Bold Is Back!

For the past few years, the design world has emphasized minimalistic design as the way to the future!  By basing our design on the approach of the feng shui lifestyle, we created palates for design that were based on mostly neutral colors.  The world of design never stays the same for too long, and with change in mind, we have started to see high-end furniture creating Calico Inspired Pieces of Furniture with Bold Patterns!

So How Do I get this look, at a price that I can afford?

In order to achieve this look you need to start by selecting several fabrics that coordinate well with each other.  Keep in mind that the fabrics need to coordinate in color, weight of fabric, and scale.  When coordinating fabrics together, remember that each of them should have the same intensity of color incorporated in them.  If you have multiple fabrics that are going together but one is less intense than all the others, you can run into the problem of bad balance in the piece.

Good Overall Balance. Blue Pillow visually draws your eye into the center of sofa, creating good hierarchy with in the composition of the overall look.

The actual weight of the fabrics is also a concern in creating a calico inspired piece. Since you will have multiple fabrics on one piece of furniture, you don’t want one fabric to be a lot heavier than the other pieces of fabric used or the balance will be way off.  A good tip is to use the same basic type of fabric for all fabrics selected…such as choosing all cotton prints or all upholstery weight fabrics.  You would never want to mix and match the two different types of fabrics together.

Choosing the same weight of fabrics will emphasize balance.

 Since this design choice consists of multiple fabrics, you should have variation in pattern scale.  This will create balance in the piece itself when done properly.  A good rule of thumb is never duplicating the same style of fabric twice.  Start by choosing one stripe, one ditsy fabric (small-scale), one medium scale, and one bold large print.  You can even incorporate a solid in the composition.

After selecting all the patterns that are going to be used, there is one more decision to make, which is choosing the style of the furniture.  Here at Fabrics and Frames we specialize in custom furniture and reupholstering.  Many people believe that reupholstering is somewhat less expensive than creating new.  Sometimes this is true, but oftentimes it can cost as much as a new piece.  One of the reasons for this is because people don’t take into consideration all it takes to make an old piece of furniture look new again.  Many of these eclectic styled pieces of furniture are made out old French inspired pieces.  Some of them date back 100 years or more.  When you have a piece of furniture that is this old, there are many things to keep in mind such as how the piece was originally constructed.  It is likely that most pieces that are considered antiques were  constucted using horse hair or coconut hair inside the furniture.  Having this inside your furniture can sometimes create a home for little pests to live in such as weavels.  Weavels are  small bugs that live inside furniture, slowly eating away at the wood.  They are very similar to the termite.  Most people don’t realize that they have this animal living in their furniture because you usually can’t tell they are in the piece of furniture until you start reupholstering it.  One indication that the piece of furniture may be infested with these little creatures is if you see that the furniture looks like it has small little “pock”holes in the wood.  To be safe, we always suggest taking out everything that is old and replacing it with new inserts when reupholstering. This will eliminate any future problems in the furniture but the piece will no longer hold the value that an antique piece does and will drive up the price of the reupholstery.

So what if I don’t want an expensive old vintage style furniture frame?

This style can be created with hand-me-down furniture from your parents’ or grandparents’ attic or garage…Just try to use a piece of furniture that is not over fifty years old.  This will eliminate the labor cost of doing an antique re-do.  Worse case situation would be that you may have to replace the foam inside if the piece is too old.( This is a minor charge in comparison to a total redo).

If you are looking to buy new, then I would suggest you consider creating a modular styled contempoary designed furniture piece.  This is the best way to get this calico look in a contemporary setting. I have provided images that show the old style of calico styled furniture vs. new calico styled furniture.

Old Styled Calico Designed Furniture

New Modular Calico Designed Furniture

This particular style is not for everyone, but can create a dramatic appealing look for a room that is already great architectually or for those who just want to try something new and whimsical.  For more information about designing or where to get custom looks like these please visit our website:

We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240. 972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog at, and or follow us on Facebook!

Written by: Erica Guajardo

Edited by: Linda Decuir


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