Sometimes the trickiest part of decorating a home is adding the finishing touches. How do you create a room that's both beautiful and functional? Using fabric to give rooms a more polished, customized look is an option, and it's also budget friendly.
Nomita Joshi-Gupta, owner of the specialty wallpaper and fabric store Spruce, says fabric is definitely having its moment in the home decor limelight. While Spruce offers hundreds of fabric options available in just about any type of material, Joshi-Gupta is seeing a very specific trend when it comes to using fabric in the home.
"In general, there's a trend toward using boutique fabrics and more boutique designers," she says. "Today we're seeing artists and designers making custom decorative fabrics that are beaded or embroidered. I'm seeing some very special things and artists that are taking fabric to a different place. These fabrics tend to be more expensive, but they're also more special."
Gone are the days of using raw silk and Laura Ashley floral prints for loveseats and window treatments. Fabric isn't just for accents like dra-peries or upholstery anymore. You'll just as likely see these designer fabrics displayed as art.
"With fabric, you can have more customization," Joshi-Gupta says. "Sure, we still use fabric to upholster sofas and chairs, but we're also using it on walls like a wallpaper to add more texture in a room."
Amanda Talley is a local artist and owner of Studio Amanda Talley gallery who produces her own line of fabrics. Although Talley started printing fabric several years ago, the popularity of her products has increased in the last year.
Talley's fabrics are made into custom pillows, draperies and headboards, and layering the different fabrics in similar color palettes is a customer favorite. Her collection is printed on an organic cotton and linen blend, so it's durable and easy to maintain.
In addition to artist-produced micro-batches of patterned material, velvet also is trending in home decor. Designer Jill Dupre says velvet can be both a luxurious and a practical choice.
"I'm definitely seeing a lot of velvet out there these days," she says. "It's sturdy, glamorous and easy to clean. It's also easy to care for and kid-proof."
Dupre uses a lot of linen and felt in her own projects.
"I'm a big fan of felt. It's forgiving and easy to use," she says. "I use it when I make pillows and ottomans. Plus, it's also easy to find at (chain) fabric stores."
Dupre uses fabrics of different textures and patterns to get her custom abstract designs. She often finds different materials while traveling, making a point of stopping in her favorite national and international stores to see what's new. Now, she's noticing a lot of block prints and geometric designs in muted grays and greens.
"When I'm in New York I love to go to Purl or Mood Fabric," she says. "I also love Liberty of London's fabrics."
Her go-to fabric stores are filled with a variety of materials like linen, velvet and cotton in thousands of colors and patterns.
Decorating with fabric lends itself to almost any pocketbook. For those on a tight budget, a few decorative pillows can make the living room sofa stand out.
If curtains for every window isn't in the budget, Dupre recommends using fabric window shades as an affordable alternative.
"The Shade Store has a great variety of roller and Roman shades that you can customize with their wide selection of material, offered at several price points," she says. "They also offer a huge selection and showcase new, up-and-coming designers."
Thomas Waller of Artee Fabrics & Home says he's seeing a lot of turquoise, teal greens and coral hues this season, but neutral tones are still popular.
"Geometric patterns are popular too," he says, "and a classic toile never goes out of style."
Artee houses more than 2,000 bolts of fabric and can customize almost any order to both wholesale and retail clients because the store has access to its own sewing mills.
"Our goal is for our clients to be comfortable in their homes since they have to live with their choices," he says. "We want them to love what they choose. If you have a look you want, it's more than likely that we can produce it."