Look at your home like a canvas and think of fabric as the paint for your interior landscape. Interior designers and textile suppliers say that fabric is a natural fit for sprucing up your living spaces because of its versatility and the sheer volume of choices on the market. Options abound, from weightier autumn fabrics such as corduroy, velvet and suede to such year-round fabrics as shimmery, ethereal weaves and graphic pop-art prints. Combined with this fall’s rich hues, they provide you with a wide-ranging palette to create your artistic house.
The Allure of Color
Deep, saturated colors are big this fall, with rich ranges of burgundy, Bordeaux and plum and peacock hues of teal, aqua and mallard green topping the list, designers say.
Metallics like burnished gold, copper and silver also are prominent. “The passion for glitter and metallic continues unabated, with metallized fibers woven in or as top finishes,” said Jamie Drake, a New York City interior designer. “These bring light and life and dazzle to the plainest constructions, as well as more complex weaves.”
But designers warn that no matter how much you are tempted by the newest colors, you shouldn’t get too caught up in the latest color trends.
If you’re looking to make some changes in your home, stick to a neutral palette in investment furniture pieces, such as couches and chairs, and use trendy colors in smaller applications throughout your home, say designers.
“Neutral colors like steel gray, platinum, concrete and anthracite are a strong background for those who prefer their color to be in accents,” Drake said.
New York City interior designer Harry Heissmann advises his clients to make of-the-moment choices sparingly. “People can get hung up on trends, and it can be limiting,” he said. “These are things that you look at every day.”
He recommends incorporating trends gradually, focusing on certain rooms. For example, Heissmann suggests covering kitchen bar stools in a fun new fabric or trying out one of the hot artistic fabrics on one wall of a room.
Los Angeles interior designer Kari Whitman likes to drape fabric from walls and ceilings. She suggests hanging fabric using rustic nail heads called clavos, a technique that she’s used in kitchens. She also recommends updating smaller rooms like bathrooms with some of the more unusual fabric wallpapers. “Fabric in a small place is amazing,” she said.
The latest styles in home fabrics take their cues from the fashion world via designers such as Jakob Schlaepfer, known for supplying fabrics for haute-couture designers and the fashion house Etro, which also has a line of fabrics.
Celebrities are also getting in on the textile act, launching their own fabric decor collections. Lenny Kravitz has created a wallpaper line for Flavor Paper, and Diane Von Furstenberg is working in home fabric design as well.
Some fabric designers are creating their own unique patterns using hand-stamped designs, while others are turning to high-tech options such as lasers and digital printing to leave their mark.
Interiors fabric has come a long way from merely a necessary textile to today’s creative, almost stand-alone works of art.
Heissmann says he is a fan of the more elaborate fabric prints. He says they can be used on walls, for custom pillow covers, and for curtains, shades or table covers. He says his clients love the array of materials and design options now available.
Various fabric manufacturers are creating pieces using embroidery, sequins, whisper-thin lace and mesh as well as traditional materials such as corduroy, cut velvet, chenille and linen.
Heissmann says some fabrics are so intricate they can serve as focal points of a room all on their own.
Drake praises the newest in high-performance fabrics, which are now dubbed indoor/outdoor and “have earned a place in the living room and bedroom as well as the patio or balcony.
“These are often solution-dyed acrylic and are touted to be veritably indestructible, offering great resistance to UV damage, mildew, staining and abrasion,” Drake said.
Other high-performance options, says Drake, include those with Crypton fabrics, a “terrific technological innovation that is stain-, water- and bacteria-resistant as well.”
Whitman says she’s seeing lots of faux fabrics this fall. “Everyone is into green and sustainable, so we’re seeing things made of bamboo and hemp,” she said. “The pleathers and ultra-suedes are just so real looking. They can make pleather look like real, worn-out leather. Some even look like authentic hides, like ostrich or stingray.”
When updating your home using new materials, it’s smart to consider the part of the country in which you live and/or the home’s primary use.
“I would never use silk or velvet in a beach house. And why would you use the thicker blankets and throws when you live in Palm Beach?” said Heissmann. “Things need to be appropriate for your home and where you’re living.”
Whitman says her New York and Los Angeles clients are “willing to take more risks with textiles” and aren’t shying away from metals and plastics, while her Colorado and Texas clients favor “sit and stay awhile” fabrics that are softer and thicker. “There really are some regional things to think about,” she said.