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Serendipity Fabrics

Decorating with velvet fabric (I)

Velvet is a versatile option when decorating because it works equally well in any style: classic, contemporary, retro, romantic, boho… Just use it sparingly, because if you keep it under control velvet will give a luxurious touch to your home, but if you exceed it will produce a “boudoir effect”. Here are the keys to decorating with velvet fabric:

The exact dose of velvet is always a success. In this living room decorated by Melián Randolph velvet has been used in cushions and some upholstery. Sofas by Blasco & Blasco.

Tough guy. The complex velvet weaving process makes it more durable and resistant than many other fabrics. If you take good care of it, velvet can last for generations. Always keep in mind this fabric is produced from very different fibers, as we told in an earlier post, so you can find velvet in different qualities and prices.

Generally, the shorter and denser the pile is, the more resilient the fabric will be. Deeper pile velvet looks more luxurious but is more difficult to care for.

Classic, boho, contemporary … Velvet is an extremely versatile fabric. Via: Pampa Australia

Like all upholstery fabrics, velvet is tested to determine how much abrasion it supports before showing wear or color loss. In the case of velvet fabric is recommended a value from 40.000 Martindale cycles. Depending on the use, you can choose a thinner velvet (for example, for cushions or curtains) or more resistant (in the case of upholstery for sofas or armchairs).

When you buy furniture or complements in velvet, or you want to reupholster with this fabric, check the composition and the martindale indicated by the manufacturer. Find out what type is the most advisable for the use you want to give it, its pros and cons. Remember that there are many types of velvet fabric.

Velvet is a very resistant fabric but at the same time is supple, perfect for upholstering sinuous furniture.

Patina. Before deciding on velvet it is necessary to know it well. As it is easily marked, it is not recommended for those who suffer from short-term imperfections. If you expect the velvet to remain unchanged like the first day, you’d better choose another fabric. When you sit or lean something on velvet furniture, the pile will often ruffle. Depending on the type of velvet, some more than others. These bruises can mostly be steamed out. But at the end these bruises will create a patina that should be understood as part of the natural life of velvet.

 

How to Prolong the Life of the Upholstery

In this post we have put together a series of tips to care an upholstered sofa and some tricks to keep it as the first day for a long time. To begin with, we have to do justice to the grandmothers who did not let eat in the living room, especially chocolate or cheese sandwiches. Some stains can be very difficult (or expensive) to remove from the upholstery.

Blasco & Blasco velvet sofa. Via: El Mueble

Vacuum: the sofa’s best friend

If you are one of those who lose the small brushes of the vacuum two days after buying it or those who recycle it with its accessories as new as the first day, you are damaging your sofa. Accumulated dust creates friction and gradually wears away the fibers. To prolong the life of your sofa and keeps it fresh for a long time, vacuum it weekly. The small brush of the vacuum cleaner serves to remove dust from the surface of the sofa, while the angle-tipped crevice tool reaches the most difficult areas where more dirt accumulates.

Remember to vacuum the sofa before applying it any specific cleaning treatment. If you do not remove dirt and dust before treatment, the upholstery may end up dirtier than it was.

Vacuum the sofa every week. With pets, use a special tool to remove hair. Via: Serendipity Fabrics

First-aid for spills

The best advice to prevent a stain is to act quickly, before it has time to stick to the fabric. When an accident occurs, do not panic, stay calm. The first thing to do is absorb the spilled substance. To do this, use a white cotton cloth, clean and dry. Do not rub! If you rub, the stain will become larger.

When the cloth has absorbed everything possible, you must act according to the upholstery. Keep in mind that each fabric needs different products or treatments. What works for one fabric can be disastrous for another. Always check the manufacturer’s care label. If you do not have it, be very prudent, there are fabrics that can only be dry cleaned by professionals, others admit water-based or solvent-based solutions.

Before applying a treatment in a visible area of ​​the upholstery, test it in a discrete part.  Fabrics can be damaged by improper cleaning. If your upholstery has received some anti-stain treatment, keep in mind that it will probably change the recommended method of cleaning.

Keep and respect the manufacturer’s care label. Via: Blasco & Blasco

Care of seat cushions and backrest

The best way to care for the seat and down back cushions is to rotate them from time to time, to evenly distribute wear. It is also important to take cushions outside once a month and beat them by hand to remove the dust from the fibers.

A common (and unsightly) problem is that color differences can appear between the cushion covers and the fixed parts of the upholstery. To prevent it and maintain a uniform tone throughout the sofa, if your fabric supports cleaning with specific upholstery products, every time you clean the covers also clean the fixed parts.

If the cushion covers can be removed and machine washed (remember: check the instructions label), turn them in reverse, wash in cold water and dry them in the shade to avoid fading. Always all them at once. If you have been shrunk a little by washing, iron the damp cloth in the direction you have shrunk by gently stretching.

In case the upholstery is dry clean only, take all covers at the same time, not only those that are soiled. This will ensure the color stays uniform in all of them.

Professional cleaning companies can treat the sofa and armchairs in full, so the tone will remain uniform on both cushions and fixed parts. A deep clean is highly recommended every twelve to eighteen months.

Once a year the upholstery requires a deep clean. Via: Chango & Co

When a great “catastrophe” occurs and a lot of liquid is spilled on the upholstery, professional cleaning is recommended. The stain in the filling may be three or four times bigger than you see on the surface.

Finally, even though it might sound odd coming from an Internet post, be very careful with home tricks that appear on Internet. Remember: always follow the manufacturer’s care label, act wisely and go to professionals when necessary.

Mix and Match Printed Fabrics

Mix and match printed fabrics is really an art. In decoratingwithfabrics.com we do not believe in those posts that say “Five tricks to combine prints as a pro”. We prefer to offer tips, photos and inspiration to push you out of your comfort zone and start playing with the prints, not only on cushions, also on curtains, upholstery, headboards … Who knows? Maybe we awaken that decorator we all have inside…

Mix and match printed fabrics multiplies the decorative interest of any room. Via: House Beautiful

Color. Choosing a single color for all prints can make even the most unmatched patterns look like they are made for each other. It is the easiest and most basic way to get it right by combining different fabrics. But if you want to go further and introduce more colors, you can benefit this advice that is not so obvious: Work with the same intensity of color. Stripes, ethnic prints, pictures or floral will work together if their colors are kept within the same hue. Don’t mix muted colors with bright tones, or put together pastel colors with primary colors.

printed fabricsA single color is the easiest way to combine different pattern fabrics. This fabrics are by Serendipity Fabrics

Odd numbers. It seems that odd numbers, especially the number three, make things work best when combining different pattern fabrics. With three prints we have enough to make an interesting combination, but not so many that the result seems too chaotic.

Choose three or more patterns. Via: House Beautiful

Balance between prints. The prints you choose need to complement one another. If one is mottled, the other should be lighter. To start working, choose a print that you are passionate about, and use it as a link for the others you add. This way every print will have something of this fabric that you like so much.

The intensity of the prints must be balanced. Via: Katie Hodges

A touch of chaos. Kathryn M. Ireland, one of the most recognizable American interior designers, says: “Don´t go for matchy-matchy-matchy. If it doesn’t go, it goes.” Her fantastic interiors and the millionaire fees she earn prove she is right. Take a look at her website to check it out.

Interior designer Kathryn M. Ireland is renowned for combining striking pattern fabrics.

Room scheme. You have to consider how differents prints will be distributed in the room. Avoid putting all patterns together on one side. Solids and prints must flow throughout the space.
Distribute solids and prints throughout the room, as in this bedroom decorated by Amber Interiors Design.

The rule of 60-30-10. We already talked about the 60-30-10 rule in another post. It works in many aspects of interior design. If you want to mix and match printed fabrics, implement it as follows: 60% of your favorite pattern, 30% of a second pattern, and 10% of a third pattern that works as an accent.

Consider the rule of 60-30-10. Via: House Beautiful

Take advantage of professionals. Combining fabrics of different prints is tempting, but it takes time and dedication. Good news: many textile editors have made this process for you. Look for those catalogues of fabrics with different prints that work very well together. Normally they group fabrics by colors, mix solids and patterns, and add textures. All you have to do is decide the color palette you like and you already have a harmonious combination of different prints.

printed fabricsSome textil editors create catalogues with “companion fabrics”, prints that work very well together,  as these from Serendipity Fabrics.

Check other posts for more info: Five upholstery fabric colors or Home decor fabrics

Guide to decorate with cushions

Decorate with cushions gives life to a room and allows us to revamp it without making big investments. That is true. But easy? If you can find in shops more than 1,000 different models, how can you choose those four or five that will look great on your sofa or bed?

There are no magic formulas. Unfortunately, the style can not be explained. But in this post we want to give you a basic guide to decorate with cushions and some easy stylist tricks. Then, you can mix and match colors, sizes and prints according to your taste and the style of your house. It is certainly the funniest part and also the most complicated. Mix and try until you find the winning combo. In our blog we also have lots of photos as inspiration to help you.

decorate with cushions Serendipity FabricsCushions with Blasco & Blasco fabrics.

Size. In decoration, size always matters. In the case of cushions, their size is conditioned by the sofa size. A conventional sofa works with standard cushions, which are usually 40 x 40 or 45 x 45 cm.

Balance. The biggest cushions, more than 60 cm, are comfortable, inviting and trendy, but should be reserved for large sofas. Low-back or small size sofas fit with small cushions.

Ambiance by Villiams Sonoma

Shapes. There are 4 basic shapes of cushions: square, rectangular, round and bolsters. Apart from its appearance, the shape also fulfills a function. Squares are perfect to support the entire back. Rectangulars support the lower back or neck. Bolsters do not slide and can do better their function in a leather sofa pec6edn.

Combinations. When decorating with cushions many people choose different colors even different patterns, but choose all them in the standard size (40cm) and square. Doing that, we miss a lot of the fun. Success also involves combining sizes and shapes, because this adds depth and makes all works better.

The size matters… Via: Style me pretty

Various sizes. Visually it works better if the larger cushions are at the ends and the smaller cushions at the center. And it’s also more practical because you will not have to remove the big ones every time you sit down.

Matching cushions. Sometimes the sofa is sold with some cushions in the same fabric of the upholstery. It never works because the cushions are camouflaged on the sofa and do not contribute anything. Change them for others that add color or texture.

Via: Melián Randolph Studio

Inserts. Beauty is inside? Yes. Even the best cushion will not look nice if is amorphous and flattened. Thinking about cushion inserts does not seem exciting, but choosing them well is a part of the success. There are feather fillings and synthetic fibers.

Feathers and down. Feathers and goose down are the most expensive option, but it is well worth investing money if the cushions are going to be used and will not be merely decorative objects. You will be grateful when you want to take a nap on the sofa. In the long term, inserts with feathers, down or mix of both will come out profitable, since they are more durable than synthetic fibers, don´t lose their shape and can be reused for years just changing the covers.

decorate with cushions. Serendipity FabricsLinen cushions by Serendipity Fabrics

Fibers. If you do not want to invest much and the cushions are merely decorative, or they are of very little use, you can choose fibers inserts. For outdoor cushions, you must always use fiber inserts, because feather inserts are not recommended.

Give them shape. If you like very compact cushions, use an insert a little larger than the cushion cover. And be sure to put the insert well, without leaving empty corners.

Living room by Kirsten Marie Interiors

Number. There are many theories about whether even or odd numbers work best, but the main rule is that if you have to move cushions to sit comfortably on the sofa, it’s because you have too many.

Groups of sofas and armchairs. If you want to decorate with cushions a sofa (or two) and some chairs, you have to consider all them as a group. It doesn´t mean you have to repeat cushions or coordinate prints, but everything should work as a harmonious set, taking into account the color palette of the room, the fabrics used and the general style.

A project by Isabel López Quesada

Decoration style. When decorating with cushions you have to respect the style of the room. This influences the choice of fabrics, colors, textures and placement of the cushions.

Classic style. In these ambiences work well velvet, silk or linen, and trimmings. This style accepts combinations of colors, patterns and textures, with cushions usually grouped symmetrically.

Blasco & Blasco linen sofa with classic cushions. Via: Nuevo Estilo

 Contemporary design. This style is associated with fewer colors and few prints, or none, and better geometric. Decorate with cushions in lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen, in large sizes, and not grouped.

Eclectic style. The most difficult option but also the ones that will give you the greatest satisfaction. Try complicated combinations of prints and fabric. To avoid the chaos, give it coherence unifying with color.

Summer and winter. Decorate with cushions allow to change between seasons. It is a small luxury to have velvet cushions in winter and fresh linen cushions in summer, just changing the covers.

Perfect cushions for summer in this Blasco & Blasco sofa. Via: Nuevo Estilo

Looking for more inspiration? Check this posts: How to style a white sofa and Tips to combine cushions.

How to wash linen

To wash linen is easy because it is a natural fiber. Just think that for centuries linen was washed in streams, boiled in cauldrons and dried in the sun. Fortunately, today we have washing machines and more comfortable ways to hand wash. As for dry cleaning, it is only necessary when the linen has special treatments or is mixed with other fibers.

Linen Serendipity FabricsVia: Serendipity Fabrics

In any case, always follow the care instructions supplied by the manufacturer. These instructions, whether for washing linen at home or for dry-cleaning, are elaborated taking into account many variables, such as preshrinking treatments, threads, dyes used, possible anti-wrinkle or anti-stains treatments, etc.

Linen can be dry-cleaned, laundered in washing machine or by hand, or steam cleaned (a practical way of cleaning curtains, for example).

Via: Y. McFadden

Freshly washed linen smells wonderful and gives you a greater sense of well-being. Follow these tips to wash linen at home and you will see how the more it is washed, the softer and more luminous and beautiful it becomes.

– Linen always shrinks the first time you wash it and then do not do it again. There are two options: to wash it before using it, or to buy a pre-washed linen (as we will see later).

– Linen should always be removed slightly damp. Remove it before it is completely dry. And never use the dryer. The reason is that the natural moisture content of linen varies between 6 – 8%. When it dries too much, the fiber becomes brittle. If this happens, linen fabric will take several hours to absorb moisture from the air and recover its full flexibility.

wash linenVía: Blasco & Blasco Anouk De Gruyter.

– In addition to the dryer, bleach is the other big enemy of linen fabric. No matter if it is a white linen, this product weakens the fiber and yellows it.

– To wash linen, either by hand or machine, use pure soap or a mild detergent. And be sure to put a sufficient amount of water, since the linen is very absorbent.

– Clean any stain when recent.

– The water temperature can oscillate between hot and very hot depending on the care instructions.

– Rinse with plenty of water to remove all detergent and residual dirt. This avoids the formation of “age spots”.

– Don’t wring to drain after washing linen.

– The best way to keep the white linen is to dry it in the sun.

Via: Pinterest.

Ironing linen fabric

– Ironing linen fabric is not a cumbersome chore if you do it when linen is a bit damp. After you have removed wrinkles with the iron, leave linen drying.

– One trick of our grandmothers to keep the moisture was to put the linen towels rolled up in the fridge for a few hours. Then towels were taken out one by one and ironed. If you have space in your refrigerator, try doing it with curtains or covers inside a plastic bag. It will make ironing much easier. It is also a way to avoid moisture odor when you can not iron the linen after washing it.

Via: Pinterest.

– Steam ironing dry linen will be much less effective than ironing it wet. Steam from a domestic iron is usually not enough.

– Iron first the reverse side, then the right side. This will bring out all the natural shine of the linen fabric. But if it is a dark color, iron only by the reverse side.

– Pure linen withstands very high ironing temperatures. In any case, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, if you do not have them, test in a corner or with a scrap of the fabric.

 Via: Elle Deco France

What does “pre-washed linen” mean

Pre-washed linen has been repeatedly washed at high temperatures and with special products to prevent it from shrinking later, enhancing its softness and giving it a special “patina”.

As linen improves its qualities with washing and becomes incredibly soft after three years, choosing a pre-wash linen means speeding up this process and saving a lot of washes.

wash linenVia: Blasco & Blasco

Stonewashed linen means that it has been washed in large machines with pumice or volcanic stones that bash and tumble the fabric’s fiber. Stonewashed linens becomes more supple and have patina, in addition to amazing shades of color. Of course, this treatment don´t affect the quality and durability of linen fabric, but always rely on specialized manufacturers to avoid any surprise.

Do you want to know more about linen fabric? Check this post about decorating with linen fabric.