You’ve probably noticed that I love color and pattern in my decor. Whether it’s wallpaper up in our new guest bathroom or a bold rug in the family room or the dresser in the girls bedroom… bring me all the patterns,
Choosing aforementioned color and pattern can be the MOST overwhelming process. We have a handful of fabric places nearby and *maybe* one wallpaper source but honestly, I much prefer ordering these things online. It may cost $20 or so in order to get swatches, but I’d much prefer to peruse and gather my choices from my couch with some tween show playing on Netflix. These are some tips that will hopefully make the whole process easier!
1. Search parameters
Most sites will allow you to narrow your search field… Take advantage of this and limit your search by things like color, price, and material.
2. Search terms
Again… take advantage of that search bar. I typically search for things like “floral”, “graphic”, “Ikat”, “ink blot”, “paisley”…
Using Pinterest can be a great way to see a type of pattern or design in decor so take a gander over there to help you. Search for things like “popular fabrics” or “farmhouse fabric” just to brainstorm a couple of terms that might help you get started.
4. Catalogs and Magazines
Again, peruse through catalogs when they land in your mailbox or take a few minutes to flip through magazines at the grocery store and make note of the patterns you see! Do you like the stripes and buffalo check more than the big bold florals? Do you like the smaller splatters or the more traditional damask?
For me, it’s SUPER helpful to gather all my choices ‘under one roof’ and see them all together. Lots of sites make it possible to create a “wishlist” or a “collection”. If that’s NOT an option, than learn how to take a screen grab or save the image… It’s amazing how seeing ALL the various choices together will make it easier for you to choose.
Last but not least, order samples. I’m super impatient and this is really hard for me, but… seeing them in person and in the space will REALLY help. Most places will send a sample for under $5 so if you can narrow down your choices to 5 or 6 finalists, that’s worth $20-$30 in my opinion. Once you have the samples in person, place them in the space and against any other colors or patterns. Do they match? How do they look at night? Under bright light?
7. Knowing what you DON’T like is half the battle!
The goal is to narrow down you choices. So if you look through a bunch of styles and decide that you DON’T want anything with a large pattern… then that’s SUPER helpful! Now you can go and search “small patterns” or simply eliminate lots of your options! I know it seems counterintuitive, but sometimes it’s JUST as satisfying to reduce my choices.
You’ll notice that the one thing I didn’t mention is how the design looks on the fabric or the fabric quality. I’m not particularly fussy about that sort of thing, but if you know that you are VERY particular, then always order a sample. Make note of the ruler diagram on most fabrics and the scale of wallpapers as this will help too!
All of the screen grabs and fabrics shown here are from my friends at Spoonflower. The wallpaper in our playroom is also Spoonflower… I love them. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever purchased fabric or wallpaper online and whether or not you were satisified!!
Love SpoonfloWer and all the fun patterns!
Charlotte Smith says
They have a limitless supply!!:)
Deb Pearl says
Thank you for all the tips on how to choose fabric and wallpaper online. I really want to get some furniture reupholstered, but I need to find the right fabric. I really like how you mentioned to order samples. I think that seeing the fabric in person would be a really big help in deciding what I want.
Charlotte Smith says
Yes! It’s always really helpful to see it in person not just to assess the fabric itself but also to see how things look in the actual space!
Thank you so much, J. Simon Harris!