There are a number of ways to approach using fabric so that you don’t end up looking like you’ve taken your guide from the circus. Again everything is personal, and how we react to fabric comes from within, but much like the colour, the eye does react to balance and harmony.
Fabrics can be over whelming when working up a room so a few tricks…
Pick a base colour, a neutral that you can then build on. For example, a sofa in a washed navy, or one thing in the room that is structurally significant and that can give strength. By putting darker colours on this or surrounding this with similar depth in fabrics, the space will feel flat and lifeless. What works best is to add fresh opposing colours – whites, crisp airforce blue, mustards and tans. Don’t be afraid of creating the palette and then adding in the pattern.
A stripe in light tan and textured white cushions backed in a linen with a lumbar cushion in a floral or organic pattern all looks superb on a darker base. Alternatively stay in the same tone but only use pattern; dark sofa, lighter cushions all in floral, herringbone and mixed weave, then a stripe on occasional chairs.
Checks of all shapes and sizes are gorgeous together. The trick here is to not use too many colours, otherwise your room will look like the Scottish Highlands. Again pick your palette and then introduce variations of that tone, pair with some solids and you will have success. With a check I always feel a stronger solid colour with depth works well at founding the pattern and providing contrast.
If you want to stay in the full neutral range, then think tonal only. Depth and strength come through using the same colour with a light and dark either side and adding in a weave that holds both combinations. A good thing to do in this instance is to ground the scheme with some heavier, tonally sympathetic fabrics that punctuate the lighter variances of the monochromatic play on fabric. The use of browns and dark greens are perfect in this instance.
The best results are always taken from what you see around you. Cast your eyes outside or take inspiration from the flower shop as you walk past. Look at those colour next to each other and know if nature can do it so seamlessly, then so can you.