Interior Design Styles Defined: French Country

An artful balance of elegance and old-world flair, combined with a touch of nature, is what makes French country design so popular. Soft and refined, this style is sophisticated in an unassuming way, always proving to be warm, inviting and fresh.

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Elements of French Country Design Style

Here are some elements that contribute to the beauty of French country design:

  • Wood tones
  • Multiple fabric patterns
  • Colors derived from nature
  • Textural surfaces
  • Hand-painted and/or gently weathered furniture
  • Statement lighting
  • Fresh flowers and folk art

Interior

The interior of a French country home reflects the look and feel of southern France, which is beautiful, casual and relaxing. Furnishings have a rustic elegance, giving the space character and charm. Windows are adorned with ceiling-to-floor drapes or Roman shades, sometimes accented with fringe or lace. Lighting is decorative, yet functional—mainly chandeliers or hanging lanterns. Wood tones are predominant within the space, which contributes to its warmth. Textures are abundant and celebrated. Many accents have a purpose (i.e. wall-hung plates, baskets, candelabras, jugs, etc, that can actually be put to use), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a touch of whimsy. Folk art is quite popular within a French country home, but the most popular accent might have to be the colorful rooster.  Finally, one of the finishing touches you’re sure to find are flowers—specifically ones native to the location where the design style originated.

Furniture

Furnishings within a French country home are simple, yet stylish; elegant, yet functional. While French country pieces are predominantly unadorned, it isn’t uncommon to see items such as fruit, roosters or floral patterns to be hand-painted on them. When it comes to wood, oak or pine are often primary choices. Iron, metal, and leather are compatible choices for finishing off the look.

Colors

Colors in a French country home will often reflect nature. Subdued hues of blue, red, green and yellow are used frequently, as well as other neutral tones (and the occasional lavender accent). It’s these warm, neutral colors that create the relaxed and casual environment French country design style is known for.

Textures and Patterns

French country design relies heavily on visual depth. Texture is introduced into the space through surfaces like stone, stucco, plaster, metal, woven rugs, fluffy trim and distressed wood. In regards to fabric, several patterns are used. Popular ones include stripes, gingham, plaid, checks, and florals.

College Spaces: Spice It Up with Fabric

When you head off to college, a dorm room or apartment often feels like anything but home. It doesn’t have to stay that way though. Instead of leaving it a cold space lacking in personality, spice it up with some fabric.

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It doesn’t really matter if you use a lot or if you use a little, simply incorporating some fabric you love into the space will make your current dwelling feel much more comfortable. Let’s take a look at some ways to make the space more personal.

Give the bedroom some bling

From studying to sleeping, it’s safe to say you’ll be spending a lot of time in your bedroom—and putting some time and energy into enhancing the look of it will make the space feel like a place you feel at home in.

A great place to start is with some updated bedding. It can be something as simple as sheets in a fun, colorful pattern, to something a bit more detailed, such as custom bedding. It’s amazing how much impact some new fabric choices can make. Make sure to add some accent pillows for good measure.

To top it off, consider a fabric covered headboard accented with some nail head trim. If that’s out of the budget, go for some DIY fabric panels that can serve as a headboard. Short ones can be hung up while long panels can simply stand up behind the head of the bed. You can even hang a decorative rug behind your bed to serve as a headboard as well.

Be sure not to neglect the windows if you have any. Hanging window treatments will give you the privacy you need, and getting them in a color or pattern you love will finish off the room nicely.

If you happen to think the walls are bland, create an accent wall by covering it in fabric! Often, you aren’t allowed to paint or put up wallpaper, but there shouldn’t be a problem with fabric. Not only is it easy to apply, it’s easy to remove.

Make your mark in the main space

If you have an apartment rather than a dorm, this part mainly applies to you. It can be much easier adding touches of fabric to the living area if you live by yourself, but it can be done even when roommates are involved. If that’s the case, simply put your heads together and pick fabrics together.

Some ways fabric can spice up your college apartment are:

  • An upholstered chair or cushion
  • Window treatments
  • Fabric covered accent wall
  • Accent pillows and throws
  • Area rugs
  • Wall art (i.e. fabric panels or framed pieces of fabric)

Think about what you (or you and your roommates) would like to see in the space and then make it happen!

Looking for a fabric store near you in Norman? Come by our Interior Fabrics location in Oklahoma City, OK for the best deals on discount designer fabrics for drapery, upholstery and more! Show your school spirit with crimson and cream drapes, accent pillows, upholstery, and more.  Don’t know where to start?  Our team has oodles of experience and can help guide you every step of the way.

Room for Play: Creating a Fun Kid Space

While the act of playing is essential to a child’s development, it doesn’t mean you have to designate an entire room as the “play area”. In fact, kids don’t have to have a large space or a lot of things, to be creative. Even the smallest of homes can accommodate a budding imagination. It doesn’t matter if this area is in their bedroom, in the central part of the house, or in a tiny corner of the kitchen or basement, it is possible to carve out a fun little space your child can call his or her own. Here are some tips on how to do it without putting in too much effort.

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Take their interests to heart

What does your little one like to do? Maybe your son likes building blocks and all things that go vroom. Maybe your daughter loves to color or play dress up. Perhaps he or she enjoys reading books, doing puzzles or painting. Whatever their main interest is, make it the most accessible in the space. Take notice on what most time is spent on and then use it as inspiration for filling or decorating the space.

Make it colorful

Kids love color, so be sure to incorporate it into the space. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take much to make them happy. It could be something as simple as painting a table and chair set in colorful chalkboard paint, or adding a rug with a bright, fun pattern. If you have any upholstered pieces, try your hand at recovering them in kid-friendly fabrics. Is there a window in the space? If so, this is a great opportunity to incorporate some fun color by hanging window treatments they’ll love.

Keep it clutter-free

Kids tend to accumulate things very quickly, and often times, it can easily get underfoot. Instead of having it out in eyesight, opt to tuck it away in a storage piece. Shelving is probably the best option, but it’s not the only one. There are some many decorative boxes made of multiple materials that can fit the bill of playful and functional. Toy boxes are also good options for keeping the floors through the house a bit cleaner. Have a room with multiple kids? Try to purchase multi-functional pieces of furniture that offer storage solutions, like beds with drawers or ottomans that open.

Visit either of our two Scottsdale, Az area locations, a quick trip from Phoenix, to check out the latest designer fabrics your kids will love at prices you will love.

Three Nursery Decorating Tips on a Budget

Let’s face it—having kids can be expensive. Thankfully, the younger the kid, the less particular they are about their surroundings, which is why it is more than possible to decorate a nursery on a budget. Now don’t let the word budget scare you. This does not mean your baby’s space will cold and empty—it simply means that what’s in the room will be carefully selected in a way where less will be more. Let’s take a look at how you can create a beautiful abode for baby without breaking the bank.

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Focus more on need and less on want

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that babies grow out of things quickly, which is why it’s best to focus more on the necessities, rather than the flair. He doesn’t have to have that hand-painted mural. She doesn’t have to have that designer layette. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but if you’re looking to save some cash, focus on what you need more than what you want.

Get comfortable with using used items

The best way to save money, especially on the big items, is to get them second hand. If you have family members or friends with hand-me-downs to pass on, take advantage of them if those items will work in your space. No hand-me-downs? No problem! Look online on sites such as Craigslist to see who in your area has items to sell. Check local flea markets, thrift stores, consignment stores or garage sales. Often times, a good washing and a fresh coat of paint is all you’ll need to give new life to an old piece. You can even ask friends to borrow items they’re storing until they need it again. As long as the item meets current safety specifications, you should be fine. If you need to buy new, look for furniture pieces that can grow with your baby (i.e. convertible crib and dresser/changing table).

Add in color and visual interest affordably

Babies love color, but as mentioned earlier, he or she doesn’t have to have a fancy mural painted on the wall to be happy. If you’re an avid DIY-er, then fabric will be your friend. Find some fabric in a great print and get busy making things like bedding and window treatments. If you aren’t, make use of sites like Etsy for those little extras. Continue the theme by framing some of the fabric (or complimentary fabric) for wall art. If space allows, find an area rug that suits the room.

If you are looking for wholesale fabrics near you in Katy, TX, we have just what you need! Come by either of our locations in Houston where you will find everything from comfortable cotton fabric, to luxurious dupioni silks and even some of the best faux leathers!

Four Pointers for Perfect Pillows

 Pillows are an excellent way to finish off a design, yet they tend to be one of the most difficult things to incorporate. Maybe it’s because they come in so many shapes and sizes. Perhaps it’s because they come in a variety of colors, patterns and materials. Whatever the reason, topping a space off with pillows should be fun, not frightful. Here we’ll look at some pointers for getting those pillows just right.

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Price

One of the first things to take into consideration is how much you’re willing to spend. Some accent pillows are reasonably priced, but others can be quite expensive. Think about how many pillows you’ll need in the space and what your budget will allow before you head to the home décor store. A good general rule to follow is one to two pillows per chair and three to five per sofa.

Fabric & Fill

Before you decide on fabric you must know the purpose of your pillows. The material you choose will depend greatly on whether your pillows will be in a formal setting or in an informal setting. For example, if the pillows will be in a family room, with children or pets running about, then you’d want to avoid hard to clean, or easy to damage materials like silk or velvet. Instead, you’d be better off with something a lot more durable, such as cotton, or even an outdoor-grade fabric. Whatever fabric you choose, be sure to check the label so you clean them properly.

When it comes to fill, determine how you prefer the pillow to feel. For a softer, squishy feel, stick with a feather or down fill. If you prefer the pillow to feel stiffer, go for foam or a synthetic fill that holds its shape better.

Shape & Size

The great thing about pillows is that you can get them in a variety of shapes. A nice mix of square, circle and oblong pillows can be very eye-catching, so don’t feel as though you are limited to one particular shape. In regards to size, pillows considered “standard” are 18 inches. Smaller pillows (16 in) are also available, as well as oversized (24 in) pillows. The size of your sofa (or chair) and how many pillows will take up the space, will determine what will look best.

Colors, Pattern & Texture

Your existing furniture and color palette will ultimately guide your pillow purchases. You want the pillows to make sense within the room, so evaluate the space, choosing pillows that have colors and patterns that work. Pillows are a great way to enhance the textural aspect of the room, so think about how much you need. As a general rule, pillows that are nubby or rougher in texture provide a nice contrast to smooth upholstery, while smooth, shiny pillows add visual interest to soft, fuzzy chairs and couches.

When you are looking for decorative pillows and fabric near you in Mansfield, stop by our Cutting Corners location in Fort Worth, TX on South Hulen Street for great deals on discount designer fabrics. You will find something for every home interior project from gorgeous drapery fabrics to colorful accent pillows to make every home design project dream become reality.

Spotlight Interior Designer: Karen Fortier

I love creating fantasies! My daughter, who lives in Dallas, has picked up the same ability for it and she does it with beautiful parties for her children.

I believe a good decorator is someone who loves to fantasize—and can then deliver that vision in the form of beauty in the home. Everyone benefits when a decorator and her client connect. Interior Fabrics always keeps up with the latest trends and always seems to be thinking of “fantasy places” because I am always able to make people’s ideas come togethinterior-designer-karen-fortierer with the wide array of selections they offer.

I now live in Houston, TX, my new home since Katrina (another “lemonade story”)—and whereas the “ball gown drape” is not asked for as often here, I am still having fun creating ambiance in even the most challenging places.

I’ve been blessed with loads of energy and ideas and I love sharing them with my clients. I look forward to possibly writing on this blog again in case there’s any interest of my philosophies and fantasies. Perhaps then, I’ll be able to talk about my two precious sons, their wives, and my five grandchildren… Yes, decorators can be grandmothers and create beautiful fantasies (you should see what I can do with a nursery)!

It’s been two  years since my precious and hysterically funny father passed away—and as I sit writing this abbreviated autobiography, I slightly tear up at the thought of how proud he would be of me…the class clown giving advice! We were three sisters and my dad thought everything we did was awesome. My parents raised three southern bells that were taught when life deals you and lemon then bless your heart, you best make lemonade. And thus went life…

One of my best batches of “lemonade” was created in the early 80’s when the oil business tanked (sound familiar?)—and everyone had become resourceful (we had three children in grade school at the time). All of my friends who were teachers went back to teaching and lawyers went back to the courtrooms. I, on the other hand, only had the innate ability to glue glitter on poster boards, decorate pretty dinner tables, and rearrange furniture—none of which, were big revenue makers at that time.

HGTV didn’t exist, and since Oprah beat me to the punch as the next big daytime celebrity (ha ha), I figured I’d better start making some lemonade! And this is what reinvented me—“Decorator on a Shoestring” was born. With tight budgets all around, the title seemed fitting to me. My service? Making old things look new for only twenty-five dollars. And it took off! I started taking apart old curtains, tying bed sheets with ribbons, and making cozy niches in everyone’s homes. One of my favorite things to do is to create a pretty master bedroom—a pretty look you might conjure up in your dreams when reading Danielle Steel romance novel—and I became pretty successful at it. I always laughed at the thought of how many marriages I might have saved by giving couples a beautiful bedroom.

When I started my business I was living in Lafayette, LA, and I was lucky enough to enjoy having my mother, the woman responsible for teaching me the love of beautiful things, work with me for the first 15 years. I also had the privilege of working with a lovely woman named Pearl, who is now deceased. Pearl was my drapery fabricator, and it was she who taught me how to measure and buy fabrics.

Within a few years, my husband and I moved to uptown New Orleans. The oil business was on the rise and silk drapes were all the rage. Uptown New Orleans homes, with all their old world charm, were blank canvases just waiting to be decorated. Two twenty yards of silk purchased from Interior Fabrics dressed up a window so well, they could just about serve as a ball gown for Mardi Gras (think Scarlett in Gone with the Wind). My creativity went wild! It was so easy to create beauty—simply adding details like fringe and pleats gave you windows to die for.

My theory has always been pretty things and pretty places make people calmer and nicer. I love showing someone how beautiful any space can become. If the budget is small, a good place to begin the beautifying process is the dining room. This room tends to have fewer windows than other rooms in the home, which ends up requiring less fabric. It’s an incentive starter—a pair of drapes and a couple of votive candles make any dining room look like a five star restaurant. It’ll be place in your home to retreat with that special someone, when the babysitter cancels on your date night!

3 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Laundry Room

We spend countless hours in the laundry room—and while it’s meant to be a functional space, that doesn’t mean it has to look unpleasant. Laundry rooms have come a long way and there’s no reason you can’t make it just as nice as any other room in your home if that’s what you want to do. Here are some laundry room design tips that can help lighten your load.

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Make it pleasing to the eye

Since you spend so much time in the laundry room, make it personal. Hang some fun artwork or laundry-themed accessories. Use fabric every chance you get (on the wall, on the windows, around the base of a sink, etc). Install backsplash. Add pops of color on the wall, on the countertops and even on the cabinets if that’s what you love. The laundry room is often set apart from the rest of the rooms in the house, so if you want to decorate in colors that don’t complement the rest of your home, go for it!

Design with your needs in mind

If your current laundry room doesn’t suit you, sit down and think about what you need to function properly. If your laundry room is off the garage or mudroom, or even in the basement, you might need a utility sink. If you’re a pet owner, perhaps you need a small tub to wash them in. Will you need a place to drip dry clothes? What about to iron them? Perhaps your washer and dryer will need to be stacked or raised off the floor for easier accessibility. Maybe you need a floor drain. Do you need an additional fridge or a new location for the deep freezer? Thinking about things such as this will ensure a suitable space.

Include ample storage

The laundry room is a great place to sneak in some extra storage. If you have the room, add some extra cabinetry that can store items that may be cluttering the rest of the house. If you don’t have much space, make the most of what you have, utilizing as much of the area as you can without feeling crowded. Decorative baskets are a stylish way to stash items out of the way. There’s no reason to spend a fortune on your storage solutions. Keep your eyes peeled for mix-and-match pieces from local thrift stores, or reduced price items from builder’s surplus stores.

 

Get On Board: Use Pinterest to Guide Your Decorating

In years past, it was common for people to fill file folders full of inspiration images pulled from catalogs, books, and magazines. Today, things are a bit easier—and can be done with the touch of a finger. It’s likely you’ve heard of—and are already using—the popular social bookmarking site called Pinterest to streamline your style and ideas. If you aren’t however, and are looking for a clutter-free way to collect your ideas, then Pinterest is a great way to do it.

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If you aren’t sure what your design style is, start there—and do it without really giving it much thought. Simply start pinning images you like at first glance and then go back to evaluate your collection. What is it that you like about each image? What’s the common denominator between the images? You might have a variety of styles represented within the images and that’s okay. With that said, you need to pick which style grabs you the most unless you find a way to blend styles in a way that makes sense.

Once you’ve honed in on your style, add more boards so you can expand your pins. Search out color schemes, popular patterns and fabrics, furniture styles, current trends, eco-friendly options, or whatever else you think would make your ideal home. Make notes on each pin as to what you liked about it. If for some reason you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, add the “pin it” button to your bookmarks bar so you can pin any image you come across while visiting another website. And don’t forget to share pins with friends, colleagues or clients if you want or need feedback.

How you organize is up to you. You can create one main board or you can break up each room of your home into separate boards. Just make sure you aren’t pinning just to pin, but rather pinning because it’s something you truly love. If you find yourself with too many pins, thin them out as needed.

There is a wealth of pinners out there, so it might be hard to know where to start. Some great pinners worth following are HGTV, Pantone, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Décor, Robert Allen Designs and The Land of Nod. Although they don’t have a Pinterest page as of yet, Houzz is full of beautiful images, which can be pinned to your boards.

Pinterest is supposed to be fun, so have fun with it. Happy pinning!

When you are looking for designer fabrics to make your Pinterest inspired design plans come to live, stop by our Interior Fabrics location in Austin, Tx, just a short drive from Round Rock, for great deals on discount designer fabrics. You will find something for every home interior project from gorgeous drapery fabrics to light weight cottons and luxurious Dupioni Silks.

Picking the Right Fabric for Your Sofa in 3 Easy Steps

Picking the Right Fabric for Your Sofa

The sofa tends to be the centerpiece of the room it’s in—and in most cases, gets more wear and tear than any other pieces surrounding it. This is why it’s so important to have it covered in a fabric fit for the use that it gets. Whether you plan to buy a new sofa or simply reupholster the one you have, there are some essential facts about sofa fabrics you should know before you take the next step.

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Your upholstery fabric will determine the longevity of your sofa. As you wade through your options, keep your eyes open for quality fabric that will stand up to all that goes on in your home.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you shop. The first one is that fabrics with woven patterns often hold up better than fabrics with patterns printed on them. The second thing is that raised, textural patterns wear down quickly with heavy use. The third thing is that higher thread count means higher durability. Depending on how much use your sofa typically gets will determine whether or not any of these three things are important.

Steps to take when choosing fabric

  1. Go for medium to heavy weight fabric. Even if your sofa doesn’t get a ton of use, a medium weight fabric is a nice choice. The durability of upholstery fabric is based on how many double rubs it can sustain. Anything below 10,000 double rubs is considered lightweight and won’t handle much wear. Anything above 15,000 double rubs is considered heavyweight, so if your sofa is in a high-traffic family room, the higher the better.
  2. Make fabric color part of the decision process. Think about where the sofa will be. If it’s in a room that gets frequent visits from small children or pets, then a white colored couch isn’t really ideal. If there’s a certain mood you’re trying to create, find the color that will do it. Big transformations can occur just by adding a splash of color to your home.
  3. Don’t be afraid of patterns. Depending on the purpose of your sofa, a pattern can be just what you need. Solid sofas are fine, but don’t shy away from patterns, or even bold patterns for that matter. Just make sure that the pattern doesn’t conflict with the shape of your sofa.

Common Sofa Fabrics

While you can cover a sofa in pretty much anything, there are some materials more popular than others. The most common sofa materials include leather, vinyl, microfiber, velvet, and cotton (plain, textured and cotton-poly blended). Each has their pros and cons but knowing where and how your sofa will be used should make the decision a bit easier.

If you are looking for sofa fabric near you in Covington, we have just what you need! Come by our location in New Orleans where you will find everything from comfortable cotton fabrics and even some of the best faux leathers!

3 Steps to Personalizing Walls with Fabric Panels

Wall art has a way of finishing off the look of a space. Unfortunately, it can add up quickly if you have a lot of walls to fill. Thankfully, there’s a way you can put some extra flair in your home that’s both unique and stylish: fabric wall panels. Here we’ll break down how to make your own fabric panels step-by-step. By following these simple instructions, you’ll be able to make your own wall art for a fraction of the cost.

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The first step is to pick your fabric. In regards to fabric panels, your best bet is to pick a fabric of medium weight. Medium weight fabrics are ideal for this type of project—it’s bendable, without being flimsy.

The next step is to gather your materials. Once you have your choice of fabric, canvas stretchers and a staple gun, you’re pretty much ready to begin. If you’d prefer to create your base with wood, that’s fine, but if you’re looking for convenience, then canvas stretchers are the way to go. You also have the option to stretch your fabric over a foam core rather than a wood one. In this case, you probably won’t need the staple gun. Some glue should suffice.

Finally, it’s time to create your fabric panel. Before you set the canvas stretchers or foam down, layout the fabric and position it in the manner you want it displayed. Cut your fabric, leaving it a bit bigger than the frame. An inch and a half to two inches is usually a safe estimate of how much excess you’ll need to wrap around the edges. Start by putting a staple (or drop of glue) in the center on one of the longer sides and then do it again on the opposite side. After that, do the same thing to the shorter sides. Continue working toward the corners, tightly tugging the fabric as you go. At the corners, fold the fabric as you would gift wrap paper and then staple it into place. If you’d rather not stretch the fabric over the frame, another option would be to neatly cut the fabric to fit the front of it.

Now it’s time to hang it up! If you’d like a visual, check out this great tutorial.

Patterns with Pizzazz

This year, patterns like gingham, feathers and florals are popular. Creating a fabric panel using one of these patterns is an easy way to incorporate a trend without making a huge commitment. We have several fabrics that are sure to be perfect for your décor, so be sure to check them out.

Looking for a fabric store near you in Norman? Come by our Interior Fabrics location in Oklahoma City, OK located on N. May Avenue for the best deals on discount designer fabrics for drapery, upholstery and more! You are sure to find loads of fabric, trim, and accessories for every home interior project whether it is gorgeous drapery fabrics, light weight cottons or luxurious Dupioni Silks.