in the floral (with a piping in the stripe!), and a solid color pulling them together on the backs of the pillows or maybe as a solid panel at the top or bottom of the drapes…FAB!!

Small prints and large prints look fantastic together:

Upholster a chair in the floral, with the small check as the piping or as a small pillow – GORG. (Or vice versa!)

I pass by these prints at Joann’s every single time I’m there, and every single time, I wish I had a space to use them:

5

I adore that large, funky floral print! The colors are a perfect match (the same manufacturer) so they are made to go together. The floral would be awesome on something large, like drapes. The stripes could be an accent throughout the room.

All four of these prints absolutely go together:

It depends on your taste and how daring you are – personally, I would use the large stripe and the large print together – but all of these could easily work in a space. To keep it from getting overwhelming, a couple could be used as piping or trim – just a little touch to keep interesting but not too I-use-a-lot-of-fabrics in your face.

There are just a crazy amount of fun fabrics that would be SO fun for a kid’s room. Of course the girly prints are a little more prevalent:

Aren’t those adorable?

Many of you may be surprised that I don’t follow many big time designers/decorators – I see a lot of inspiration out there but only consistently love the work of just a few.

Including another Sarah:

I used to watch Sarah Richardson years ago on a show called Room Service, and was giddy when her HGTV Canada show, Sarah’s House, started airing in the US a few months ago. (Right now they are showing episodes of a farm house redo – SWOOON!)

She is the QUEEN, hands down, no lie, of mixing fabrics in the most fabulous ways. Here’s just a few examples…

I believe there are four fabrics just on the sofa! The animal print is a little much for me, but otherwise, I think they work beautifully. There’s another print on the stools and I still don’t feel overwhelmed by them all.

This one I love because it shows all the ways to use one(or at least a very similar) fabric:

The stripe creates a square when pieced together on the pillow, and then the room is pulled together by using it again and again on the bench and chairs. I LOVE this look.

I like how the little bit of blue from a stripe in one fabric is pulled into the diamond pattern on the chair, then in accessories throughout this room:

Some of you will see this next one and fall in love instantly, some will hate it passionately:

I think I love it.  ;) The blue tones in the chair are a bit deeper than those the window treatments. The ottomans pull in the browns from both the chair and the drapes. It’s a unusual combo of funky and natural prints. Funky natural. Naturally funky?

In her own baby’s nursery, she combined EIGHT fabrics in one room! But it’s not overwhelming (to me at least) – it’s FUN:

I adore the large floral print with the smaller print on the ottoman. Adorable.

So what do you think – are you sceered to mix and match? Have you tried and clashed fabrics? How many have you used in one room? ;)

Some fun updates I wanted to share:

There is a fab giveaway going on at the Holiday with Mathew Mead blog right now. If you order the upcoming magazine today (Friday), you will be entered. (Yours truly will have a project in the mag!) Go here to check it out!

And if you Indy folks want to see me sweat bullets share a fun project on TV – check out the Indy Style Show (WISH TV) next Thursday at 9 a.m. I think everyone else will be able to watch online after it airs. (Wrings hands.) Ack!  :)

In other less nerve-wracking news, the Bub’s room is coming along beautifully!! I hope to get it done by next week, but we’ll see how that goes. No matter what, I’ll show you the latest soon!

58 comments:

  1. I love that Sarah too! I have been watching her transform her farm house and loving it!! Her mud room turned out beautiful! I agree I have just a select few designers I absoulutly adore and the rest inspiration and what I love. This was a great post on fabric and I love all of them!!

    Hugs,
    Victoria

    Oh...if you have not see my farmtable island Mr. Wonderful built me...come stop by. ;)

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  2. florals get me every single time!
    i am in LOVE with those nursery pics!!! like in LOVE!

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  3. I too am obsessed with Sarah's House. You're right, she is the MASTER of mixing fabrics--LOVE HER!!!

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  4. I so love fabric. But I'm so picky! I get an idea in my head of what I want, and then sometimes it's hard to find something to fit that. I love the pics from Sarah Richardson's designs- especially the pink and white room- so gorgeous.

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  5. Guess I'm not alone in loving Sarah Richardson! She's the one designer that I can look at a room of hers and think "I could live there!" I love her style and her confidence with mixing materials and patterns. I just wish I lived in Canada and/or was rich enough to have her come here to design my whole house!

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  6. I love Sarah R. too! I love that boy's nursery so much...kinda makes me want to have a boy!

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  7. I love fabrics, I'm in the process of picking fabric for my master bedroom redo. It is so much fun. Thanks for your great post!
    Joy

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  8. I have watched every Room Service show at least 3 times. Her cottages are amazing. I was so thrilled to see that we were able to see the new farmhouse redo. I think I nearly fainted. She is the best designer ever. I even have photos from her web-site as my screen saver. I love the fabrics you showed today. I am a fabric freak - don't always use it right away, but sometimes it is a urge I can't stop.

    Inspired once again. Thanks!!!

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  9. I too love fabrics but can never get my head around selecting one, just one or two. There are so many to choose from. I come home with a purse full of samples and subject my family and friends to a "pick your favorite fabric" poll. I'm a freak that way.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  10. My sis and I have been discussing this exact topic for the past week and she is looking to redo her guest room...so thanks for sharing...I think it will make her feel a little more comfortable with what she was looking to do:)

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  11. I am sooooo glad Sarah is redoing an old farmhouse this time! I love that show!!! Love this post on mixing fabrics, people need to know DON'T BE AFRAID ;^)

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  12. Yes, thank you for putting it out there. I love mixing prints, I think it makes everything more fun. I especially love the four fabrics in reds.

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  13. Love the combos!

    I have the greens from Joanns in my living room, though we chose to use the stripes as drapes and did some accents in the floral. My sister-in-love admired it so much they used the stripes for drapes in their bedroom and used the floral as a padded headboard. Good stuff. :)

    Here's a pic of my living room, though the pillows aren't shown (we might not have made them yet). I'm refurbing a bookcase in the delightful green shade and will share it with you when the room is done.
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1002399&l=f15c9ced65&id=563444188

    In fact, they have the same fabric in an orange/brown combo that I also love, but am wise enough not to use in a different room. Way too much matchy-matchy. But I do love it.

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  14. Great post, Sarah! I love bringing patterns into the mix in a room ~ sometimes that includes the area rug. Love the fabrics you've highlighted here. You should come do my Adult Ed class with me at the end of the month ~ it's on Color & Pattern!

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  15. AHHHH...perfect timing! I'm leaving house for Joann's in one hour (with three kids 4 and under- eek!) to pick out some accent fabrics! SOOO glad I just read this- i needed this inspiration. =) I need to add 6 inches to bottom of drapes (also inspired by your post a few weeks ago concerning that!) and re-cover some pillows. I painted new house living room in a bold (for me) color and now just need to jazzy it up a bit. Thanks for posting!
    -EAM in Va

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  16. I love Sarah Richardson, too! She has two shows here in Canada - Design Inc. and her show where she "re-makes" home. Her last "home" show she redecorated their cottage ... it was amazing. I love you blog, too!!

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  17. What an interesting post. Much food for thought.
    Unfortunately my Joann's doesn't seem to have that big print! Too bad cuz I'm redoing my upstairs living room soon.
    Kathy

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  18. Girl...Sarah and that mudroom redo - OH>GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know what part of that room i loved the most - the red doors, the limestone floor, the powder room...oh, wait, i just realized this was supposed to be about fabric, not Sarah...

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  19. Thank you for the mini tutorial on mixing fabrics!! That is something I shy away from b/c I never know if I'm "doing it right." Thanks for the encouragement! :)

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  20. I am actually in the middle of trying to pick out a fabric for a wingback chair and ottoman that will go with my chocolate couch, but I don't want it the same color. I want to pull another color into the room through the chair but having a hard time with it. Thanks for the post! I'm going to check out Sarah Richardson now!

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  21. Thanks for this post!! I love fabric but have always been a little scared to mix them....Oh, I too love Sarah Richardson (and let's not forget Tommy). That blue nursery above is fab. I love that the drapery fabric came from Ikea (one of my favorite stores).

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  22. I'm naturally funky. And proud of it.

    Not only has Sarah made me want to have a mudroom so I can build in fabulous closets with sexy molding, but now I feel the need to get some awesome rain boots. They're like moon boots only awesomer.

    {Give me some of your tots, Napoleon.}

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  23. Love the green/brown funky floral and striped fabric combo ... in fact, I have drapes from Pier1 in my living room that are very similar:
    http://tinyurl.com/yakjjg2

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  24. I just used the third ones down in our new living room! Too funny; they were calling my name at Jo-Ann's, too. . .

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  25. Love this post because I adore fabric ! I'm so fortunate to be able to work with it everyday.

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  26. I have never heard of Sarah's House, but am intrigued! Being a fabric hoarder that I am, I MUST mix and match several different fabrics in a room. I love making surprising combinations that, of course, look good together.

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  27. Love that last nursery photo. Adorable! I'm looking for several coordinating fabrics right now that mix red with aqua...any suggestions on a place to look?

    -FringeGirl

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  28. We covered our dressers with fabric when I lived in the dorms. We used liquid fabric softener....dipped the cut fabric into the softener....smoothed in on the wood surface....let it dry....it worked great! When it was time to move out, we just pulled off the fabric and washed the wood with a damp rag. We also covered our headboards the same way....never had any problems with the fabric coming loose.

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  29. OK so like next time I go to JoAnn's you need to come with me because I can't do this fabric combining thingie.

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  30. Yep, I am one of those people who is sceered of mixing patterns for fear it will look junky and disjointed rather than funky and fab. My Aunt Shirley can mix patterns as well as the big name designers and I love going to her house because of that. I'm working up the courage to take a chance in my own house. Thanks for an excellent tutorial.

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  31. Love the mix and matched fabric ideas...great post!

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  32. Gorgeous!! I was in the most fabulous fabric store last weekend!

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  33. I can't wait to see Bubs room.

    I can't sew a lick but I LOVE to go into fabric stores. I love me some fabric.

    Have a great weekend.

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  34. Awesome post girlfriend !!!! You couldn't be more right ! I say BOTH Sarah's are design extraordinaires !

    Can't wait to see the Bub's room. . . . I'm just starting my boy's room too. Still can't believe they both share the same name. Separated.At.Birth. You and me. Have a lovely weekend friend !!!

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  35. oh I so needed this post...my MIL has wicker on her front porch, her fabric is the waverly big cabbage roses and I was just at Joann's buying a complimentary fabric for the pillows....I got the red and cream plaid...so funny that you put that fabric combo in your post! Yippee! Now I feel a bit more confident in my suprise for her pillow covers! Thanks!

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  36. I am at 5 fabrics in my daughter's room re-do. Plus MANY textured trims. Clearly, I am of the 'more is more' school of decorating!

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  37. I love the fabric designs of Heather Bailey and how well her collections coordinate too. Thanks for the inspiration and tips!

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  38. I will state wholeheartedly, and for the record, I SUCK at this! I am a scrapbooker who LOVES printed papers and my ONLY saving grace is that manufacturers come out with a "line" of complimentary papers. Otherwise, I'd just be up a creek without a paddle! The examples you used were beautiful!!!

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  39. What a great and informative post. Thank you! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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  40. Thanks for all the great pictures! I love Sarah's House, but for the life of me, I can't remember when it's on and while every other show gets repeated over and over (and over), they don't seem to repeat it all that much.

    I want a DVD set of all season. Seriously.

    Since I don't think that's going to happen, I want to move to Cananda so I can get their HGTV.

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  41. I too love Sarah and her show (also a Sarah here!) :) She just has such an eye for things. She goes wim bam and it's beautiful. I am amazed by people who make it look so effortless and she is one of those.

    I also definitely agree that fabric and paint are the two easiest, cheapest, and most dramatic changes you can do to a room.

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  42. I like watching Sarah too. The one I watch she is re-doing a contemporary 60's style home. Pretty awesome looking too!!

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  43. Sarah is fantastic. We love her show here and can't wait for each episode. I am so glad others are watching her. Designers can be too fussy, she makes design accessible, as do you.

    Cynthia

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  44. Fabric is a great way to add continuity to a large space! We have a VERY open, VERY large kitchen/dining/living area in our new house. I chose a separate patterned fabric for each area, but in the same colors! Talk about flow, and your guests don't even notice WHY it flows, but it does! I used fabrics in linen and chocolate. I have linen and chocolate zebra in the living; linen and chocolate houndstooth in the dining; linen and chocolate diamond pattern (think French!) in the kitchen. Very easy to distinguish the rooms separately with accent fabrics in complimenting colors, when you establish this flow!

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  45. Nicely written! I'm not a designer and I don't have the best eye for fabric. The ladies at Calic Corners are my new best friends. Here's a post I did in February about the fabrics they suggested I mix and match.

    http://becca-homeiswheremystorybegins.blogspot.com/2010/02/pulling-room-together.html

    I was at Calico Corners just today and they were helping me mix and match spring fabrics for my family room.

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  46. Had to let you know that if it were any earlier in the evening I'd run screaming to my mother's house with the laptop aimed at thrifty decor chic in tow! It IS possible to be a productive person (you in a MAJOR way) AND love whatever hours of bed time we can get. She wouldn't feel any better but I would. Thanks for all you've inspired in all of us. Sleep well. I'm goin' shopping!

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  47. Love love love fabric! And if I had to follow just one designer it would most likely be Sarah Richardson...adore her style and her shows are just fun to watch!

    Hey, enjoy those sheets and your sleep!!!

    Janell

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  48. I just love your blog. The layout is so clean and easy to read. How do you do your top referrers? I don't need it to show on my small blog, but would love to have that information. Thanks!

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  49. I LOVE Sarah's House! I loved the 50's home she just did. I love her taste and I love the dude she works with. He is uber funny IMO. For me mixing fabric is way easier then choosing a paint color! I hate the way paint looks on a sample and then you put it on your wall and YIKES, that was not what I wanted!

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  50. Is Sarah's cottage only on Canada right now because I'm not finding it in the US. I have been watching and re-watching the Sarah's house. I'm in love with her and Candace Olsen. Two different styles, but oh so lovely. They are the only two that I watch.

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  51. I admit I am struggling with mixing patterns/colors for my front room right now. I found a hounds tooth pattern in chocolate brown and lime green then found a coordinating toille in the same colors. But I also want to add a light sort of teal blue to the room to mix up the lime green. Yet I can't seem to figure out what fabric to use to get the blue in the room.

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  52. Love the fabric combinations! I have five different fabrics in my great room; one being a huge art project above the mantle:)

    Thanks for all the ideas.

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  53. I love the fabric combinations. We tend to use different textures of fabrics in the same room more than prints, I guess we're not big print people. Didn't notice that until now.

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  54. I am in love with all of these and I swooned over the fabric you said you pass by all the time - SO prettY!

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  55. I love Sarah's show! She amazes me and makes me want to try out any and everything... if I had the money! ;) But I could always try a couple things, right!

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  56. I'm right there with you, I adore Sarah Richardson's style! Living in Toronto I grew up watching all of her shows and remember taking in all of her ideas while watching Room Service too and of course Design, Inc. :)

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  57. One of the sample fabrics in this post is the exact fabric my living room curtains are made from! Yay!

    And I just saw the first episode of Sarah's House the other day and loved it! But I can't believe the budget she gives herself! $10,000 for one bedroom is crazy! It's fun for inspiration but you can't really take any budget tips from her... but that's what this blog is for!

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  58. I just saw this post for the first time. I am a huge Sarah fan too. I can't wait until her show comes back on. I am ready for another one of Sarah's houses. Great post on fabric. I agree it transforms a room!

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