Swatch Watch

Curtains. We need ’em for our bedroom. After all, we’ve got some good momentum going in this room and we can’t wait to get more color in there (excuse this pic taken before the mirror went white):

After debating things like a deep blue or a shimmery silver color, we agreed that we wanted to DIY some curtains (using this method) that brought out the golden green leaves on our new duvet. We also agreed that we didn’t want to do something too patterned because it would just compete with the large-scale print on the bed (and it is a bedroom so we want it to feel somewhat restful instead of energetic/cray-zay). So with a color in our heads (and a few similar paint swatches for reference in Sherry’s purse) we began the hunt for a plain or subtly patterned curtain option in that greeny-gold hue.

And boy was it a hunt (lots of hunting references today, apparently).

I’ll spare you a store-by-store play-by-play, but basically if it sold fabric and it was in Richmond, we went there. Probably twice. It was partially our fault for being naively hopeful the first day of hunting (yes, it was a multi-day mission). After bypassing lots of options for fear of not being “interesting enough,” – or not being “the perfect color” or “the right price” – we snagged one measly fabric sample as the last store closed that we hit up that evening (U-Fab for any locals wondering where it came from). That way at least we wouldn’t be coming home empty handed.

Verdict: it was too lime and not gold enough in person. Not that we wanted it to be a perfect match (we actually prefer a bit of subtle variation so it doesn’t look too Stepford Wives perfect), but this fella didn’t even feel like he belonged in the family. We also realized that even a small pattern was probably too much for our duvet to handle (as soon as we laid our scrap of fabric down on the bed we felt all jittery and scrambled- not exactly the calm smooth vibe we’re going for). Which was kinda sad, because you know we love a good geometric print. And we don’t mind mixing and matching prints and patterns when they can coexist a bit more easily.

So on Day Two we overcompensated and took home samples of everything that had even a remote chance of working. You never really know until you get things in your own space anyway (store lighting is so different than real house lighting).

From this bunch we pulled out our two strongest contenders. One was a heavy linen-looking swatch (left) and the other was a rich feeling suede-ish dude (right).

We were torn between the two… until we taped them on the wall. That was a game changer. We figured judging them on the wall and in the lighting they’d get everyday was the only true way to make a decision (since light bounces off things that are flat on a bed differently than things that are hanging vertically on the wall). And look what happened:

They totally turned brown on us! Boy was the whole wall-taping thing a good call. Suddenly both of them looked much darker and much less greeny gold than they did when they were basking directly under the overhead light on the bed. We quickly realized both would weigh the room down more than we wanted, which is how we found ourselves embarking on Day Three of the hunt – which would include going to a store that we mindlessly missed on Day One: Hancock Fabrics. Sometimes we skip the chains in favor of the fun local guys, but we’re glad we gave Hancock a chance. It’s where we found this happy little swatch:

I know, big whoop. But since we were on the verge of giving up completely, it was a huge whoop for us. He was close to the duvet cover, but a bit greener and cheerier – just a tad more avocado than golden. No pattern, just a subtle rib – but the semi heavy feel of the fabric (which my wife describes as “cotton duck-esque” for those who know what that means and don’t think it sounds like a cartoon character or a dish on Top Chef). Oh and we forget to mention the best news yet, since Hancock was having a 50% off sale (cha-ching) it was actually the cheapest swatch that we had seen in all three days of our little fabric hoarding expedition, ringing in at just $8.49/yard. So even though it took going to two Hancock Fabric locations to find enough yardage (12.5 yards total – which should cover both windows and a closet panel), we were thrilled to come home with it. And excited to regain feeling in our butts after all of that driving around. Seriously, three cheers to Clara for being such an amazing car-seat-lovin’ fool baby. Here are our spoils after that last fabric run:

Now we just have to get around to cutting, hemming, and hanging them (notice we grabbed rods and ring clips for about $40 total from Target – I think that was sometime on Day Two). From the looks of things so far, these curtains and our duvet are going to be fast friends.

And don’t mind those wrinkles in the duvet. It just means it’s well loved.

Psst- Check out our cute niece and nephews (at least their profiles) and see how we made John’s parents all misty eyed here on Babycenter.


  1. B says

    That fabric is gorgeous. What is it called? Please tell me it’s something like Catalina Club Green–that would be too funny!

    • says

      Haha- sadly it didn’t have any name other than some number we can’t remember. We’ll have to name her something. How about Goldy? She has some cute gold undertones.


    • Amanda says

      I work at a Hancock Fabrics and it looks like our Home Dec cotton twill which is named (appropriately in this case): Success! :)

    • Sarah says

      Is there any way to find out the number? My local Hancock says they need the number and they could not go by that name…?

    • says

      Hey Sarah,

      We don’t have that number on the bolt or anything (it stayed on the main bolt- they just rolled our yardage onto a new one), but it’s the only large greeny-yellow ribbed upholstery fabric (over in the home section, not in the clothing/fleece section) in either of the Hancock stores here, so it was easy to find (we had to hit two stores to get enough, but it was quick to see it from across the room since it isn’t like there are a bunch of similar fabrics). Hope it helps!


    • Amanda says

      The number is 2912103. At least from what I can tell by the picture. Hancocks website has it too – the number is the same but the name is different.

  2. says

    Love the one you picked. It’s going to look great against the blue walls. I just got the deal of the century at Hancock’s this morning. I had been eyeing this fabric for months now. It was $35 yard and I need 20 yards to have slipcovers for chairs made. Twice now, a salesperson has told me it was going to go on sale for $5/yard. Of course, I rushed down on the day of the sale (2x) only to be denied the price. Today, I caught the girl that gave me the misinformation, alone in the store. After threatening to wrap her up in the 20 yards of fabric and take her home with me, she agreed to sell it to me for $5/yard!!!!! Such a great day for fabric buying.

  3. Nikki G says

    Wow, I’m glad you did this post – I never would have thought of taping swatches to the wall for fabric (why I would have treated it different than paint, I’m not sure..)! But thanks for the tip – should come in handy when we DIY some curtains for our nursery (so should your DIY curtain tutorial – yay)! Love you guys!!

  4. Christina says

    Way to be brave with color! I’d so go for white shears in that room, but I’m excited to see how this bolder choice turns out.

  5. says

    the taping of swatches on the wall – so simple – is something i’d never thought of! You’re inspiring me to “finish” off my cottage when i get back to Scotland – it’s a rental so no paint, but the paint work is pretty good. But as for soft furnishings….i’m definitely inspired again!

  6. jess says

    If you wanted to add some interest to the curtains… you could always do an iron-on trim or cook tie-backs in some raucous pattern…

    Anyway, looks great you too (as always).

    BTW… are you still accepting reader’s submissions for DIY before & afters? If so, I’ve got a doozy (sp– doozey?? douzie??) for you!

    • says

      Hey Jess,

      Yes! We love when people upload their before and after pics over on our Facebook page for all to see (see the button over near our search bar in the top right corner of the blog?). Wahoo!


  7. Lauren says

    Great job with the fabric….. “goes” without being too matchy with the duvet! Are you planning to keep the blinds that are in the window? I know you had similar blinds in your bedroom in the old house so I was just wondering if you were going to change it up in the new place!

    • says

      We’re working with what we have for now, but who knows down the line. They actually do a nice job of blocking out light and they look like thick wood ones (even thought they’re faux) so they’re definitely cool for now!


  8. Holly says

    I am becoming addicted to your blog as it is inspiring me to be bold and creative in my new house. As i live in Australia (can help you out with the voiceovers for your fabric hunts!) the specifics of where you source items aren’t relevant usually but the spirit and enthusiasm you bring to creating your home sure is! I nominated you guys for the homies award too!

  9. says

    You guys are DIYing so fast you are going to have your whole house done by summer. The bedroom is looking fantastic and I can’t wait for the curtains to go up. My hubby is still waiting for me to hem (iron on hem from Ikea) my new drapes. OK, maybe they are not so new any more. I got them in October. Susan

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