Snippets from our conversation with Sneha Shenoy, a seasoned Architect & Interior Designer

An Interior Designer’s Guide to Choosing Fabrics for Upholstery

Who doesn’t admire a well worn furniture piece in their humble dwelling? If you are doing your house for the first time or refurbishing it or reupholstering your furniture, then this blog is worth a read. We got in touch with a young interior designer with over twelve years of experience in designing homes and commercial spaces and picked her brain for a few tips, tricks and trends. 

We hope you get some creative ideas from the excerpts of the interview with her.

It is utter madness and can become quite chaotic if you have to choose fabrics for your home. It is not because you have to source the right fabrics but because you are spoilt for choice. There are plenty choices in fabric textures, colours, designs, prints and quality. There has to be some method to this madness that can guide us to make the right selection. Sneha suggests – “There are three important factors to keep in mind when deciding the right fabric :

  1. Durability: When choosing a fabric, be mindful to consider the use of the furniture. For instance, when selecting a fabric for a sofa, opt for a fabric based on who will be using the sofa. If pets share the sofa, it is best to consider microfiber fabric or leather that can withstand heavy wear and tear.
  2. Colour: Colours can create a mood. A softer lighter colour always seems inviting. Whereas a dark colour may help to hide dust. Using neutral shades gives you the opportunity to play around with colour with smaller furnishing pieces like the cushions, giving you a choice to change the mood of the room as trends change.
  3. Kind of Fabric: Would recommend cotton or cotton blends for high traffic areas and polyester blends for relatively low traffic areas.

While we put much effort in selecting the upholstery for the furniture, we tend to get to the drapes at the end. We asked Sneha to tell us how the furniture upholstery and curtains complement one another?

Here is her tip – “Curtains must not only complement a sofa but other décor like carpets and decorative items. Picking the correct colour, design and fabric are important for bringing harmony to the space. The general rule when designing any room is to have one neutral colour with which you can add one or two accents. So, if the sofa and walls have a neutral palette, a dark toned curtain can complement it. On the other hand, it is preferable to go for curtains with warm hues if the sofa dons a bright colour. Right now linen curtains are quite a trend. The beauty of linen fabric is its beautifully textured surface and is its versatility to be used in both neutral and splashes of colour. Linen can blend well with any room style be it modern, contemporary or classic. It is also light and airy giving a romantic vibe to the place.”

There is always one piece of decor in the living room that makes a statement or exudes the vibe of the homeowner. Our conversation with Sneha got some pretty great insights into what actually makes a style statement and if you need to pick a fabric for it, then what should it be? Her take on it, “For any room to create a visual impact there needs to be a fine blend of colour, pattern, and texture. A living room is a space that encourages conversations and warm colour therefore works well when used with bright colours to create a visual appeal. When deciding a pattern it is crucial to consider other items of furniture and size. For example, stripes and checks can not only add colour but also give the impression of more space. On the other hand, combining textures can create an interesting contrast of rough and smooth. Using this trick the living room can be artistic, unique and fun.”

Let’s move on from the living room and understand what’s trending for bedroom furnishing. “Bedrooms are a place to relax and prepare the mind to rest. Fabrics with a subtle design, from pretty floral to graphic prints are in style. They not only add a visual appeal but also come with its own mellow colour to enhance the décor of the room. A fabric with a cool colour also helps one unwind and shades of Indigo are a classic to create a calm atmosphere.” 

Lastly, she shared some trends and her favourite pick here – 

Matte velvets have always been a popular choice but the classic textured velvet finish with its charm is now making a comeback. We are also seeing the use of rich tapestries and bold florals that are giving a room the traditional edge. I believe a room should resonate with the personality of the occupier and serve the function of that space. My personal choice has always been a neutral palette with splashes of colour or patterns in complementary and dramatic pastel tones providing a fresh contrast.”

Sneha Shenoy

About Sneha – Sneha Shenoy is a seasoned interior designer and architect with over 12 years of experience. She is currently in the UK and continues her practice as an Architect.  She has led a range of residential and commercial interior projects during her tenure with Ramnani & Associates. She loves experimenting with colours and textures and has an eye for beauty in simple things.