blue living room with toile curtains
Tria Giovan

Mix It Up

Create a layered and collected look with fabrics that share a timeless feel or patina. Tattered leather club chairs add texture, while a plush sofa covered in basic matress ticking contributes vintage charm to this living room.

Toile curtains, rescued from a historic hotel under renovation, strike a traditional note but look fresh in a muted chocolate brown and ivory colorway.

numbered dining chairs
Tria Giovan

Monogram It

Use monograms to turn basic linen or cotton fabrics into heirlooms. While initials are customary, you can use letters or names―or try something new: We've seen addresses, street names, and design motifs adorning everything from porch furniture to table linens.

monogrammed pillows on bench
Jim Franco

10 Ways to Embellish Fabric

1. Opt for a contrasting welt on upholstery.
2. Add nail heads in a shiny or antiqued finish to chairs, ottomans, or sofas.
3. Personalize pillows, linens, and chair backs with a monogram.
4. Line the skirt of a chair with fringe.
5. Contrast basic fabric with colorful thread or twine in the seams.
6. Use metal grommets as curtain rings.
7. Glue or sew ribbon as a border for a decorative touch.
8. Make a pillow with fine fabric on one side and basic fabric on the other.
9. Stencil numbers or initials on curtains, pillows, or throws with fabric paint.
10. Don't do a thing―let the natural beauty of the material speak for itself.

chairs in linen slipcovers
Tim Street-Porter

Loosen Up

Make furniture stylish and family friendly with loose skirts or slipcovers. The beauty of this treatment lies in its simplicity: The chair or sofa can show off its silhouette and looks best when loosely covered in plain, unfussy fabric such as linen, cotton, or canvas. Plus, slipcovers can easily be removed and laundered.

dining chairs with slipcovers
Carlos Emilio

Notice the Details

Formal dining room chairs have a more relaxed feel with neutral linen slipcovers. The half skirt still reveals each chair's turned legs, while simple ties add a custom dressmaker detail.

entry framed with burlap curtains

Learn to Love Burlap ...

Give burlap a chance, and you'll see why this often underrated fabric is a design favorite. No longer reserved for potato sacks, burlap packs intense texture at a gentle price.

Because it holds its shape well, it makes great curtains. Mixed with bright white walls and traditional antiques, it's an unexpected element that adds an organic touch.

four-poster bed
Maura McEvoy

... and Muslin

Hang a breezy fabric like muslin or gauze over a bed for an ultraromantic canopy. When hung directly from the ceiling, the fabric creates the illusion of more height and is a fresh, modern take on the traditional mosquito net.

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