Decorating Rules: How Many Textiles Should You Use In Each Room?

I was watching Sarah Richardson (Sarah 101) the other night (thanks DVR) and she mentioned that at the end of a makeover she has usually used around 10-14 fabric textiles in each room that she does.

And as the title of this post suggests, it totally surprised me. Doesn’t that sound like a lot? Of course she’s an expert when it comes to layering prints and patterns, but I couldn’t imagine a “regular Joe” going into a fabric store and walking out with 10-14 swatches that they were going to combine. But then I realized that she was counting the upholstery fabric on chairs and sofas and headboards along with curtains and a ton of accent pillows. So while vegging in the living room at 11pm while watching that very show, I looked around and counted all of the fabrics going on…

Karl The Sectional’s dark gray fabric (he’s from Ikea) = 1

The faux leather seat of our desk chair (from Target four years ago) = 2

The curtains (from Ikea in April) = 3

The linen-like fabric on the ottoman (from Marshall’s) = 4

The faux sheepskin draped over the ottoman (from Ikea last year) = 5

The green zebra pillows (from West Elm about a month ago) = 6

The printed pillows that I tea stained (from this etsy shop) = 7

The textured felt pillows (from Crate & Barrel last year) = 8

The branch pillow (from Ikea a while ago) = 9

The faux cow pillow (from Ikea a while ago) = 10

The shag mohair pillow (from Target a few months back) = 11

The soft champagne-y metallic pillows (from Bed Bath & Beyond years ago) = 12

Twelve! Who knew? Granted a lot of those fabrics are more tone on tone/textured than brightly patterned (thanks to the colorful rug and art going on). But it’s really interesting to think that we sort of subconsciously mixed all those materials together (although we didn’t exactly have things upholstered and tailored for us a la Sarah Richardson).

So it got me wondering how many fabrics you guys have going on in your living space. Is it in that 10-14 range? Way lower? Way higher? For some strange reason I’m dying to know how things stack up at everyone else’s house.

Tell me, tell me! Also, doesn’t Sarah have awesome blazers and what appears to be very glossy and perfect hair? The woman has style for days.


  1. Ashley says

    Idk my answer because I’m at work right now, but I love Sarah so much. That woman has taste and style FOR DAYS. She combines color and pattern so expertly.

  2. says

    As much enjoyment as I have gotten out of decorating every space I’ve lived in, I would JUMP UP AND DOWN AND POSSIBLY (most definitely) SQUEAL if given the chance to just hand it all over to Sarah Richardson and say, “go, just do whatever you think is best”. I can’t think of another designer where I wouldn’t want a little input. But, Sarah? She’s knows, man. She just knows.

  3. QS says

    Love Sarah! I’m way behind on the count as I only have 4-6 at any given time. I have actually been spending more time at the fabric store and looking at fabrics online, which is an accomplishment since I don’t even sew! I only wish I could afford to recover a few things like she does.

  4. Kayla says

    so interesting i never thought to count before. i definitely need more, my living room is way too boring.

    random question sort of related to textiles but not the decorating kind… what are your favorite places to buy clothes for Clara? She seriously has some of the cutest dresses/outfits I’ve ever seen!

    • says

      We get a lot of hand-me-downs thanks to the fact that she’s the fifth baby born within a year in our family. But we also get a few things (like the jumper in this morning’s post and the heart dress in the pic of her standing in the hallway from yesterday) from Old Navy on clearance.


  5. says

    1) That took me far too long to count in my head.
    2)We have about 9 fabrics, but that’s not including blankets we keep tucked away.
    3) Now that I’m thinking about this, I want to add some new textures and patterns into our new living room… Sherry, you may have gotten me in trouble!

  6. says

    I just counted my back living room and there’s 13 in here. I felt weird counting pillows though you know? Other rooms (like my dining room and kitchen) have almost none.

  7. says

    I’m not even sure that I can count the two that I have, considering the blanket that sits on the couch is just a slightly lighter tan brown than the couch itself! I promise I’m going to work on that, soon! Just as soon as I complete my sewing station downstairs… :/

  8. Erin says

    Sarah Richardson is the bomb! Seriously she is one of the best designers on HGTV. Sarah’s cottage…OMG! She uses a lot of fabric. Not just different textures but fabrics with patterns that I look at and thing would never even go together. Then she created this amazing room. I love her. Her sidekick Tommy is pretty awesome too.

  9. Meredith says

    That bit of info blew my mind too! It was one of those things that my husband and I simultaneously repeated in disbelief. She is crazy talented with fabric. Wonder how many different fabrics/textiles were in your old living room and/or den?

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