KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The quickest way to freshen a piece of furniture and lift the spirits is through fabric. • Fabrics are a way to set the mood of the room. Want sophistication in the bathroom? Create a tall fabric shower curtain that hangs from a rod close to the ceiling. It makes the room feel larger, too.
"A tall shower curtain is an expensive designer look, and it's so easy to make," says Eddie Ross of New York, who was a contestant on Bravo's Top Design reality show. A book and his own television show are in the works. "You don't even have to sew."
Ross suggests taking an existing fabric shower curtain and finding a coordinating fabric for the bottom, fusing the fabrics together using Stitch Witchery, which works as an adhesive when it's ironed. Sure, the fabrics can be sewn together instead.
Designers say fabric reflects personal style more than paint does. That's why Karen Roark, owner of Urban Arts and Crafts, likes the idea of fabric as wall decor. For a modern look, fabric can be wrapped around square wooden frames and stapled in back. The fabric frames can be hung in a horizontal series of three or four or a grid pattern of nine. Placed inside garage-sale frames, fabric takes on a more vintage, feminine style.
Fabrics also can give a nod to trends without breaking the bank. Besides modern graphics, current looks include ethnic-inspired ikat (pronounced e-cat) and suzani motifs, says Jan Jessup, spokeswoman for Calico Corners, which sells hundreds of decorative fabrics. Wood grain-pattern prints also are becoming popular.
Don't forget to shop your linen and clothes' closets for fabrics, Ross reminds us. A towel can make a plush terrycloth ottoman cover in a bathroom. A flat sheet can be turned into a duvet cover. A quilted matelasse bedspread can become a chair slipcover. Men's suit jackets, such as gray flannel or navy wool pinstripe, can be converted into handsome accent pillows.
Other fabric projects
Dining room: Use outdoor fabrics to make tablecloths and banquette cushions. They are easy to clean.
Family room: Create a junior ottoman by stacking three 26-inch boxed pillows that can also be floor pillows for television viewing.
Bedroom: Make a modern canopy by hanging drapery panels on swing-arm rods at each side of the bed.
Bathroom: Cover a wastebasket with a decorative fabric using spray adhesive. Add gimp or braid trim with a glue gun to hide the edges.
Closet: Upholster the walls and ceiling of a tiny closet using Mod Podge as an adhesive.