Decorating With Fabric

Have you noticed

how most cultures seem to have their very own distinct type of textile?

I’m slightly textile obsessed - I like to buy pieces of fabric from local markets when I’m traveling (and when I have room in my backpack!) as souvenirs, and usually, I end up using these textiles in my home to remind me of my wonderful adventures.

I just had to buy a scarf from this young lady in Mui Ne, Vietnam. She had her loom set up in the restaurant and was producing the softest cotton scarves ever!

Looking back on my travels through South East Asia, it’s no wonder why I’m head over heels for fabric – I was faced with beautiful textiles every where I turned.

Shimmering silk on the Cambodian dancers.

Fabric is used as decor for the shrines in Ubud, Indonesia.

Textiles are used in abundance to decorate this movie room in a Sihanoukville hostel in Cambodia.

It’s quite easy to transform a space with nothing more than a few textiles.

If you read last week’s post about my new Panama rental house (click HERE if you missed it), you noticed that I used some beautiful Indian batiks to cover the ugly upholstered furniture, as well as an Indonesian sarong (or two) to decorate the bed.  I tried hanging one of my batiks from the ceiling in an attempt to create a more inviting interior (and to disguise the ugly acoustic tile ceiling) but the fabric dimensions were too small and it looked like I had taped a placemat onto the ceiling (definitely not the sexy Indian boudoir I was trying to achieve).

Luckily for you, there are many examples of how to put beautiful fabric to work in your own space.

Here’s a collection of both worldly textiles (batiks, sarongs, embroidered wool, etc. with heavy patterns) and also simple alternatives (solid colours, plain cotton, light gossamer) that can transform a lovely space into a fabulous space!

Draped ceiling fabric for a special event. (Image courtesy of

A French canopy in the living room looks great! (Image courtesy of

Fabric collected on the ceiling makes for a romantic and whimsical space. (Image courtesy of

I love the hap-hazard draping of these scarves to create a gypsy-style bedroom. (Image courtesy of

This Marimekko Kaivo canopy is so simple, yet it adds a vital pop of colour to this space and plenty of visual interest. ( Image courtesy of

This blue gossamer ceiling is just plain beautiful. (Image courtesy of eventsbydesign via

I love this treatment - upholster a wall in fabric and then carry it through to the ceiling to create a canopy. (Image courtesy of

Another example of a continued canopy designed by John Saladino - this one is less structured than the former. (Image courtesy of

This Love Fort designed by the talented Justina Blakeney (of and Caitlin Levin can be a permanent fixture in any playroom or bedroom. (Image courtesy of

Hanging fabric is simply divine. Treating fabric as art is never a bad idea.

A wall-mounted tapestry is a nice way to introduce texture and reduce noise in a space. (Image courtesy of

If you have small cuts of fabric, why not stretch them onto frames and hang them in a collage? (Image courtesy of

I love this idea! Hang those compelted embroidery loops on the wall instead of taking off the fabric. A variety of sizes makes for a beautiful collection. (Image courtesy of

Or...hang the same embroidery loops on the ceiling for an unconventional pop of colour and charm. (Image courtesy of

Fabric is awesome (and so are you) so don’t shy away from using it for something other than a table cloth or a bedspread. Have fun!
Psssst…did you know that Passport To Design has been nominated for a Lovelies Award? Click HERE to vote for Passport To Design as your favourite interior design blog :)

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  1. I have done the frames with fabric over them in a bedroom before. My friends thought I was crazy! I thought it was nice!

  2. Well I think you’re brilliant, Ron :) Keep up the crafty good work with fabric!

  3. I think the love fort wins…closely followed by the textile pieces stretched over wooden frames. Already voted! Best of luck in The Lovelies, lovely.

  4. fab post. textile-ophile here too. that love fort brings me back to fan-tent days when i was a wee bit younger. ahem.
    weave on. oxo t

  5. The Love Fort IS gorgeous, isn’t it? Justina is so talented! Thanks for the vote, Robyn :)

  6. Thanks for the comment, Trish :) My new favourite term is officially “textile-ophile”! HAHA!

  7. I need to go traveling asap so I can go and grab beautiful fabrics to adorn my home!!

  8. Shannon – I’ll be traipsing through Central America in a month and can pick up some fab fabric for you if you’d like… But it’s not quite the same unless you stumble upon that special find on your own! Thanks for reading xox

  9. Well, when you design the nursery in our house (when we have kiddos) I want the room you showed with the couch and drapes on the ceiling… Great job as always.

  10. The world definitely needs a mini-Ponte and a mini-Denise (yes, that’s two kiddos)…I will bookmark the idea and file it away for you, Denise ;) xo

  11. Nah, just maybe 2 little Pontes’ – we can change the room to blue : ) xoxo

  12. Lovely. I wish I travelled more to exotic destinations to collect fabrics like you do… Fabric purchased from a showroom doesn’t have that same character. Although I love all types of fabric – If I’m having a down day I visit a fabric showroom, it really perks me up!
    Great post!

  13. Oh, and congrats on the nomination! Off to vote now!

  14. Visiting a fabric store for a pick-me-up is a great idea, Staci :) Thanks for the comment and thanks for voting!

  15. Great post Tania. I think we must have been separated at birth… Impossible, I know, but your interest and passion for fabrics and their utility mimics my own.

  16. I may do some of that fabric and frame stuff at our new house! And btw I love how active you are on here! You really take the time to talk to people!

  17. Maureen – Good to see another fabric-fanatic here! :) What types are fabric are your favourite? I’m not discriminatory, but I do love anything handmade, like batiks.

  18. Ron – of course I’m active on my own blog – I love my readers and I’m so thankful they have taken the time to read and comment. :) I like to talk to everyone!

  19. Fabric finds are like little treasures. I love the way the fabric drapes from the ceilings and makes the room so warm and romantic. One would never know if the ceiling is cracked or not!

  20. It is actually a great and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Fabric collected on the ceiling I so love!! Is there anyway you can explain how this is done I would love to do it in my upstaires room!
    Thanks I love the pictures……great ideas!

  22. hello,
    we are manufacturer of ladies garments (screen print and block print), hand bags (in hand block print, screen print, old embroidery and new embroidery
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  26. I wish I knew more about fabrics because I just ordered a whole roll of gossamer for my nursery and it’s not at all why I had in mind. What was used for that dark pink ceiling drape? Or what kind of fabric do you recommend for a nursery ceiling drape? We are trying to cover sky lights and create an elegance for the room :)

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