If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a LOT of time deciding what to wear! We put effort into how we dress so that we look and feel our best. But how often do we think about the way we dress our homes?
Yes, our homes need “clothing” too! We can add character and style to a room by choosing the right fabrics for our upholstery, pillows, linens, and especially window treatments.
Fabrics, like people, have their own unique personalities. Some are fussy and frilly– think “grandma’s house” with lots of lace and chintz. Others create a dreamy, whimsical vibe. Still others are sumptuous and luxurious (hello silk and velvet).
Maybe that’s why, for many of us, fabric is an expression of the way we prefer to see and interpret the beauty in our lives. It’s both visual and tactile, a deeply personal element of what it means to feel at home.
When choosing fabrics to dress your house, keep in mind these three key attributes:
There are nearly endless color choices available these days. People often make the mistake of choosing a fabric color that’s blindingly bright, making the space look garish.
Remember, solid colors that blend in with your wall color are restful to the eye. Solids that contrast add a direct design accent.
Let’s say you have a small living room with off-white walls and you choose deep royal purple curtains. If your windows are large, the curtains are likely to overwhelm the space and visually dominate the room.
Soft neutral drapes would be a better choice, or you could add moderate contrast with lavender or mauve instead. When in doubt, tone down your color choice. You can always brighten it up with trim, tassels, fringe, ribbon, lace, braids, borders, or interesting tiebacks!
Fabrics for window coverings can be solid or multicolored, plain or patterned. Solid curtains are most popular right now, but a bold or subtle pattern can be a great way to add visual appeal to a room!
As with color choice, be aware of the room’s size and other design elements so you don’t overpower the space. Small, subtle patterns that can only be seen up close are a great way to build depth without going overboard! Some pattern options include floral, stripes, plaid and geometric prints.
Just like different garments have different weights and “feels” (think about your favorite t-shirt versus that awful itchy sweater), the same is true for different window dressings. It’s important to consider the weight, structure, sheen and feel of fabrics for your home. (This is why I recommend browsing textiles in person rather than online if possible!)
Do you prefer textured or smooth drapes? Transparent or opaque? How thick and heavy do you want the fabric to be? Many homeowners opt for thick, warm curtains in winter and lighter, breezier fabrics for spring and summer.
Pulling It All Together
When picking out your curtains or drapes, pay special attention to how your choices coordinate with your wall treatment (paint, wallpaper, etc.), floor covering and the largest piece of upholstered furniture.
The goal is to unite a room’s fabrics and décor with a common color, varying the tonal value (the lightness or darkness of the shade) to create visual interest.
Need help picking out the window treatments or other textiles for your home? Come hang out in my private Facebook group Ask a Designer. We love to chat about design choices!