My Tips for Choosing Fabrics

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Mixing and matching fabrics is one of my favourite interior design challenges. Using a variety of fabrics that compliment each other is a great way to add character and interest to a room. With so many beautiful colours, patterns and textures on the market, choosing just the right combination is no easy feat!

Here are a few of my tips and some examples I’ve pulled together of potential clients to get you started:

1. How will the space be used?

Textiles are an investment, so it’s important to be sure that the fabric is meant to withstand the amount of wear that it will be exposed to.

Do kids use the space? Does the dog love to sleep on that chair? Is this a high-traffic area, or an occasionally used space? These are all things to consider.


Upholstery fabric is manufactured in different strengths. For sofas or harder wearing furniture pieces 30,000 double rubs and up is ideal.  A teflon coating will offer extra wear, and is a good idea for spaces where pets and kids like to hang out. For lighter use furnishings or toss cushions and curtains anything in the 9000 and above range will work well.

2. Choose a dominant pattern first as your jumping off point.

Before looking at samples it really helps to take a good look at the space and think about what the end vision is. What element do you want to stand out, which would be better left quiet. Have a rough idea of what you like, what you don’t like and what colours or style you’re after. A lot of my clients come to me with images they’ve collected from magazines or on Pinterest which is a great place to start!


It’s also important to consider any fixed elements in the room. I always keep in mind any furniture or artwork that my clients want to keep in the space, the wall colour, rugs etc. Taking the time to get a sense of what you’re after will really help narrow down the endless options.

3.  Play with Scale and Pattern!

This is where things get tricky, and where a professional designer can really help. At this stage, it’s all about pulling fabrics, and playing around with scale, texture, pattern, and colour.  For me, this is the fun part!


Oftentimes I’ll start with one fabric that works as a jumping off point for the whole palette. I look for something bold, or bright or large scale – something that stands out. Once I have this, I can start choosing the coordinating fabrics. I like to choose complimentary rather than matching. This can mean pairing a floral with a geometric, a large scale print with a smaller print and so on.

If you need help selecting fabric, contact me, I’m happy help with any project, from upholstery to accent pillows, window coverings and more! All fabrics above were selected from Bellissimo’s vast library.