In interior furnishings, describes the mixing of more than one type of fabric: checks in combination with chintz, stripes and checks, patterns and weaves, antique and new patchworks, etc.

Combination print and weave collections are often designed by the fabric houses. These work well together and are helpful as far as they go, but if you can, best avoided in favour of your own unique ideas, as the finished look of any pre-design is a bit flat, and predictable.

Combining fabrics and colours is one of the headaches of interior and furnishing design from many people. At least that is the question Iam asked most – who we do it ?  How do we put colours and fabric together ? A big question that needs   big answers, but there are a few quick guidelines:

*  Work within the same colour spectrum – all brights or all shadow colours, or all neutrals.

*  Find some inspiration  and follow it – a tree, or seashore, or a fresco, or other work of art. The inspiration must of itself be good, with really good colours, resonance and  depth.

*  From this select  the  core colours – the ones you can use for  walls, or floors, or sofas, the big items.

*  Find fabrics for these- note that the colours you chose weren’t plain – they will have nuance and tonal variation –  depth, something in them that makes them alive. Find weaves that reflect this.

*  Seek out paint colours from companies who use natural pigments to mix the colours with.

*  Take out the other colours, and make sure you look at the boring ones- these are the ones that ground the others, allowing them to sing. You might find pinks or mauves or violet, or olive, or sludge  or all of them,  in a picture that looked to be only green or blue and sand.  Find them for now  in small things-paint charts or embroidery threads, or bits or paper etc.

* Put all of this together -the core, and all the other colours, balance them and decide where and how to use them – again, not forgetting the full ones.

* Make sure that you have variations in textures, scale, pattern –  perhaps not as many as you picture, but that it bears a good  resemblance, that the high notes and the low ones are included somewhere. Bring the colours, textures  and pattern of  the floors, the fire surround, bed frame, chest of drawers etc.  into this equation.

* Alternatively , ‘decorating by numbers’ can be very successful. Find a print that you really like, that sums up what you want to see. Find the legend on the selvedge and use this as your palette. Every colour  in the print will be there, so from this select plains, checks, stripes, other patterns etc. The company that made the first one will have them – each company or designer uses their own preferred colour palette and if, for example your fabric was from Colefax and Fowler, or Osborne and Little, or Designers Guild,  then then you’ll find many others among their collections that will go with it. And they’ll help you.

Once all this is done, bring in personal possessions, your own quirky things, and things that don’t match. A good core will hold anything else, and the whole point of the exercise is  – to make it yours.



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