For me, decorating boils down to fabric. I love going through fabric showrooms and yard-good shops. The colors, the prints, the textures give a room style and dictate the feeling you want to convey, whether it’s country, contemporary, traditional, formal or informal. Even if you haven’t committed to a definite style at this point, finding fabrics you really love and can imagine in the room will lead you in the right direction.

Where do you use fabric? Your upholstered furniture, curtains or drapes, if you decide to have them, and throw pillows. If you’ve already chosen a sofa and the upholstery fabric, then use the colors in the sofa and build out from there. Pick out the dominant color and use it for your accents. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and textures. For example, if your sofa has a bold print, you might choose a small check or stripe in one of the colors for your occasional chairs and the draperies.

Throw pillows used as accents can be a mix of all the fabric prints you’re attracted to that look good on the sofa. This is one of the reasons I suggest a beige textured sofa. You’re then free to use other colors and prints in smaller doses wherever and whenever you want.

Shopping Savvy
When shopping for fabric, look for the right material for the item, whether it’s curtains and draperies or upholstered furniture. For sheer or lightweight curtains you can use almost any fabric. However, drapery and upholstery material is usually woven to be more sub-stantial and is often sold in wider widths than other off-the-bolt fabrics.

Take home a small cutting or swatch of the fabric samples you like so you can look at them in relation to the room and any furnishings you may already have. Most fabric shops have someone who can help you figure the yardage you need. It’s important to get this right so you can buy all of one fabric at one time because sometimes dye lots differ from bolt to bolt. Inspect the complete yardage to be sure there are no defects before paying for it. When calculating cost, remember to include lining fabric for draperies.