Oh, man! I hope everyone’s okay with this heat-wave we’re having.
And, thank you so much for all of your kind comments for Sunday’s post about iconic designer fabrics.
I see that a good many of you would love to have some ideas and sources for budget fabrics.
But, of course, you don’t want the fabrics to look cheap.
Well, there’s good news. It used to confound me why the cheap fabrics were almost always such awful prints in bizarre colors. It seemed as if the manufacturers were making a point of saying, “Yes, it’s cheap fabric, and just to make sure you realize that, we’ve made it as offensive and tasteless as possible.”
As we all know, money and taste do not always go together.
And, even if one has a healthy budget, a designer fabric used for custom draperies could easily run $15,000.00 or more– just for the fabric!
However, some manufacturers finally woke up and began creating budget fabrics with exquisite designs and colors. Some of them are so well-done, you really cannot tell the difference.
So, what IS the difference? The difference is mainly in the way the fabric is manufactured. In an expensive print, you’ll usually see a key on the selvage of the fabric which shares all of the colors used. Those colors are hand-screened onto the cloth.
For budget fabrics, all of the colors are only done by machine.
Part of the difference is also the actual cloth used.
And, like clothing, some of it is merely in the brand name.
But, regarding window treatments and budget fabrics, here’s something I realized many years ago.
That is; when it came to selecting the fabrics. The expensive fabrics didn’t look any better than the budget fabrics! The most important thing is that the material drapes well. And, a good heavy thermal lining gives the impression of luxury. For much more information about what you need to know about window treatments, I recommend this post first.
But, there is also this post, which effectively is a free window treatment guide, linking to numerous posts.
However, if you want even more information:
Please consider purchasing 333 Decorating Rules & Tips You Need to Know. In this 200+ page guide, there’s a 50-page chapter on window treatments with about 25% non-blog published information, as well as an extensive 9-page window treatment glossary of all of dozens of terms you need to know.
And, guess what? Today is the beginning of an exceedingly rare THE-HEAT-IS-GETTING-TO-ME FLASH SALE of all of my products!
20% off of everything!
For more information about the flash sale, the products, plus the dates, please go here.
Okay, let’s get back to our budget fabrics – (that don’t look it.)
The first point I’d like to make is if you only wish to do pillows, the expensive fabric pillows, in some cases aren’t a whole lot more money. However, the fabric will only be on one side of the pillow.
The other thing is that you can do a mix. For instance, you could splurge on two really fabulous pillows that are more money. And, then for the rest, do budget pillows.
Another point is, do you want the fabric so that you can create something for yourself, or do you want the items made for you? I know that many of you are super-talented and able to sew. And, you enjoy it, too. If so, then of course, you can save a bunch by creating your own pillows, curtains, slipcovers, etc.
So, can we do high-low fabrics? Well, if I had about 100 hours, maybe. Some of these are reminiscent of a high-end fabric. But, many stand on their own. In other words, most of these aren’t direct copycats of the expensive fabrics.
As for the price, how much are these budget fabrics?
Most of them are under $30.00 And, many are under $25.00. There are a few that are a little more expensive, but only a few and, they’re really lovely. Still, if you need 50 yards for window treatments, you might want to go with something else.
But, speaking of window treatments, here’s what I did at least 50% of the time.
I did a plain white or slightly off-white linen or even a plain white cotton duck (canvas). Usually, there was a trim or banding of some sort.
However, the rest of the time, we did a floral print or a geometric. Well, for the most part. I’ve also done paisleys, plaids, checks, trellises. And that goes for both draperies and Roman shades. It all depended on the room, style, client’s budget, and preference.
Laurel, I’m nervous about buying fabric online. What if I don’t like it?
That’s a good question. You should always get a sample. You really can’t see the colors accurately on your screen. Some vendors do a better job than others of photographing and color-correcting their images. But, many don’t bother.
Laurel, I noticed that you don’t have any solid budget fabrics. I’m not too wild about prints. But, I need some solid budget fabrics. Could you include some sources?
Okay, I understand. Many of these sources on Etsy also have solid fabrics. I’m not including them because all you’re looking at is a solid block of fabric.
In addition, I have a load of budget fabric sources in Laurel’s Rolodex, (it’s also part of the FLASH SALE) including one of my favorite companies that is to the trade only. (it’s in the back of the guide hi-lighted under the sources I can’t live without.) If you’re in the design trade and you don’t know about this fabric vendor, you are leaving a crapload of money on the table.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re in the trade or even thinking about it, Laurel’s Rolodex is an invaluable tool I wish I had in the early years of my career. I felt like such an idiot when after years of paying a middleman, realized I had direct access to many of those vendors all along. Thus, I was able to save my clients money, while also putting more money in my own pocket.
For you design enthusiasts, the majority of the sources in Laurel’s Rolodex also have retail stores for those who are not in the trade.
Therefore, for the purposes of this post about budget fabrics, I am sticking primarily to fabrics with pattern that are sold by the yard. However, some of the fabrics will be in the form of pillow covers.
One note I want to add which came up in the comments from Sunday’s post is about the knife-edge of most of the pillows on Etsy.
Most of the vendors on Etsy will happily accommodate custom orders. So, if you want a 1/4″ welt of the same fabric or a contrast fabric, that is often possible. Of course, there will be an upcharge for the custom order.
Okay, I’ll stop yakking and start the show and tell portion. haha
The first thing I want to share with you are the names of some of the budget fabric brands.
- P Kaufmann
- Robert Allen (sorry, now out of business, but some fabrics might still exist online)
- Waverly (has been around forever)
And Vern Yip has an exquisite collection of slightly more expensive fabrics, manufactured by Fabricut.
Most are $50.00 and below!
However, Decorator’s Best has the entire line by Fabricut. They are a source in Laurel’s Rolodex and one I ordered from numerous times. And, get this, they have well over 6,000 fabrics that are $50.00 and below.
Oh, wait. I found Vern’s fabrics at Fabricut. There are a couple hundred $50.00 and under! Some are trims too. Some do go over $50.00. But, the most expensive is $80.00. That link puts the fabrics in order from least expensive to most expensive.
And, below are some of my favorite budget fabric vendors on Etsy.
ShopMyFabrics – Extensive and gorgeous line of budget fabrics
ColorLoom – Oh my!!! These are fantastic!
Fabric samples from ColorLoom are $1.00 each.
ReneesFabrics – An incredibly charming line you’re going to love.
FabricBeyond – Lovely line of fabrics and pillows
DesignAndDecor1004 – Window Valances Pillow Covers Designer Home Fabrics
Fabrics4All – Many wonderful prints and solids too!
CreativeInteriorsMS – Beautiful fabrics and pillows
StitchandBrush – less expensive pillows
SpoonFlower – Very interesting line with choices of cloth and more.
TheFabricCo – pillow covers and also some high-end remnants.
LinenMeStore – Linens!!!
UptownFabric – Uptown fabrics and Downtown prices.
Finally, like Sunday, I have created color-coordinated mini widgets for dozens of budget fabrics.
(for more information, click on any image.)
Interrupting myself. Above you’ll see a budget fabric substitute for Schumacher’s beautiful Chenonceau. (below)
You can get Chenonceau here and other colorways, too.
Below is a graphic to pin to pinterest
I hope you guys enjoyed these budget fabrics.
Have to say I’m surprised at how much I found.
I’m planning on sticking to this budget theme for a while.
And, for more savings, please check out the flash sale.
Also, please check out the newly updated HOT SALES.
PS: Some people have been asking for info about upholstery fabrics. That is a post about the best upholstery fabrics for slobs (like me) and people with pets.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the persimmon chinoiserie fabrics so much. And that peacock with the orange flowers?! You’ve sold them out already! The Laurel Bern effect.
SATEEN! Thank you!
Thank you so much for this budget series! Super appreciated! I have never been able to figure out why drapery trim (trim tape) is so expensive! I keep finding it starting at $12 a yard and going up, for some reason that just sounds so expensive to me considering what a small amount you get compared to a yard of fabric. Is it really that much more expensive to make?
Well, trims are usually woven and with a design, but not always if it’s a plain tape.
After I read this, I had to order about a million samples! Love, love, love this post!
Hi Laurel, I’ve been reading your blog a couple of years. It is by far the most informative and entertaining of those I read! Anyway, I started reading this post and as usual, I got sidetracked by a link…this time it was “As we all know, money and taste do not always go together.” As I read that post I thought about a decorating show from England-60 Minute Makeover. I’m watching re-runs. Every time I watch it I think about how much fun it would be to watch it with you, because they have so many decorating abominations on there from wall paint that clashes with the carpet to “up and over” wardrobes in the bedroom to the same threesome of red vases used in multiple episodes…it’s a hoot! But many thanks for all you do..I have never learned so much from a blog! Becky in Fairborn OH
Thank you, Laurel. I loved the fabrics you showed previously in the higher price ranges, but this post has so many beautiful ones that fit my budget! The way you have curated them and put them into similar groupings is great!
Oh Laurel — these fabrics are so lovely! Thank you for sharing, and especially for showing fabrics in groupings! Thank you also for the Flash Sale! Just ordered 2 products and I’m looking forward to settling in and reading it all!
I know nothing about decor but I have been sewing for 50 years. Spoonflower does not have a great reputation in the sewist world. Its designs are great and the self-design feature is appealing but the fabrics do not wear well at all. If it is a decorative pillow on a chair that is never touched it may be fine but I would not spend my (very) hard earned money and time on it. Just an FYI.
These posts on all these beautiful fabrics have been wonderful! And love the widgets! Thank you!
Could you recommend a type of fabric to use on a daybed that gets a LOT of use for reading, communing with cats, staring at the ocean, and tv watching. The fabric that is on it now (I bought the piece used) is a cotton chintz-like fabric. I’d like something not scratchy that would be comfy for sitting on with bare legs and feet and that would hold up better that what is on it, which has worn through and ripped.. Thank you.
I clicked on quite a few of the fabrics you featured in the last grouping and they are marked as sold. Thought you’d like to know.
They were available on the 21st, as far as I know.
Robert Allen/Duralee is still alive. The bankruptcy happened, yes. But it’s been purchased, ie saved by RADG Holdings an LLC controlled by a real estate developer.
Thank you, Laurel! This is a great list!
Just want to comment about Robert Allen. I actually called the company this morning about a fabric on its outlet site. I couldn’t get through to the outlet number, so I called the main number (1-800-333-3777). Was on hold for 9 minutes but eventually a woman answered. I asked if Duralee were still in business and she said yes. She explained that Duralee had merged with Robert Allen. I did not ask if Robert Allen were still a going concern, but her answer to the question about Duralee certainly implied that it is.
Not sure what to make of this, but thought I’d bring it to your attention since I literally got off the phone with Robert Allen 10 minutes before reading your post.
Thank you again for helping all your advice and tips!
oh, wow! Who knows? Thanks for the update.
Beautiful! Thank you, Laurel!
We asked, and you delivered! I love so many of the fabrics you presented. Thank you, thank you for all your efforts. Pinned for future reference!
Oooh, pig heaven! 🐷
Would you be willing to opine if I send you a few pics?
Wonderful post with yummy fabrics. Thank you!
Yes, Robert Allen went out of business early 2019. I work in seniors’ housing and I had all of the upholstered furnishings ordered for a building that we were opening in June 2019. The designer called me and said that almost everything we had ordered was no longer available. We had to go back to the drawing board at the last minute. My furnishings didn’t arrive until six weeks after we had opened.
Another manufacturer I love is Covington. Great pricing and lovely patterns. Their Kumar pattern is scrumptious.
I have terrible news! Robert Allen and Duralee are Kaput! Bankrupt! Gone! They merged last year and some finance guy took over and ran them to the ground. Everyone at the D&D building has been telling people not to buy anything that isn’t immediately in stock. Rumors had been flying for months before covid. Their showroom was packing up and the employees have been laid off. I think they are just selling off their existing inventory. I know, I can’t believe it either. Duralee was the absolute best for patterned upholstery 🙁
Oh, yes, thank you for the reminder, Tracy. I did hear about Duralee and I’m absolutely shocked! However, I didn’t realize that RA had merged with them. But, RA folding is shocking too. I placed dozens of orders with both companies over the years. That is just so sad.
Laurel, I love these posts on fabrics; there are so many choices it can be overwhelming. Question for you: My living room has neutral upholstery (browns and creams) with a Heriz rug in mostly red tones. Would you recommend pillows in brown/cream patterns or bringing some red from the rug?
Love your blog!
Well, I can’t say without seeing what you’re talking about and the rest of your home.
This is such a helpful post and those beautiful fabrics have gotten me inspired. And so I have a question: I’ve been trying to find fabric for a new sofa slipcover. Ours is Ralph Lauren’s Lakota Paisley, going strong for many years despite heavy usage and our cats, although it’s technically a cotton drapery/pillow fabric. The cats don’t scratch it because it is smooth, tight cotton with almost no texture. It’s very different from, say, Sunbrella, canvas, duck, twill, or linen-cotton blends. I seldom found anything like it at the fabric store (back when I could visit the great Zimmans), aside from more Lakota Paisley! When I see a likely fabric online and order a sample, it always has a more linen-like weave, which the cats would enjoy. So — is there a name for the kind of smooth cotton fabric I need? I’d almost call it “chintz” but it’s heavier and not a bit shiny. Thank you!
I’m not sure, but maybe a cotton sateen? Chintzes are shiny because there’s a coating on the fabric. If it’s sat on, that coating will wear off in time.
Yay! Thank you this is perfect timing for me with a family room redo! I actually recently reupholstered two vintage chairs with the red Waverly Braganza spice fabric you included with the cute leopards and tigers in my living room–it’s adorable and very vibrant in real life!
Beautiful fabric, but the real treat is how you presented them. Thank you!! I saw where a few were upholstery weight. Have you done …or will you, please do….a post on selecting upholstery fabric…dining chair vs club chair etc. Also budget sources??? That is asking a lot, …your blog has taught me so much…thank you!!
There is a post about upholstery fabric. I don’t know if it answers your questions or not, however.
What do you mean by dining chair vs club chair?
Thank you, Laurel! These are beautiful fabrics and I love the way you presented them in coordinating groups. It helps to see your tasteful choices presented so helpfully in the sticky area of “affordable fabrics”. (I never know where to begin.) Your blog is a gift to those of us who are trying to decorate our homes on our own and on a budget. I recently bought your 333 Rules Guide and I love it!
Thank you Laurel
Thank you Laurel for taking the time to show us some great fabrics which aren’t $250 a yard.
I love Megan Garrett’s home. She isn’t tame and I love that. Some would say eclectic, I say untamed. It would be so much fun to have a day to just sit in her home and “take it all in”.
Thank you Laurel for all you do to make our lives more entertaining. You’re a treasure.
I LOVE FABRIC! Really enjoyed this post and the online references. Thanks! Great resource and helps to make up for not being able to make in-person trips to a couple of my favorite fabric outlets (Atlanta and Crossville).
Great stuff! Thank you! Any chance you’d consider a post on upholstery options of crypton fabrics or faux leather/vinyl – items maybe appealing to readers with young kids or messy family.
Just an idea! Looking at doing dining chairs & it’s a bit overwhelming, all the options!
There might be some information in this post about upholstery fabrics. I should’ve linked to it in the post.