I'm getting ready to redecorate and know what colors I plan to
use. Should I wait to shop for my fabric after the walls are painted
so I can see how the room looks overall with the new paint?
It would be wiser for you to take your paint chips to the fabric
store BEFORE you actually paint the walls. Many customers have
been unpleasantly surprised to learn--after they've finished painting!--that
fabric palettes are more limited than paint palettes. That lovely
shade of lavender you want to use on the walls may be a disaster
when you discover that it has strong pink undertones and the lavender
fabrics currently available are all using blue-green undertones.
And neutrals are anything but: they can have undertones of green
or orange or pink or blue or gray or yellow. It's often easier
to custom tint the paint to coordinate with your fabrics than
to find a fabric that coordinates with your paint.
I love to stop at fabric stores and just browse, even if I don't
need to buy anything. My husband doesn't understand this and is
reluctant to stop when we're out driving together. How can I help
Does your husband either 1) have a hobby or 2) appreciate
art in general? If the latter, you can point out that fabric is
its own art form. It appeals to our emotions and our senses. That's
why the fabric part of decorating can cause so much conflict in
a household--unless you can successfully use a strategy similar
to that of one customer I watched: It was a weekend afternoon
and she found a fabric she liked for her dining room chairs. Using
her cell phone, she quickly called her husband and said, "I've
found a nice fabric for the chairs; would you like to come look
at it or should I just buy it?" After she hung up, she smiled
and said, "I knew he wouldn't want to leave his recliner
while watching football, and now he can't complain if he doesn't
like it! (She told me later he did like it.) Now, if your husband
has a hobby--for example, fishing--just make a parallel between
your love of fabric and his enjoyment of visiting tackle shops,
"just to see what's new". He'll probably catch on!
When visiting fabric stores, I sometimes find a fabric I
love but I don't know what to do with it. Is there any rule of
thumb about buying quantities of fabric for future projects, or
is it better to wait until you know what you're going to do with
Finding a fabric you absolutely love does present you with a couple
of questions. The first one is, what will you make with it? Another
is, how long will this fabric be available? The latter question
isn't always easy to answer. Some manufacturers make a single
printing of a given fabric and when that's gone, they do not reprint
it. (Certain manufacturers of high-quality quilting cottons are
notorious for this.) Other fabrics have enough "selling power"
that they are kept in the line for years. Combine this with the
reality that each fabric store selects different fabrics for inventory,
and you do have a lot of uncertainty as to future availability
of any given fabric. My personal rule of thumb is to buy it when
I see it. I will buy at least one yard and up to six yards of
a fabric that truly "stops me in my tracks".
I'm building a new home and will be starting from scratch when
I decorate the interior. Is it better to use a decorator for this
or just do it myself?
That isn't the straightforward question it may seem. Actually,
it generates several questions in reply: How much time to you
have to spend on decorating? What's your budget? How quickly do
you want it finished? How much confidence do you have in your
own opinions? How satisfied are you generally with letting other
people tell you what you need or want? I have known excellent
decorators and I have known less-than-excellent ones. An excellent
decorator, in my opinion, is one who focuses less on making your
home a candidate for House Beautiful and more on making
it a place that delights YOU. After all, the decorator isn't going
to be living there! Having said that, I find that most people
know more than they think they do about how they want to decorate.
For example, when you look through decorating magazines, don't
you very quickly know if something appeals to you or not?
Is there is rule of thumb for how much fabric it takes to
make certain things?
Yes, as long as you understand it's just that--a rule of thumb.
For example, a typical sofa uses around 16 yards of fabric. A
sectional sofa uses around 30. Club chairs use 7-9 yards of fabric.
Gooseneck rockers use 2-3 yards of fabric.