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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Designer Sofa Tips and Secrets - Part I: Fabric

Example of solid color/neutral sofa anchoring the space - color is similar to wall colors.
Solid sofa - color and pattern splash in smaller pieces.

Recently, I cut out an article from House Beautiful (link to magazine), entitled "Designer Tips and Secrets - 50 Things you Need to Know About Sofas". While dedicated followers of my 10-year old refurbishing upholstered furniture business know that "I DO NOT DO SOFAS", many of the tips apply to love seats and other sizable upholstered pieces (which I do refurbish and sell - my anti-sofa mode has more to do with storage and shipping challenges than anything else.)

Here are some of the tips and techniques dealing with the selection of fabric - one of the hardest choices to make. Since my business is almost all about the quality and appeal of the fabric, this is a good place for me to start in reviewing and discussing tips and secrets.
To establish calm, I upholster sofas in a solid that's the same color as the walls and curtains - Barbary Barry
I never use big patterns or trendy colors for large upholstered pieces. The punch of pattern or hot splash of trendy color should come from the throw pillows so they can be easily substituted when you need change - Tom Stringer
Always use dark fabric for skirts so heel scuffs are not visible - Jill Shark Brinson  
Stripes, florals, you name it, I love pattern! But using one of these isn't for the faint of heart.  It says, "I'm bold, fearless, and not afraid of commitment" - Schuyler Samperton 
SO ... many designers suggest using solid fabrics and avoiding patterns or trendy colors.  Yet, there is a "shout-out" for those who dare to be bolder and go with something more eye-catching. My own philosophy is that you can use the bolder patterns/colors if you have serenity in other elements of the room decor. For example, a cream or other neutral rug with calm walls and window treatments sometimes gets just the right balance with a little more "verve" in the upholstered pieces - particularly ones that are the focal point of the room.

Here are some of the fabrics I've used over the years on larger settees and love seats. A lot of the fabrics are solid (and vary neutral) but there are definitely splashes of boldness!

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