Confused how to mix fabric patterns in your home? Not sure when to use natural materials vs. synthetic materials? In this nationally televised series of PBS Creative Living with Sheryl Borden, Kimball Starr is the featured expert, showing how to mix patterns, color, and texture to liven up your interiors.
During this first of 3 segments, just 4 minutes and 26 seconds long, Kimball teaches how to mix fabric patterns in a contemporary San Francisco dining room. By mixing different upholstery fabrics on the dining chairs, the interior décor can be either formal or casual, and either colorful or subdued.
Video transcript below:
— [Announcer] With your host Sheryl Borden.
— [Sheryl] Kimball, thank you so much for being with us today. I know when I have quilters on they’ll always say– the question they always get asked the most is, how do they combine textures and colors and stripes and patterns and everything in a quilt? And I guess you work with a lot of same situations when you’re doing interior designing, don’t you?
— [Kimball] Absolutely. It’s just in a bigger space.
— Uh huh. And probably a bit more expensive, too.
— So, you wanna think this all out ahead of time. So, how do you go about it? How do you work with someone?
— Well, the first thing, I think it’s important to have some sort of underlying theme or concept for your space; whether it’s a botanical theme, or you want a really romantic, rich color kind of mood, just so that everything that you pick ties together. And then you should think about the activities you’re doing in the space; are you gonna be watching football, are the dogs going to be running all over the furniture, are kids gonna be throwing up on it. [laughs]
— You know, everything.
— Right. So then you need really hard-wearing fabrics. Or you would like to entertain and have really fine fabrics and really fancy cocktail parties, then you could use something like silks.
— I see. Okay. So, those are all questions you would ask the homeowner, or they would tell you when they’re ready to decide.
— That’s right. And in general, for me, I like… linens are great. They can be used in a relaxed environment, and they can also be dressed up for a formal environment.
— Oh… So some work multiple tasks.
— Absolutely. Velvets are beautiful for their very classic look to them. And if you do need things that are really hard-wearing then that would be synthetics, polyester or something like an ultrasuede, which is a polyester. And then for a lot of sun exposure, solution-dyed acrylics are excellent for outdoor fabrics.
— Oh, yeah. ‘Cause you don’t want something that’s gonna fade in the first 30 minutes it’s out there.
— That’s right. And silks are beautiful but they are very delicate. And if they’re exposed to direct sunlight they will rot and will start to disintegrate.
— Yes, just like with clothing.
— That’s right, that’s right. So, here I have a dining room where I use multiple colors for the chairs. And this is just to show–
— It’s kind of fun.
— Yeah, it is. And it’s just to show you don’t have to do everything the same color, and it’s okay. With the rug, what we have a brown, a chocolate brown with a light blue stripe, and then teals and blues, and then a pattern. So, just to kind of show you that example, I brought some fun colors, and this is very fun to look at. So, here we have a stripe with a teal color and a brown. And we have more of a curvilinear pattern, and then a solid. So, this is something with a dining area, you could mix these three. And the reason that these work is if you look at the ground color here, the background color, which is kind of a taupe-y brown, it’s the same color in here. So, that’s why these colors–
— They work.
— That’s right. And the patterns work together.
— So, you repeat a portion of it?
— If you find fabrics that have a common color, that’s very helpful. And they’re the same scale. They feel like they’re about the same proportion in the size.
— One’s not a big floral or something and then a tiny little print.
— That’s right. And that can work in a room; like if you have a pillow, and then you have the sofa for the large-scale pattern and the small scale pattern. But because in this case dining chairs that are right next to each other, and it’s the same piece of furniture, I like to keep them similar scale.
— I see. That makes sense.
— So, you could do this, you could do it like have two chairs like this, you could have your head of your chairs and the side chairs of this color. And then here is just one other example illustrating the same thing. This is a really– There’s so many amazing, there’s so many amazing fabrics that are coming out now, this cut velvet and viscose. And if you want– If this is little flashy for you, you could just do this for your arm chairs at the head of the table, and then you could accent it with–
— More subtle.
— A really beautiful beige linen.
— Oh, I love those.
— And it’ll be very elegant. Now, if you’re somebody like me who likes a lot of color…
— I like it too. That’s beautiful.
— You can do your side chairs in something like this beautiful green velvet. And you can even mix. Or if you’re not a fan of color then you can just do two colors in that.
— Oh… These are gorgeous.
— Aren’t they?
— So, you’re repeating colors that’s, and that’s sort of what they talk about in quilting too. It works if you repeat some of those.
Parts 2 & 3 will be posted next, so stay tuned!
Kimball Starr is an award-winning San Francisco interior designer, whose residential interiors have been featured on national television and globally published in a series of hardcover books. Diverse spaces spanning contemporary to traditional interiors show her abilities. Contact Kimball today for a complimentary consultation!