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How to decorate with colourful linen upholstery fabric

Learn to mix, match and maintain vibrant linen upholstery for a lively home decor…
How to decorate with colourful linen upholstery fabric

Embracing colour with linen 

Linwood Fabric | Bibi | Chitgar | Ginger Biscuit


Linen fabric is synonymous with quiet luxury – the deliciously muted interiors’ trend that has been hot on interior designers’ lips of late. Yet, this much-loved and versatile furnishing textile also has a confident and gregarious alter ego; one that leans wholeheartedly towards playful and high-spirited colour. With confidence and design at its heart, it's no less luxurious but oh-so joyful.  


Colourful linen fabric – with the tactile texture we know and love – holds pattern beautifully and thus by default is a quality choice for upholstered sofas, chairs, ottomans, headboards and other soft furnishings throughout the home.  


Here we explore why to choose colourful linen for upholstery, deep-dive into the perfect palette and reveal the art of mixing and matching patterns. Plus why colourful linen has top credentials for sustainability and durability.


Why choose colourful linen for upholstery?

Linwood Fabric | Bibi | Kala | Emerald


There are three good reasons why interior designers reach for colourful linen upholstery fabric when building moodboards for their clients’ room schemes. 


Firstly, dynamics. Vibrancy is the raison d’etre of a coloured upholstery pattern. From directional horizontal, vertical or wavy stripes to the liveliness of geometrics and spots or the sprightliness of organic-inspired florals and botanicals, these patterns bring untold interest and movement to the eye as shown here by Kala Emerald on a classic sofa.


Secondly, the colour of an upholstery fabric can transform a space’s atmosphere. Varying from deep and moody to light and airy, the breadth of choice is unparalleled and will be dictated by the form and function of the room.


And finally, durability. Linen is a sustainable and hardwearing textile that will last a lifetime.


Types of colourful linen upholstery fabrics

Linwood Fabric | Small Prints II


Ask a psychologist about colour and they’ll tell you that in times of uncertainty, humans lean towards life-affirming hues in search of positivity and reassurance. When considering colourful upholstery fabric, mull over what colour tribe you fit into...  


If you consider yourself a ‘classic maximalist’, for instance, you’ll naturally veer towards the dark grounds of inky indigo, dark claret, deep forest and domino black. By applying these choices to upholstery, you’ll put furniture front and centre in a space, making it feel dramatic and powerful.  


Lovers of ‘modern country’, on the other hand, will dip into the soft and subtle cottage-style hues of garden green, rose pink and sky blue that will suit a casual armchair or decorative ottoman. While those that subscribe to ‘rustic luxe’ will tack towards the earthy tones of dark red and spicy orange. This palette will wrap a handcrafted piece of furniture, such as a loveseat in High Wire Jockey, with a resonant and grounding warmth.    



Incorporating colourful linen in various interior styles

Linwood Fabric | Bibi


Once you’ve established your hero colourway, you can start to hone what contrasting and complementary colours can combine with varying printed linen motifs to create interesting and exciting combinations. Check out the colour wheel and – with your style tribe in mind – consider themes such as Modern Vibrancy – where a collection of colours are layered confidently together (as shown here with Khiva Grass’s trellis design and Chitgar Marmalade’s spot). A Rustic Charm direction mingles a melange of florals with stripes. Eclectic bursts – introducing one pattern onto an accent chair, headboard or dining chairs – are also a fabulous way to infuse the excitement of colour into more neutral schemes.



The art of mixing and matching

Linwood Fabric | Small Prints


When it comes to coordinating colourful patterns within the same space, it pays to follow established design rules. Choose one large-scale pattern for a hero piece of furniture that will act as the focal point in the room. Then balance with two to three other supporting small prints that will complement the colour theme. Keep to this cohesive thinking and you won’t overdo it.


A good example of this principle is shown here with Garden Gate Strawberry Mousse on the signature sofa leading the way to Maypole Peony on the ottoman and then other soft furnishings such as curtains in Hopscotch Frog and Buttons Pink Icing on cushions.



Sustainability and style: the eco-friendly edge of linen

Linwood Fabric | Elba | Ivory


Sustainability is a hot topic in interiors and quite rightly so. We all want to be sure that redecoration and refurbishment is done with the planet in mind. That’s why linen is a low-impact upholstery choice – it’s one of the most inherently sustainable fabrics available. The flax plant, from which it is made, is grown organically in poor soil, is resilient to pests and requires no additional water other than rainwater. The resulting yarn is strong and made to last. Linwood’s pure linen fabrics have a ‘heavy domestic use’ rub count rating, making them suitable for all household pieces as well as light commercial use (the exception is Belleville collection of linen prints).


Look to Elba, a timeless linen collection of coloured and neutral plains, including ivory, that will ground schemes, or Small Prints II, an array of small-scale versatile patterns.



Selecting the perfect hue: tips for choosing colourful linen

 Linwood Fabric | Small Prints II


What other factors can help with choosing the right coloured upholstery for furniture? It pays to pause and consider your existing decor – wall colours, flooring, window treatments and layout – but also how much natural light enters the room itself.


Establish the orientation of the room. As a general rule of thumb, north-facing rooms are by nature darker and cooler and benefit from the warmer hues of yellows, oranges and pinks. South facing rooms receive good light and heat throughout the day but can suffer from glare and heat so look to cooler hues of blues and greens, such as Trapeze Miami on the living room suite shown above.



Caring for colourful linen upholstery

Linwood Fabric | Ashfield | Saffron


Follow these tips for preserving and keeping your linens at their best:


●  Protect colours from fading by keeping upholstered furniture away from direct sunlight, intense heat and excessive moisture. Drawing curtains, pulling blinds or positioning pieces carefully also helps.

●  Vacuum your upholstery on a regular basis to avoid dust and debris settling.

●  Spot cleaning and the use of proprietary products is best avoided as you could damage the fabric.

●  Seek out professional cleaning help for stain removal and hardcore cleaning.


    Where to find your colourful linen upholstery fabric

    Linwood Fabric | Small Prints


    Shopping for the right hues for upholstery fabric has never been easier. Use the filters online to sort your favourite colours and see the range of collections of patterns that are available. Order free samples to get the feel for the textile and check that you are on the right path. It’s also worthing making a visit to an interior design store to chat with staff and get their advice. Linwood’s showrooms in London and Ringwood are the recommended go-to for high-quality, colourful linens and excellent in-store guidance.


    We hope we’ve encouraged you to take a bold approach to using coloured and statement upholstery fabrics in your next home décor project. Inspiring creativity and personal expression through colourful upholstery is what redecoration is all about so take time to research and understand how pattern can combine to elevate your home to the next level and give new life to inherited or tired furniture whether classic or contemporary in style.