Fluid, flowing, fabulous fabric. Sensual, stunning, satisfying fabric. Dreamy, dramatic, drapable fabric. Height of fashion. Depth of richness. Limitless luxury—FABRIC!
Fabric has once again become center stage in decorating and furnishing
homes. For several years many homeowners have been satisfied with
alternative window treatments alone at the window. Sleek lines,
ease of upkeep, privacy options and light control are all solid
justifications for blinds, shutters and shades as first choices
for window coverings.
These types of window treatments are ideal as supporting cast members.
They give rise to the freedom of the artistic elements of the window
treatment drama. Enter the leading lady: fabric. Fabric is the prima
donna; the fashion queen; the star of the stage. Fabric as the primary
décor element boasts a long list of credentials:
FABRIC IS SUPPLE
Fabric can be manipulated in more ways than any other interior design
element. It can be draped to hang in a wide variety of looks from
crisp and straight to soft and limp; from pertly tied back to billowy
poufs. Fabric may find its hem length at the windowsill, to the
floor or fabric may spill into sumptuous puddles on carpet or non-resilient
At top billing, fabrics may be pleated into French, inverted, goblet,
scalloped, pencil or tape pleats and that’s just for starters.
Fabric may suspend from hooks, rings, braid, ribbons or jewelry.
Fabric may be hung from, laid over or threaded through wood, metal
or resin decorative hardware. Fabric may be fashioned into valances,
swags, pelmets or upholstered cornices. It may be banded, ruffled
or trimmed with a dazzling array of multi-hued trimmings.
Fabric tempers temperature. At the window it slows the flow of cold
air infiltration during winter months. In hot climates and seasons,
fabric absorbs heat and keeps interiors more pleasant and comfortable.
Fabric can interrupt the convection air loop to help keep the draught
off the floor.
Fabric tempers airborne sound. As a champion absorber of unwelcome
noise, fabric hushes echoes and lowers decibels. Fabric softens
the spoken word, lowers media reverberation and makes less audible
the din of mechanical systems and appliances. Thus, fabric creates
a more pleasing audible environment. Quieter interiors mean more
peaceful places for retreat as well as work.
FABRIC IS FRIENDLY
Fabric is a comforting influence through sensory experience. To
the eye and to the touch, fabric can be a welcoming sight each time
we enter a room. Fabric is an artistic expression in both motif
and application, beckoning to be admired and enjoyed. Fabric selected
by the user becomes a personal expression of the way beauty is interpreted
as seen through that person’s eyes. This friendliness is a
prime reason for custom interior design and decorating.
For example, bright colors signal a desire for optimism and happiness,
while light-infused pastel colors promote spiritual or emotional
healing and peace of mind. Likewise, pattern can represent values
and artistic preferences in the eyes of the beholder. Angular patterns
are stimulating while fluid curves are humanizing. Small patterns
are quaint and large patterns are bold and assertive. Fabric patterns
and colorways are available to satisfy any style requirement for
any occupant from young to old, macho male to femininely female,
sport fanatic to artistic dreamer Fabric covers the gamut—pleasing
each and every one.
FABRIC IS FASHION
Fabric’s famous trio—color, pattern and texture—make
beautiful music together. Colors that are in style are exciting
and eagerly accepted by fashion conscious consumers. Trends are
major directions in how consumers think and feel and the ways they
are motivated to buy.
Highly educated color forecasting experts present color palettes
that give fresh new direction in advance of each year, providing
tools to rejuvenate interiors. Color Marketing Group (CMG) understands
the demand for a constant flow of new fashion. Spring and fall lines
are introduced as expressions of color and design style that reflects
the newest looks for today’s eager clientele.
FABRIC IS LUXURY
One major new direction in consumer preference is the longing for
a dose of luxury in personal environments. This drive for luxury
has a deeper base than simply self-indulgence. It is a manifestation
of needing to feel secure and safe in one’s environment. It
is also a way of personalizing a space. Note that the level of luxury
is not always over the top, but may be just a dab of luxury here
Of course, it may well also be substantial. In fact, a major consumer
direction as spelled out by CMG for 2006 is Uber Luxury. Uber means
“over” in German and denotes a consumer trend to seek
the best quality, often with a prestigious and pricey label. This
allows the “haves” to separate themselves a little or
a lot from the “have nots.”
This trend is not new, but has been the driving force behind all
exclusive custom interior design products for several hundred years
of Western culture. It is human nature to compare what a person
has to his or her acquaintances within their realm of society, then
to try to outdo one another. This gives opportunity for design professionals
to enjoy the quest for unique creations. Fabric is the ideal medium
for unusual and uber luxury applications in the home. So whether
it is the entire home or just one window, permit a bit of indulgence.
And the result will be deep satisfaction and a greater appreciation
Supple, insulating, friendly, fashionable, luxurious—fabric!
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of
design at Brigham Young University. She has authored several books
including Window Treatments, Understanding Fabrics and Interiors:
An Introduction, 3rd Ed. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies
& Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education