Updated: Sep 11, 2020
I get this question alot from do-it-yourselfers who are trying to decorate a space and want to have a cohesive and well pulled-together finished product. Adding textiles is a very important piece of the puzzle to achieving a winning design. Textiles helps to anchor your color scheme, add personality, soften hard lines, add texture and create a comfortable and visually appealing space. Although it might seem fairly simple to do, a good designer knows that it goes beyond just choosing pretty fabrics. The use and function of the room have to be taken into consideration to choosing the right fabrics. As an example, if the room is mostly used by children as a play area, you will want to bring in fabrics that are soil and stain resistant, and can be cleaned easily, and even fire retardant. Today, however, we will talk about how to mix fabric patterns to achieve a cohesive and beautiful look.
I will use this recently completed children’s bedroom to show examples of how I decide on what fabrics to use together in a space. This room was done for one of my favorite clients whom I have worked with for a few years now on several rooms in their home – one room at a time. We finally got to the bedroom of their toddler boy and baby girl, which was very exciting for me. Kids’ rooms are a great place to have fun with color and textures, go bold, and think outside of the box. There are still guidelines to follow so you don’t end up with a clown house 🙂
My clients wanted a room that wasn’t a nursery (so no crib), they wanted beds and they wanted them low enough so they wouldn’t have to worry about kids falling out of bed. The room also had to be fairly gender neutral since it was for a boy and girl, and had to be a design that could grow with them – one they would still love years from now. It is a good idea to not getting too “themey” with kids rooms. I see that mistake happen alot. As a mom, I know kids’ minds change easily, so you want to avoid theme rooms as much as possible, but still keeping their personalities in mind.
Ok, on to the fabrics now:
Some designers do it differently, and there are no rules set in stone, but here are the steps I use when choosing fabrics for a room.
Start with my statement fabric. Statement fabric is the fabric that will either be the focal point in the room, or the fabric that will be used most often or on the biggest piece of furniture, or the fabric that has the boldest pattern and several colors that you can build a color scheme from. Example would be a bold, large print floral
The next fabric you choose should have at least one similar color to the statement fabric, and the scale of the pattern should be smaller. For example, a geometric pattern. Using varying scale in fabric patterns is what makes for an interesting design. If all the fabrics have similar scale they will clash.
Keep your colors consistent and repeat them often for continuity and visual interest. I usually avoid using the window treatment fabric more than once in the room, however, It is not wrong to do so, just my personal thing. In this room I did use the fabric on the cornice board on the head board as well – you will see later.
You can then bring in maybe a large scale stripe fabric with the same colors as your statement fabric, maybe a small scale polka dot, and of course solids to tie everything together
Be sure that you are introducing various textures and fabric types. This is what gives the room dimension. Don’t just stick to all silks, or all cottons etc. Too much shiny fabrics can look like a Las Vegas night club and too much solid can look flat. Mix it up a bit.
The statement fabric is the floral print with the animals which was used for our duvet covers, the large scale polka dot fabric was used for the custom roman shade, the large scale stripe was used for bolster pillows, the small scale stripe was used for a window seat cushion, the berry color faux snake skin was used for the custom cornice board and custom upholstered headboards and the geometric was used for pillows.The solids (not shown above) were used for shams, pillows and duvet covers. Notice that the scale of each pattern is different and the colors are very consistent. Most of these fabrics are stain resistant and can be thrown into the washer for easy cleaning. We did a cordless roman shade to prevent any serious accidents.
Here is the finished room.
The room was a completely blank slate with electric blue walls. I had the room painted in a large scale horizontal stripe technique, then had my builders add the built in beds, shelving and window seat plus a closet system (not shown). There is tons of storage in this room – perfect for toys and books etc. I had the headboards made by my upholsterer and all the window treatments, cushions, pillows and bedding made by my drapery workroom. I chose the beautiful light fixture from Global Views to look like the sun in the sky.This room was custom through and through. Here are a few final touches we added a few weeks later
I added random fonts of the alphabet painted in white so as not to stand out, except for the letters that spelled each child’s name (Asher & Orli). As you can see, they are not in alphabetical order. My clients and I joke that their kids will say the alphabet in that order :-). I called this creation “Alphabet Soup” 🙂
My clients love original works of art, so we commissioned this piece from a great artist that I admire Duane Cregger. We sent him our statement fabric and he created this beautiful piece for the kids’ room.
This project was so much fun to work on. As you can see, I used a lot of different fabric patterns in the room and I believe they all came together beautifully.
Hope you found these tips for mixing fabric patterns useful. Please subscribe so you don’t miss out on future posts. Feel free to also check out my websites Casa Vilora Interiors and No Naked Windows to see more of my work.