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By: Keith Osborne
The world of textiles offers so many possibilities for room design and plays a lead role in the overall dressing, theme and ambience in a room, whether it be luxurious dupion silks and velvets or fresh linens and chiffons or sea grass and rattan craft or vintage patchwork and bunting...the list is endless!

It isn't any wonder that you may feel a little overwhelmed with what colours or patterns to choose. Florals or stripes? Eco-friendly fabrics...are these natural fibres? What will offer durability and longevity...what will not date? What will keep the house warm and save money on heating bills? Again, there are a fair few factors to consider about your fabric choices before you dress your much-loved new home.

I have discovered that when designing room dressings for some of my clients, many require the furnishings to play a 'mix and match' role, enabling them to alter the look of the room in a few years by alternating the cushions, throws, rugs and wall art to complement their main items of furniture and furnishings by using an alternative colour in their fabric. Also and more importantly, this should not break the bank!

Some current trends that are popular are 1950's classic modernity, evoking nostalgia and authenticity; minimal luxury - clean, simple and timeless; and crafts from the past such as wicker weaving.

Shabby chic and country crafts are still extremely desirable and can be found on the high street in stores such as John Lewis (, Laura Ashley (, Zara Home ( or Next Home (, for example. Alternatively, why not spend your Sunday afternoon visiting a craft market for great handmade items? Greenwich Market in London is very impressive, or look out for a local market near to you.

If you have a blank canvas to work with and require quality furnishings that are made to last and are tailored to suit your style and personality, but are not sure where to begin, why not have your window dressings made for you? Also, your cushions, throws and bed spreads. It is initially more expensive than the high street, approximately double the price of an average pair of curtains or bed set, but your end result is bespoke items that will give you many years of pleasure and cannot be found in anybody else's home.

Two companies that I would love to recommend are, Clarke & Clarke (, see picture above) and Villa Nova ( Both companies offer a wide range of furnishing and upholstery fabrics that cater for most tastes and budgets. Fabrics range from £20 up to £100 per metre depending on your choice. There is also a fabulous wallpaper range to complement.

Do not be scared of using different patterns and textures to match each other. You may wish to go bold with stripes, so why not enhance with a floral fabric to complement? If your style is more minimalist, stay with neutrals but make the room interesting by choosing fabrics of heavier weaves or that are more tactile such as chenille or devore , both soft and luxurious to the senses.

Finally, use your own style and personality through your fabric choices but do consider the size of your room, along with the amount of light and heating, before you consider your final colour and fabric choices.

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