Tips & trends

Textile treasures

How important is the “dress” of a piece of furniture? Revitalizing furniture with new fabrics give life to eclectic pieces with a contemporary flavor. Try to do it with vintage textiles!

Wandering among fairs' and markets' booths inhabited by furniture and objects with many stories to tell, we realize more and more how the upholstery of a piece of furniture has an immediate impact on the surrounding atmosphere. We discussed it on intOndo in a podcast dedicated to old armchairs that regain life through fabrics that are in turn recovered, therefore creations in the name of the circular economy.

Online, more and more websites offer tips and video tutorials on how, by purchasing a low-cost piece of furniture, it is easy to change its perception quickly through upcycling. And what better material than a fabric, perhaps even a vintage and well preserved one, can give personality to restore and embellish a damaged or at first sight anonymous piece, making it unique?

Vintage fabrics tell their own era through colors, patterns and textures and, combined with new objects, they create new atmospheres. From fashion to the world of furniture, more and more brands and makers are focusing on the reuse of textiles, separating it, reassembling it to make new creations, whether it is to repair a chair's damaged upholstery, to make a special dress or a curtain with a retro flavor.

What are the trends? From clothes to interior design, the most popular vintage fabrics seem to be those decorated with prints inspired by Liberty, the English brand founded at the end of the 19th century. The contact between Liberty and the main artistic currents of the time was very strong, especially with figures such as designer William Morris, one of the most brilliant exponents of the Arts and Crafts movement, who created unmistakable floral and animal motifs in his fabric designs.

The 70s patterned fabrics remain popular, both in the floral decorations option and in the geometric and optical pattern version, generally very effective, especially when the color contrasts are vibrant.

Of great inspiration for contemporary décor are particularly sophisticated fabrics, such as those decorated by the great artists of the Viennese Secession and Viennese Modernism, who expressed themselves widely in the field of furnishing fabrics for chairs, armchairs, curtains, carpets, upholstery and clothes: from Josef Hoffman (in the picture) to Koloman Moser, up to architect Josef Frank, the number of designs produced for textiles by these masters is impressive. Reinterpreted in a modern way, these fantasies and and fabrics are still able to surprise.

Where to start if you intend to find vintage fabrics to embellish your furniture, whether they are also vintage or just a little anonymous? First of all, probe your attics and those of friends and relatives and ... who knows if some roffcuts will emerge to revive!

There are those who find vintage fabrics in flea markets, those who follow auctions featuring fabric stocks that have never been used or are defective, while the great textile brands are launching re-editions of their 20th century bestsellers, often renewed in the color combinations. A great source are those historic shops, which have become consolidated realities, which can offer rich samples for both tailoring and the world of furniture.

When you have scraps of vintage fabric at your disposal, indulge yourselves: from the packaging of unique bedside lamps to runners for the dining table; an idea is also to make curtains to revitalize a somewhat impersonal window in our living room. The seats, from that inherited armchair that does not convince us, to the sofa that lies abandoned in the cellar, remain must items to be upcycled with fabric; tose who are the most creative, will use old remnants to create patchwork between different fabrics.