Tackling Antique textiles in style
One of the most compelling ways to add impact to any room is mixing the right variety of antique or designer textiles with other elements in the space. Textiles are naturally or artificially derived interlacing fiber materials with multiple uses such as linens, flooring and bedding. Whether it’s the patterns, the feel of each thread or the history, designer textiles create a special level of depth to interior design that is unique to other statement pieces.
A simple but dramatic go-to when it comes to working with antique textiles, specifically, is to hang them on the wall as an alternative to a traditional painting or photograph. Designer textiles such as quilts, blankets, rugs and tapestries are perfect options to fit the bill. Try a large, beautifully embroidered tribal printed rug or fabric panel that will compliment a comfy oversized couch. Opt for a piece that offers hints of color that can be paired well to the couch or chair even if the majority of the textile isn’t the same color. One way to hang it is from a simple rod between two decorative sconces, just above the seating area.
Framing antique textiles is another way to not only preserve the piece, but display it in a way that evokes a museum or art gallery. Ceremonial garments from Asia or India, for example, are often mounted on linen, making them ideal for framing. A piece like this would be inspired on a wall beside a stairwell, and similarly, if you have two complementing designer textiles of the same size, frame them and hang them on parallel walls between a walkway or a hallway leading to another room. This creates harmony between spaces and makes a focal out of an oft-overlooked locale.
Another way to structure a space with designer textiles is to rethink curtains and utilize them for purposes other than window treatments. Billowy or sheer materials are perfect for gathering up into a canopy above a headboard. In larger bedrooms, these designer textiles can be used to section off an area of the room, creating a private and decadent vanity or dressing area. In smaller, loft spaces, use textiles to create a separation from the kitchen or bedroom from the living area. Stay away from patterns that are excessively busy and opt for finding pieces that connect to another accent textile in the space, such as a throw pillow or tablecloth. The key to putting together this look is to find curtains that are floor-to-ceiling in length, heavy in weight, and made of impeccable quality.
Speaking of throw pillows, curating stylish interiors is effortless with these designer textiles in tow. Pillows are essential to making a space more appealing and comfortable. Either use them on the floor for seating or use them on a sofa to add an extra layer of softness. When they aren’t in use, throw pillows can be tucked away under a table to add decorative interest.
Remember that pillows have diversity beyond the plush type you may throw on a bed or armchair. When browsing antique textiles, it’s common to a find pillows with cultural themes, such as an early 20th century beaded Navajo pillow, or designs that harken back to Victorian ages. Delicate and special throw pillows like these should be placed in less trafficked areas like an heirloom rocking chair that has been passed down for generations or perhaps even placed thoughtfully on a bookcase.
Rugs are one of the most top-of-mind designer textiles but they don’t have to be used on just the floor. As mentioned before, hanging rugs on walls either from a rod or within a frame can add a dynamic quality to any space. But rugs can also be used to drape over a headboard or even an armchair. They can also be used to reupholster furniture, but always seek out a professional to do this, especially if you are using antique textiles.
Textiles are all about textures, colors, patterns and history. When choosing them, remember what you want to convey in your space. Mixing the soft texture of silk with the rougher feel of wool makes a room more tactilely intriguing. Woven pillows, for example, can be paired with chenille on a favorite loveseat. An incredibly detailed Oriental rug in front of a bed can pair well with crisp white linens and a matching duvet. Mix and match antique and designer textiles from all over the world to give a room a bohemian vibe, or stick to a collection of textiles from one part of the globe to build on a theme. No matter your choice, designer textiles are more than a way to add comfort and warmth to a room—they’re a way to add sheer luxury.