New furnishings can sometimes look a bit too new–especially curtains and covers that replace worn ones in a complete and already settled environment. Many older houses and historic buildings have no need of change or ‘upgrading’, their replacements are made out of necessity rather than choice. In addition to selecting lovely fabrics in slightly muted colours that both fit in easily and ‘uplift’ the environment, there are small things that can be done to help textiles look at home.

Here are some of the things we’ve done to settle fabrics in: drawing the curtains backwards and forwards a hundred times or so, pre-washing loose cover fabrics to soften them, making the fabric up with the wrong side facing so that the colouring is softer, putting fabric out in bright sunlight to fade, washing it with tea or coffee, choosing stone washed fabric; selecting an edging or braid that by its colouration perhaps looks slightly faded…

Stone and all newly cut timbers also need time to wear in as they are still wet, and need time to acclimatise and age. At this stage, spots show and marks are much more difficult to move. Instead of covering everything with a bomb-proof finish, make sure you’ve chosen the material you like, that it’s the right one for the job, and spare a little patience in the knowledge that time will yield the best finish. Alternatively, find reclaimed stone and tiles that have already worn in and won’t mark and scratch, as all new ones will.

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