Friday, February 10, 2012

Confidence to choose fabrics

Style at Home Magazine June 2011

The high school I went to had the most intimidating hallway ever. Benches on both sides where kids would sit and watch as you walked by. Recently on Facebook an old friend made mention of the BENCHES! It still brings horror to anyone who ever felt the intimidation.

What were they thinking about me?  What does my hair look like today? Am I wearing cool enough clothes? Quite often it was the fear of being judged and ridiculed that made the walk so painful. Every once in a while I'd get brave and go it alone.

If you're a brave home owner, choosing fabric can be intimidating. If you're making fabric choices alone, you may be thinking, "What if I choose the wrong fabric? What if the colour is out of date or the pattern is too old fashioned? What if people come to my house and laugh at my choices? Can I trust myself?"

Ask yourself a few questions: 

Who am I doing this for? If this is your house, it needs to reflect you. 
What do I like? You'll get tired of looking at someone else's choices.

Whether you're choosing fabrics to reupholster a sofa or chair, for new cushions, window coverings or  bedding, keep a few things in mind to lessen the intimidation and give you confidence in your choices.

Think first impression. If you see a fabric that you really like, chances are you will end up using it or something close to it somehow. If it's not the one, tuck it away for another time and another place.

Think long term, this is Canada for heaven sakes.... we like safe don't we? For bigger items choose neutrals or solids that will last a long time, then add some fun and funky with pillows or accents. Bedding in neutrals are great because you can still add colour with pillows and throws. Neutrals tend to ground the room.

Think about your favourite piece of clothing. Why is it your favourite? The colour, pattern, texture? What you wear, either in colour or texture, can help you narrow down the decisions. Cotton is a great fabric that stays crisp and hangs well,

Think style of your house. Certain fabrics work in certain places. This doesn't mean you can't use what you fell in love with, but think about it in the bigger scheme of things. Decor magazines are great, they showcase the latest trends and styles. Don't feel the pressure to have to have everything you see.

Think durability. Most fabrics from design stores or designer fabric companies will tell you the abrasion rate or the double rub. The fabric is tested to see how well it will stand up. Any fabric that's at least 15,000 double rubs is good for upholstery and considered HD (heavy duty)

To get through those benches, every once in a while, I'd grab a friend to walk with me. This gave me confidence too. Using a designer or decorator can be a great way to navigate the intimidation of choosing fabrics.

For more friend support and inspiration visit a list of helpful Canadian design bloggers.

Visit our guide on buying designer fabric online.

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