The secondary fabric is the fabric that will be used for larger accessories or medium-sized pieces of furniture such as side chairs, wingback chairs, etc, or maybe smaller pieces like seats of dining room chairs. The secondary fabric can also be used on such items as a bedskirt and shams in coordination with the anchor fabric. This fabric, when paired with the anchor fabric, should compliment the room and should not become the focal point fabric.
The accessorizing fabric is used sparingly around the room in spurts of color. It is meant to be the "finale" of sorts for the "show" that is being produced by the anchor and secondary fabrics. Since you will use this fabric on a limited basis, it makes it possible to splurge on more elegant and luxurious fabrics as brocades, velvets, chenilles and jacquards. It is possible to have more than one accessorizing fabric
A good example of placement of accessorizing fabric(s)is lampshades: cover lampshades with a soft chenille and add tassel fringe for an elegant decorator statement. Small throw pillows: a pillow made with accessorizing fabric(s) will take center stage when placed in front of larger, plain pillows. A table runner: make a simple, no-sew runner and add two handmade tassels on each end.
The Design Elements of the Accessorizing Fabric
The fabric I have chosen to represent the accessorizing fabric is a celery green chenille. It has a wonderful texture that will add richness to the room.
There is a recognizable three color scheme. Using this color scheme, I can choose other accessories such as candles, flowers, etc. I can also choose to carry these same three colors throughout the home, or - I can choose another complimentary color from the anchor fabric to use in an adjoining room. (To further understand creating a color scheme, read the section entitled "Building a Color Scheme That Flows.")
As I mentioned before, fabric patterns are considered either curvey or straight. If you look at the three fabrics above, placed in the order they are used, you will see that the pattern is curvy, straight, curvy. Why? Because this creates visual interest and makes the eye continue around a room. For example, if my dining room featured a striped (straight) wallpaper, what pattern do you think would be best for window treatments? A curve. Why? They each compliment each other better than they compliment themselves. In other words, the wallpaper would loose its visual interest if I paired it with another striped fabric. There are exceptions, as in the case of a room which is decorated in a single fabric scheme. But, generally, if you follow this rule of thumb you won't go wrong.
When I described the elements of pattern, I said that all fabrics fall under the category of small, medium or large. If you notice, each of these scales are represented. The large is the chintz, the medium is the plaid and the small is the chenille. Some designers might say that you need one of each for a well-rounded and coordinated room. I tend to disagree. I think it is possible to have a selection of fabrics that fall under a medium, medium, small pattern - just to name an example. For instance, lets say I had chosen a large safari type print that featured different African animals in earth tones colors as well as some blacks and golds. Then, I wanted to use a black and white stripe for my secondary fabric. But, what if I also wanted to use a black and gold leopard print for my acessorizing fabric. Then, my fabric pattern would be large, medium, medium. I think that as long as the scale of all fabrics work in close relationship to each other, you can use any combination. What I would not recommend is to use two or three large size prints and suddenly try to throw in a mini scale print. This will seem too off balance and the mini print will look out of place.
I hope this has helped to take out some of the confusion of coordinating fabrics. I realize that this can be one of the hardest steps when it comes to decorating a room because unlike a gallon of paint, which you may have purchased for $30 or less, you are talking about a major expense when it comes to purchasing enough fabrics to decorate an entire room - or even a single project such as a window treatment. So, I would also like to suggest the following. If you are trying to match fabrics to either walls, wallpaper, furniture or other fabrics - do not rely on those itsy-bitsy pieces of fabric which stores supply as "swatches." Go ahead and purchase at least an 1/8 of a yard. This way, you can take the fabric home, lay it out on the sofa or tape it against your wallpaper. By doing this, you will get a true feeling for the fabric. A small swatch can be very deceiving because you do not always get the total picture - and often, several colors that are featured in the fabric are not even represented in the small swatch. By the way -this is my same philosophy as far as those tiny paint chips are concerned. They, too, can be deceiving. Although you may spend a little more in the long run, go ahead and purchase a quart of the color you have chosen, take it home and apply it to the walls, etc, in small areas. Only by doing this can you know for sure if that color is the right color.