Tag Archives: fabric

The 4 Most Unique Fabrics That Work

The right fabrics make all the difference.

Miami is a beautiful city, but it can be a tricky one when it comes to home décor. The heat and humidity can make finding the right fabrics for your home a tough choice. But have no fear; there are fabrics that work with the weather, and will give your home that luxurious feel. Here’s what works for your Miami home.

Yes, cotton; it’s not just for your clothes and your sheets, it’s also for upholstery. Cotton is ideal because it can fit into any budget, be dyed to fit any design scheme, and best of all, it breathes. In a climate such as Miami, your home furniture needs to use breathable upholstery in order to be comfortable; otherwise, you get that awkward, sticky feeling that we’re a little too familiar with thanks to visiting Grandma on a hot day. That said, get upholstery with a high thread count for a soft, luxe feeling, and use it for furniture that sees moderate use or less.

Hemp has, for far too long, been the province of crunchy-granola types and burnouts. It’s time to take this fabric back and use it where it belongs as the luxurious natural fiber of choice for your furniture. Hemp is not only breathable and soft, it can take quite a lot of abuse. Hemp fibers are tougher than even the brattiest child or the most ill-behaved pet. Like cotton, it takes to dyes and patterns extremely well. Use hemp for furniture that sees a lot of use; it won’t wear out and will give you plenty of time.

If you want comfort and breathability, linen is going to be your fabric of choice. Remember, true linen is made from fibers from the flax plant; any other kind of “linen” is not true linen. It’s referred to as such largely thanks to the weaving method used, but won’t offer the same freshness. Linen is actually best used not for upholstery but for curtains, pillows, and other accents. It wrinkles and stains more easily than some fabrics. It can also take some of the humidity out of the air because it absorbs liquids well, which is just another reason to keep it out of the reach of red wines and sodas.


Leather has always meant luxury.

Finally, there’s the classic upholstery choice of leather. It may seem odd to say that leather is the best choice for a humid, warm climate like Miami, but it does have a few advantages. First of all, if you air-condition your home, leather releases its heat quickly and effectively, making your leather furniture cool and comfortable to the touch. Secondly, well treated leather can withstand a lot of damage and brush off spills and accidents without staining. Finally, it’s easy to clean; you can buy wipes from leather furniture stores that can easily clean the sofa. Of course, it’s luxurious; leather is considered the best kind of upholstery for a reason.

There are other fabrics, but these are the best you’ll find for home décor in the Miami area. Factor them into your design and you’ll find they give you the pop your home needs.

Photo credits: The Miami Story, stewf


5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets

5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets

Hiring a designer for a one-time consultation helps avoid costly mistakes.

Glossy magazine pages brimming with the latest interior design masterpieces are both dreamy and depressing when you’re on a budget. Designing a comfortable, well-appointed home doesn’t require a wealthy benefactor, but it just takes a few tricks and a careful eye.

Here are 5 tips for working within a budget to create a living space that you’re happy to come home to.

Create a Sample Board to Avoid Mistakes
Something that seems great in your head might simply look weird in your living room, but a sample board helps you picture it clearer and avoid expensive mistakes. 

Take inspirational clippings from magazines and tack them to black (not white) poster board. Add swatches of fabric, paint chips, carpet and anything else until you get the right look.

Laminate flooring is a DIY job and it covers up ugly, old vinyl. 

Paint Floors Instead of Refinishing
Worn wood floors degrade the look of some rooms, although they can work to your advantage in a rustic or cottage setting. If the expense and labor of refinishing wood floors finds you thinking about carpet, rethink and consider paint. 

Painted wood floors are classic, easy to clean and stand up to heavy traffic. Apply bonding primer first, then several coats of floor paint. Seal the floor with urethane for a long-wearing finish.

Thrift stores turn up the most unexpected treasures, and older pieces are usually made well. 

Shop Estate Sales and Thrift Stores
High-quality furnishings usually come with equally high price tags, but you’ll replace a cheap sofa a lot sooner than a good one. 

The best finds on solid, well-made furnishings are at estate sales, thrift stores and even flea markets. Learn to look past quirky or outdated upholstery to appreciate the overall design and construction. Upholstery is replaceable, and you can learn to do that at home or hire it out.

Solid wood furnishings with a scratches and wear are also worth bringing home. Refinishing wood is a simple, although messy, job. With some sandpaper, stain and sealer or paint you can make a sturdy old dresser look stunning.

Sew your Own Draperies
As with furniture, cheap draperies won’t do anything to boost the look of your home. Instead of buying pre-made, inexpensive drapes, bring out the sewing machine and make your own. 

Upholstery fabric sold by the yard lets you choose from a wide range of colors, patterns and fabrics. Simple, elegant drapes are nothing more than rectangles of fabric with a muslin liner sewn into the back side. With drapery clips, you don’t even need a casing across the top. Snap the clips across the top edge of the drapes and slide the clips onto the rod. 

Filling in the Gaps
If the budget is almost gone but the room still looks sparse, it’s time to bring in some extras. 

Plants add life to any room, and the bigger the better. Green, growing things placed anywhere you have a vacancy makes the space feel fuller without the overcrowded sensation of too much furniture.

A few oversized, square pillows do more to upgrade a simple sofa than numerous little decorative cushions.

Mirrors become instant focal points reflecting light and drawing attention with interesting frames. Instead of buying a mirror, find a large picture frame at a thrift store or flea market and have a mirror cut to fit.

If the room still looks wrong, take a photograph. When something looks off but you can’t put your finger on it, seeing the space on a computer monitor lets you step back more objectively and figure out the problem.

A tight decor budget doesn’t mean you’re relegated to discount stores and cheap imitations. Being thrifty and clever make your home look like no one else’s, and you’ll have money left over for a great bottle of wine.