The Art of Upholstery

Introducing pattern and colour to your interiors can sometimes feel a bit daunting – especially when it comes to more permanent choices like paint or wallpaper. One of our favourite ways to ease into bolder design decisions is through the use of upholstery. Whether it's to breathe new life into a living room by re-upholstering a tired slipper chair or sofa or to switch things up by introducing a new pattern or colour-scheme in the bedroom, it doesn't take much fabric to really make a difference to your space.

If you're interested in upholstery, scroll down to find some inspiration and tips from some of The Fabric Collective designers . . .  

Deep and Detailed 

When it comes to designs that will stand the test of time, think about opting for dark and detailed designs that will be generous when it comes to disguising marks of wear and tear. 

"I love multi-coloured, densely-patterned fabrics in a house with young children. I have both Bettina in Canyon and Brink of Summer in Reservoir in my own home and even with my 3 and 7 year-olds doing somersaults on them daily, they show very little wear and tear." – Alexis Hartman, Founder and Designer of Lake August

Image Above: Chair upholstered in Brink of Summer Reservoir by Lake August


 Image Above: Chair upholstered in Bettina Canyon by Lake August


Warm or Cool?

When you're deciding on a colour for your upholstery, think about the kind of atmosphere that you want to create in a room. If you're looking to add warmth and vibrancy to a space, think about using warm yellows, oranges and terracottas or if you are looking to create a calm and serene setting, opt for cooler tones like greys and blues. 

Image Above: Chair upholstered in Jaipur Yellow by Nichola Taylorson


Image Above: Cushion upholstered in Taraka Slate Blue Embroidered. Chair upholstered in Taraka Ash Grey Embroidered. Both by Nichola Taylorson.

Direction Matters

"Consider print direction; this is crucial when applying a fabric to a three dimensional form. Take a lampshade for example – for drum shades, linear prints work beautifully, however, tapered shades, like this one in our Kanoko Pacific Blue Linen benefit from all over prints which are less directional." - Walter G

Image above: Lampshade in Kanoko Pacific Blue by Walter G

Form First

"When selecting printed fabrics to cover furniture, consider how the fabric will appear when seamed together. For simple forms, bold prints are fantastic as the print will do the talking - take these bar stools which hero our Tangier Denim print. More complicated upholstery pieces will benefit from linear designs - our Luxor Saffron fabric enhances the fabulous curves of this slipper chair." – Walter G

 Image above: Bar stools in Tangier Denim by Walter G. Image by Washashore Home.


Image Above: Chair upholstered in Luxor Saffron by Walter G

Play with Shape

"Upholstery is another opportunity to amplify colour, pattern and texture in interior decoration. Loose covers add a relaxed dimension and with a patterned fabric simultaneously bring more fun to a scheme." - Penny Morrison. These upholstered slipper chairs combine a loose skirt with floral patterns for an accessory that is both relaxed and romantic.

Image above: Slipper Chairs by Penny Morrison in (left to right) Helena Indigo, Sukriti and Vine Flower.


Sweet Dreams

An upholstered headboard is a brilliant and relatively simple way of refreshing your bedroom. If you want to add a soft touch to the space, how about a repeated floral design? Or for something more contemporary, a bold abstract print can work wonders. 

Image Above: Headboard upholstered in Mughal Floral Stripe Berry. Cushions in Mughal Meadow Large Pink. Both designs by Botanica Trading.

Image Above: Headboard and cushions upholstered in Jungle Raspberry by Jessica Osborne. 

Mixing Patterns

When it comes to tips for mixing patterns in a space, we spoke to Tigger Hall, designer of Nine Muses Textiles for her expert insights.

"Mixing scale and pattern is one of the key elements of Nine Muse Textiles, the collection is designed and coloured to work cohesively throughout," she explained. "The hero of the scheme is generally the larger pattern and once selected, the other fabrics are selected to bring a specific feel – whether it's warmth, vibrancy or excitement. We feel it is important for rooms to always have an element of surprise and wit and mixing patterns is a brilliant way of achieving this."


Images above: (left) Valance in Antique Indienne Large Linen on 023, Cushions in Mosses  01 Original and Riband 45 Forest Aqua. (right)  Headboard in Old Block 03 Tan and cushions in Croc Spot and Stitch. All designs by Nine Muses Textiles.

In Need of A Performance fabric?

When it comes to choosing fabrics for outdoor spaces or high-traffic areas in your home, there are many important factors to consider beyond just the visual aesthetic. High-performance fabrics have been carefully designed to last longer in harsh environmental conditions such as strong sunlight and hold their integrity even with frequent usage, and can often be the ideal choice for upholstering those pieces that call for extra durability. 

Read more about performance fabrics in our blog post here . . . 

Images above: Performance fabric designs by Walter G