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Creating Depth
with PatternS


One of the beautiful things about fabric is its versatility in bringing a room together.  Ranging from upholstery to cushions, bedding to draperies, and any number of accent pieces, the fabric’s uses are literally limitless.  Add to that the huge array of colours, patterns and textures and the possibilities are so endless that it can feel overwhelming. No one wants to make the wrong choice.

With a little planning, all of those overwhelming choices become opportunities to transform your existing room into an amazing space! When designing, I have the most enjoyment selecting fabrics. In this article, I am going to share simple guidelines that will help you make choosing fabric patterns fun while being an effective way to transform a room this fall with a new look and feel.

First of all, start with a theme.  It does not have to be complicated; it can be as simple as a feeling or an idea. Using your theme as a guide, start by picking out three or four different fabric patterns. You will want to use the patterns’ shape, scale, and colour along with the texture of the fabric to create contrast and depth, while holding onto your theme. Here is how:

Pick a fabric with a large, bold pattern to set the tone for your room and give the feel of your theme. Large flowery designs are making a comeback for a sophisticated retro look; meanwhile a geometric pattern gives a contemporary feel. Any large pattern design will work.

Now add a second pattern with similar colours but a completely different scale. The difference between your first two patterns should be significant enough to create that contrast that you are looking for. Think about shapes as you make your choices. If you started with organic flowery shapes, make your second choice geometric shapes with lines or stripes. With your third and fourth patterns, you can try something with a really small or sparse design.

Finally, bring it all together with colour. Whatever colour stands out in your main pattern should also be found in the other patterns you choose. They do not have to be identical, but they should be shades with a similar tone. As long as you do not go overboard with drastically different intensities, you should do alright. You can also use colour to create contrast. For example, if your general colour theme is blue, cushions with an orange pattern will create contrast and really accent your room. Just stay in the same tone range with your colours.Finally, think about texture when you choose your fabrics. A mixture of different textures creates more depth and gives a kind of tactile element to your room that makes it more interactive and inviting.

When you are shopping for your fabrics, do not be afraid to grab different samples.  Put them together to see how they work. If one is too overbearing, or just does not feel right, try something different. One of my favourite Canadian fabric suppliers is Alendel Fabrics. Take a look through their vast stylish and affordable fabric collections to get you well inspired for your next project. Consider working with a designer like myself if you need some guidance. At the end of the day your room design is about you – that which makes you comfortable and happy. So do not get too hung up on the rules, but use them as a guide to create a space you will really enjoy!


Accredited Designer Kate Davidson is the Principal of
Kate Davidson Design Inc.  
This firm is a multi-disciplinary interior design firm; it provides complete design, renovating and decorating services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA.  The firm focuses on creating stylish livable spaces as unique as their clients.  @KateDavidson_