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Expert advice: How to use patterned fabric

Interior designer, Peter Grech, who specialises in creating spaces with oodles of layers and texture shares his tips

Here at Linwood, we love working with both established interior decorators and the new stars of the design world. Peter Grech, who recently appeared in Interior Design Masters – the BBC show that sees talented designers compete for the number one spot as a commercial interior designer – falls into the later, and we think he’s one to watch. Peter, who has a design practice in Cheshire, loves Linwood’s fabrics and wallpapers, so we asked him to pick his favourites and offer a few insider styling tips you can steal for your own homes.

 

Ric Rac in Ultramarine

 

This is a great pattern with a geometric base, but with a soft organic feel. I love how it harks back to a block-print, adding interest without being overwhelming. The printed velvet is super lush and can be used on upholstery as well as other soft furnishings; it also has the added benefit of being stain resistant.


I suggest using it in combination with other larger-scale designs. As this design only has one main colour, it means you can be flexible with your parings. One approach would be to keep it toned down, as in this example above, with light neutrals and darker indigos for a classic look. This fabric would also look wonderful on a cushion with a navy brush border fringe and a neutral woven back. Alternatively, contrast it with mustards and pinks for a more playful approach.

 

Jungle Jive in Navy

 

This stunning velvet based on a 1930s design has so much character. I used it recently in a project and the client totally fell in love with it – as I did. This is a great velvet for a statement piece of upholstery or a fabulous set of curtains. In my client’s project, we used it as a curtain fabric and paired it with similar blues – the accents were light and we added dark naturals such as a mid-tone wood floor.


When mixing it with colours you could take our approach – which was to keep things pared back thereby allowing the fabric to shine. Or, you could use more of the accent colours – the pinks and greens – to tie the room together.


I would use this as the largest pattern in a room, mixing it with at least two smaller patterns or semi-plain fabrics.

 

 

Rumi in Smoky

 

I adore the soft mystical rolling hills on this patterned wallpaper. It reminds me of a Japanese painting and I find it very calming. Using a wallpaper like this in your home might not be for the faint-hearted but it’s a good starting point if you love pattern but want to ease yourself into it. You could also use this paper to fill in sections of panelling or paper just the ceiling (just beware of where you place top and bottom as it will affect the way you see it in the space).


If I were to use this in a bedroom, I would pair it with darker colours and soft lavender tones to create a super calming space. Or up the energy with a stunning teal and mustard combination.


Note the grey has some soft green undertones, so keep this in mind when creating your colour scheme.

 

Bangkok Nights in Midnight

 

This beautiful linen fabric is printed in the most lovely, golden palm print on a stunning off-black background. I also used this fabric recently in a client’s space and it was the star of the show. We painted the whole room including the ceiling – a greyed off-green, which created this forest/jungle feel, and these curtains added to that drama. Instead of a standard pair of curtains, we created one large curtain that was drawn to one side with a very soft swag to add to the drama. The palm design worked a treat.


This pattern comes in a variety of colours, but this is my favourite – it’s the most versatile. We used it in a dramatic and moody space to great effect, but you could pair it with lighter walls. Just remember to keep using the off-black throughout your room for a cohesive feel.

 

Niva in Smoke

 

If you aren’t that keen on patterned fabrics, why not go for a semi-plain upholstery fabric such as Niva. Linwood has a variety of choices of semi-plain and plains that would suit anyone’s taste. It’s a great option when you do not want too many clashing designs.


Niva is very subtle and will always be in fashion. It comes in 28 colours, so you know you will get the perfect match. I love this geometric design, it’s so versatile. I would use this on larger pieces of upholstery, as this will allow the design to stand out without looking too busy.

  

Olivia in Cinnamon

 

I am obsessed with vintage Persian carpets, and when I first saw this matt velvet inspired by antique rugs, I fell head over heels in love. You can use it on a bespoke cushion or on a footstool or go all out and create lush-interlined curtains across your whole wall for a really opulent look.


This pattern is intricate and organic but also quite abstract – it reminds me of a dream like representation of a Persian rug rather than a reprint of one. I feel this fabric will work best in a traditional or rustic setting. Pairing it with cooler colours to allow the Olivia velvet to stand out as the showpiece in a high contrast scheme is my preference. But you could also use a naturals colour scheme to create a calmer, worldly vibe.

 

Cosmos Argo in Earth

 

 

I adore this woven fabric and its abstract wood grain effect pattern. It is the perfect choice when you want something not too loud, but not too bashful. It would look great in a classic interior scheme that needs a contemporary twist. It can also be used successfully in smart mid-century schemes, particularly to upholster vintage sofas and armchairs.


In a classic room, I would pair this weave with a silver-toned brush fringe in an overstuffed scatter cushion or bolster. In a more contemporary scheme, use it to upholster a gorgeous mid-century chair or ottoman. The colour is the perfect grey, with warm taupe undertones, it will be easy to match with most colours and the abstract pattern makes its use super versatile.

 

Kerplunk in Steel Grey

 

This design on this printed velvet brings together geometric shapes in a softer presentation. Inspired by a retro boardgame, it would look great on a contemporary sofa. It has a lovely depth that just makes you want to delve deeper into the stunning pattern.


I want to use this on a standout ottoman or chaise with contrast piping. With its colour variation on blue tones, it is such an easy velvet to work into your scheme. Pair it with a darker navy blue and rose accents or contrast it with paprika or burnt orange and black accents. It looks beautiful on its own but can also be mixed with stronger geometrics.

 

 

Fable Aesop in Green

 

The vibrancy and playfulness of this printed velvet fabric is so appealing. The pattern is inspired by classical Persian art, featuring riders on horseback, wild animals and exotic birds. Due to the pattern being on quite a large scale I recommend using it on statement pieces of furniture or curtains to allow full appreciation of the stunning fabric.


Use it as a key design in a room and let it unlock and guide your colour choices. Try it with smaller primitive geometric patterns and batik style weaves. If you used this with fabric styles from all over the world it would create an interesting and eclectic collection, making the space visually captivating and a joy to behold.

 

Polka in Midnight

 

I love a weave, specifically, I love this weave. So much so that I used it on my bespoke headboard at home. It looks like a geographical survey, and it feels wonderfully organic and impactful. The fact that the pattern is relatively busy makes it great for pieces that you are going to be close up to, such as cushions, headboards and statement armchairs. It also helps keep the pattern contained and doesn’t let it take over. Pieces of furniture that have soft undulating shapes – to mirror the curves in the actual weave – would work well with this fabric. This monochromatic pattern is so versatile – you can pair it with virtually any colour.

 

Peter’s design practice is in a market town in Cheshire, please visit thespacemaker.net for more details.