Ideas For Living Room
Country fabrics have the great advantage of being for the most part affordable. Ticking, muslin and unbleached calico are humble but splendid fabrics, and are so cheap that you can afford to be lavish and to experiment with dyeing, or machine quilting. Cotton velvet takes colour beautifully (unfortunately it loses it with less charm) and fine cotton needlecord, with a rich depth of colour, is due for a revival. There are expensive country fabrics, too – gloriously floral, up-market chintz, gently faded Amish patchwork and rich, dark, antique paisley – but a little of each goes a long way.
Often the look that works best in a country setting is evolved from bits and pieces lovingly collected from charity shops and junk stalls. Whereas you may not have time to sit and sew, others have done so in the past, and you might give a good home to a linen tablecloth with a hand-crocheted edge, or a cotton bedspread resplendent with drawn-thread work.
Searching out natural fabrics
Cultivate an eye for a good fabric – just as a carpenter eyes timber as an adaptable raw material that comes in all sorts of unlikely contexts. Charity shops often have fine old wool blankets – now thrown out by most people in favour of duvets. In dark grey or navy they make comforting winter throws for sofas and armchairs, especially if you bind their edges with bright wool and Italianate panache. Look also for genteel floral linen curtains, which can be ripped apart and used for loose upholstery; or lace-trimmed linen hand-towels, which can double as curtains for a glazed door panel. Embroidered sheets, worn by decades of use to a parlous delicacy, can make fresh-looking and washable curtains for a kitchen window. Cotton napkins embellished with satin stitch flowers and French knots may find better use as cushion covers on a bedroom chaise longue. But if you should be lucky enough to find old cotton or, better still, fine linen sheets and pillowcases, you can do no better than to use them as they were intended and experience sleep as sweet as it should be.