Design Tips from Wendy Blackband of Blackband Design

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Decorating your home is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming and daunting.  Orange County designer Wendy Blackband of Blackband Design is giving us a series of tips to help make the process manageable, fun and successful, allowing you to create a home you love to live in.

Tip #8: Yes, stripes, florals and animal prints DO go together! I think fabrics are one of my very favorite parts of the entire design process (second only to installation day, which we’ll discuss later). Fabrics are fun and versatile, and can be used for draperies, furniture upholstery, pillows and even artwork. This is another place to get creative with your design, and the results will have an enormous impact on your room. Draperies, even just stationary panels, help soften, define and finish a space. Pillows can add some fun and personality, and make the room feel comfortable and inviting. And an interesting mix of patterns and textures creates interest, balance and depth.

When you are selecting fabrics, one smart strategy is to keep core pieces, such as a sofa, in neutral colors because they will last a long time and you’ll be less likely to tire of them so quickly. Use pillows, throws and drapery to introduce more color.  These are much easier and more affordable to switch out for seasonal updates or to freshen the room. Because we live near the coast, try to stay away from heavier velvets and chenilles, opting instead for linens, silks, cottons and other fabrics that have a lighter feel and make sense for this environment.

Don’t be tempted to make your fabrics too symmetrical and “matchy” – this will look static, predictable and boring. Don’t be afraid to mix stripes, florals and patterns. As with other aspects of design, the key is balance and scale. Try selecting a large pattern, a stripe, a solid and perhaps an animal print with a smaller pattern. If you are using more than one pattern, vary the scale so that they complement instead of compete. You want a look that is effortless, but not random, so look for a common thread (so to speak) so that fabrics “go together” but don’t match perfectly. Try adding some leather or burlap to create surprising layers of texture and contrasting weight.  You’ll have a room that is comfortable, beautiful and inviting.