Five Tips to Making Spaces Look Bigger Than They Really Are

Sometimes we have no control over how big our home is. And in those cases where we’re faced with small spaces, it takes a little creativity to make it appear bigger than what it really is. Make the most of your small spaces by following some of these clever tips and tricks.

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  1. Bring in more light. Lighting can have a huge impact on a room. Utilize as much natural lighting as you can by sticking with sheers on the window. If you’re short on windows, install more lighting if possible, or strategically place more lamps or lighting sources throughout the space.
  1. Choose a lighter color palette. Dark colors don’t always make small spaces look smaller, but they don’t generally make them look bigger. To keep the room looking spacious, stick with lighter hues. Softer shades of white, cream, blue, green, gray and even yellow, in both paint color and fabrics, are ideal choices for making the space look bigger.
  1. Add mirrors to your decor. Mirrors are a great way to open up the space because of all the light they reflect. Hang them close to light sources for maximum effect.
  1. Arrange furniture sensibly and buy multi-functional when able. You don’t have to push furniture up against the wall to give a room more space. In fact, many pieces are best suited in the center or the room, or even at an angle. Take your lifestyle into consideration and layout your furniture in a way that makes sense. When possible, purchase multi-functional pieces. Ottomans or chests that double as a coffee table, and beds with storage drawers are just a couple of examples of pieces that allow for less furniture. Additionally, don’t feel like you have to use small furnishings in the space. One large sofa will make the space feel more open than a bunch of smaller pieces will.
  1. Help the eye move upward. It’s important to remember that a room seems taller when the eye is directed upward. When decorating, take advantage of what vertical space you have, using tall bookcases or shelving, vertically striped wallpaper, or a colorful ceiling.

Remember, small spaces don’t have to be a bad thing. They can actually be quite beautiful and functional. Simply thinking outside the box, and making the most of what you have, can give you that illusion of a larger room.

When you are looking Interior Fabric to make your spaces look bigger near you in Cedar Park, TX, stop by our Interior Fabrics location in Austin, Tx on Burnett Road 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.

Which Design Style Best Suits You?

Decorating a home can be a bit of a challenge if you aren’t familiar with what each design style consists of. Let’s take a look at some popular design styles so you can figure out what suits you and your home best.

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  • Traditional: A relaxed and harmonious style full of classic European décor. Walls are neutral in color, accents are wooden, artwork and accessories are vibrant, and furniture consists of elegant and soft curved lines.
  • Contemporary: Minimalistic, but comfortable. Furniture is streamlined and modern. Color foundation is often neutral with pops of bold colors throughout. Patterns are graphic but subtle.
  • Transitional: A blend of traditional and contemporary. Subtle color palettes, warm wood tones, reflective and shiny furnishings, and an abundance of texture and pattern create a beautiful interior.
  • Eclectic: A mix of several design styles put together with purpose. The look is pulled together with pattern, texture, finish, shape and color. Furnishings are a unique, yet sensible mix of old and new.
  • Country: Rustic and weathered, yet elegant and cozy. The interior is down-to-earth with its display of exposed beams, wood furnishings, handmade pottery and other rustic accents. Hues are often muted, but pops of color add charm.
  • Rustic: A celebration of nature that’s unpretentious and warm. Organic and sustainable is the center of the environment. Wrought iron, rusted metals, elements of nature, repurposed pieces, and natural fabrics are what make this style the beauty it is.
  • Cottage: Comfortable, calming and humble is what makes this design style so special. In a nutshell, it is shabby chic meets country. Colors are light, airy and faded, natural fibers and finishes are abundant, and furnishings are simple, practical and gently aged. Accents are often personal with a touch of whimsical.
  • Industrial: Relatively new to the scene, industrial design style is confident in its celebration of the beauty of bare components. Some elements that make industrial shine are stainless steel, factory-style lighting, exposed concrete and bricks, steel beams, reclaimed wood and unique furniture.
  • Southwestern: A warm and welcoming mix of old and new, earthy and fanciful. Vibrant colors, woven textiles, rustic wood, folk art, pottery, and sturdy furnishings with curved lines make this space perfect for people who have a love for desert landscapes or rustic Old West scenery.

While these certainly aren’t all the design styles to choose from, these are often considered some of the most popular. Hopefully knowing a bit more will make you a bit more comfortable in moving forward when it comes to decorating decisions.

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 fabrics for any design styles you that suits you!

For Windows that Wow, Think Layers

One of the most popular practices these days in regards to window treatments is layering. Not only do you get a lush look with layered treatments, you also get additional functionality such as insulation, light control, and privacy. At the heart of it, there’s one main rule to remember if you wish to get it right: sheer + opaque. Sheers provide daytime privacy without killing the light, while opaque fabrics do their job at night, shutting out the light, warding off drafts and buffering unwanted noise. As long as you stick to that golden rule of layering, you can pretty much run in any direction you want to when it comes to mixing and matching colors, patterns, and textures.

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If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by simply purchasing a double-rod suspension system of your choice, some brackets, and your fabric. When you have those items, as well as your tools, you’re ready to make your windows the star of the room.

Tips & Tricks for Success

  • Double rods use two poles but only one bracket, so it’s best to position brackets two to four inches above the window. Width wise, brackets should be at least 2 to 3 inches out from each side of the window.
  • For rods of different size, use the thinner rod for the sheers since they will hang behind the thicker rod. Place decorative finials on the outer (thicker) rod so they can be seen.
  • Think outside the box with sheers. They come in a wide array of colors, weights and patterns, so there’s no need to stick with a simple white unless you want to. Sheers in a different color can change the look of a room as light shines through them, and sheers in a print make a bold statement and showcase your decorative side.
  • Adding tiebacks, holdbacks, medallions, or other hardware can give you a finished, designer look.
  • Blackout panels should be used as your opaque choice if you are someone who needs complete light blockage at night.
  • Think of using lace curtains as an alternative to traditional sheers.
  • A third rod, as well as a textured valance or shade, can add an extra punch of depth to the space.

Layering draperies seems to be a practice that will be sticking around for quite some time. It takes a bit more effort to layer your treatments, but the final wow factor you can get from doing so will be well worth it.

Visit either of our two Scottsdale, Az area locations, a quick trip from Tempe, to check out the latest designer fabrics, trim, and hardware at wholesale prices.

Cool & Comfortable Outdoor Living

The time for outdoor living varies by location, but if you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to say your time has arrived. In today’s world, patios and porches have essentially become an extension of the home. This means homeowners are investing more time and money into upgrading their outdoor spaces to reflect the style within their interior walls. Because outdoor living spaces have become a central focus, manufacturers are continuously producing innovative fabrics that allow people to express their style to the fullest without compromising durability.

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Finding Fabric that Fits and Making it Last

Your fabric needs to not only fit your space, but your location as well. Take your climate into consideration and think about the elements your furniture will be exposed to. So many indoor/outdoor fabrics exist, but if you live in extra harsh climates, it might be best to stick with something that’s strictly outdoors.

While most outdoor fabrics are hardy, they still require some maintenance. There are a few things you can do to preserve the lifespan of your outdoor fabrics. One thing is to brush or vacuum your cushions regularly to keep them clean. Be sure to read any labels before heavy cleaning. Another thing to do is remove or cover pillows and cushions during extreme weather. If these items happen to get soaked, prop them up against a wall so all the moisture can drain out.

What’s Trending Now

Outdoor living trends are becoming just as popular as interior trends these days and the same rule applies: don’t jump on large trends unless you’re certain you can live with it for a while. This year, however, offers three trends that will probably stick around for several years to come. Let’s take a look at what they are:

  1. Bringing the indoors out. As mentioned earlier, outdoors spaces are becoming a full extension of the house. Outdoor furniture is upholstered and stylish and extra seating, including multi-functional ottomans and poufs, are a must. Outdoor curtains are also a hit in spaces that allow for them.
  2. Natural elements. Organic and sustainable are two words that are becoming the focus of home decorating these days—and being that you’re outside, using elements from nature makes sense. Woods like cedar, teak and wooden wicker will be hot this year, in both seating and tables.
  3. Eclectic mix. No need to go monochromatic. This year is all about mixing it up! Bold colors, paired with earthy tones are the ideal way to create a stylish outdoor space. Don’t forget to mix patterns and textures or add trim and embellishments.

If you are looking for outdoor fabrics near you in Houston, we have just what you need! Come by our Interior Fabrics location on Fondren Road where you will find a wide selection on fresh and colorful outdoor fabric.

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.

Come visit us at one of our retail locations or online! Looking for one of our fabric stores near you in Addison, TX? Stop by our Cutting Corners location in Dallas, Tx for great deals on discount designer fabrics. You will find something for every home drapery and upholstery project from lightweight cotton and luxurious Dupioni Silk.

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 Denton? Come by our Cutting Corners location in Dallas, located on Midway Road for the best deals on discount designer fabrics for drapery, upholstery and more. Show your school spirit by getting some green and white fabrics to accent your new room! Not sure where to start? We have a friendly, knowledgeable staff who are willing to help.

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!


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