Easy Decorating Updates with Fabric

With these easy designs and fabulous fabrics, you can give your home a bold new look in just one weekend.

Three Fabric Panels

Large rectangles of pretty fabric can also do double duty as a headboard. In this room, we stretched fabric pieces over three artist's canvases. Pull the fabric taut and staple in the back. Hang behind a bed.

Fabric-Covered Corkboard

Find tea towels or fabric pieces large enough to wrap around an inexpensive cork bulletin board. Spray the front of the board with adhesive. Press the fabric to the board and smooth out air bubbles. Wrap fabric around the sides and staple it to the back.

Covered Chair Seat

Update a chair with new fabric. Cut fabric to 3 inches larger than the chair seat. Unscrew the seat and remove. Wrap the fabric around the seat, smoothing it to avoid puckering. Staple the fabric to the seat's underside. Trim off excess fabric. Screw the seat back on for the look of a new chair.

Gridded Canvases

Another option for above-the-bed fabric is a grid of nine canvases. Choose fabric prints that work well together. Wrap a fabric around each canvas. To determine the width needed for the grouping, measure the width of your mattress, add about 8 inches, and divide by three. Hang the canvases with the aid of a level.

Bold Patterned Wall Hangings

Love a bold patterned fabric but don't know how to use it? Frame it for the wall. Make or buy three frames in the size you want. Cut fabric into three same-size rectangles. Remove the glass from the frames. Use spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the backs of the frames.

Fabric Frame

For a fun accent, cover a mirror's frame in a spunky fabric. This works best on a mirror with a flat frame. Remove the mirror. Cut a fabric circle a few inches larger than the circumference of the frame. Cut a circle opening in the center of the fabric circle. Wrap fabric around the frame; cut small slits every couple of inches to get the fabric to lie flat and smooth around the frame's edge. Adhere the fabric using decoupage medium. Apply several coats for a smooth surface. Put the mirror back into the frame.

Slipcovered Chair

Old wooden armchairs can be found for a cheap price at most thrift stores. Buy one and give it a new look. Upholster the back and add a frilly slipcover for the seat.

Cupboard Door

Turn an old cupboard door on its side for a wall hanging. Place pieces of fabric in the open spaces. Position the fabric in such a way that the pattern continues between frames. Adhere the fabric to the frame with double-sided tape or fabric glue.

Window Frames

For a new outlook in your bedroom, find old window frames that measure about the width of your bed. Remove the glass and cut fiberboard to fit in the openings. Cut favorite fabrics to fit each section and adhere them to the fiberboard with spray adhesive. Install the fiberboard in the frame openings, and install the window frames above your bed.

Hanging Panels

Instead of hanging fabric panels right on the wall, hang them on hooks. Decoupage the fabric to artist's canvases or plywood. Staple sturdy ribbon to the panel backs for quick hanging.

Patterned Bliss

With easy-care cottons and bold designs, there's no mistaking these modern fabrics for the harvest gold and avocado green so popular in the 1960s. The mix-and-match patterns in yellow, rust, brown, and shades of green may be retro-inspired, but they're up-to-date in this living-area makeover. Mixing modern and traditional elements gives this space the look of comfort and style.

Bold Pillows

Pretty pillows start out with simple modified square pillows, tufted with an oversize covered button. While you've got the cutting-and-stitching rhythm going, make the fabulous star-shape pillow. It may take a bit more time, but it's so worth the investment. You will need to make your own pillow form because of the unusual shapes, but it's a breeze with the easy instructions below.

Easy-to-Make Throw

Get the look of a modern quilt without spending hours piecing and hand-stitching. For this patchwork throw, use one large square of fabric in the center, and cut and stitch large blocks of contrasting patterns around the outside. Just right for snuggling on cold evenings, your throw may get a lot of use. We recommend prewashing the fabrics before sewing to prevent shrinkage.

Revamped Lighting

If you love your lamp base but the drum shade not so much, give it a facelift with a modern fabric. Choose a pattern from your pillows or throw for the body and then band the top and bottom in the same fabric or go for contrast with a companion print. Working with a drum shade allows you to use almost any textile; a shade with an angle looks best with a small overall print or a solid fabric that doesn't require a pattern match.

Quick-Patch Tablecloth

This great tablecloth requires next to no measuring. Use one width of the fabric for the center and one quarter width for the perimeter. The charm of this set is twofold -- big blocks of color reduce assembly time and give you a look that's new and fresh.

Quick Napkins

Dress up a multipattern tablecloth with coordinating napkins made from mix-and-match fabric scraps. Keep the setting lively by changing the patterns from front to back and napkin to napkin.

Can-Can Centerpiece

It takes just minutes to make a conversation-provoking centerpiece. Pick up quart-size paint cans from your home center and mount fabric on the cans with fabrics glue at the top and bottom edges. Fold and press additional fabric to make bias bands for the top and bottom and adhere them with glue. (Covered piping is optional.)

Chandelier Chic

A new light fixture can completely change the look of a room. Buy a shade fixture and cover it with fabric, or choose a separate shade and adaptor kit and make your own in any shape or size. When hanging your fixture over a table, leave 30 to 34 inches above the tabletop if you have an 8-foot ceiling (for higher ceilings, add 3 inches for each additional foot of height).

A Pattern-Filled Bath

Peaceful and private retreat, a bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but there's no need for it to be boring. Pretty colors and lively patterns make this bath a joy. The key is determining what your guests see first when they open the door. In this case, it's the shower and tub that run across the entire width of the room. By making a patchwork curtain the focal point and then accessorizing with companion towels, a window panel, and wastebasket trim, you'll ensure the space feels open and inviting.

Custom Curtain

For this easy curtain, it's all a matter of math. Divide the finished length of your curtain into thirds and work with full and half widths of fabric. Simple cutting and piecing along with bias finish this panel. Add large pom-poms added to the curtain hooks -- they're as easy as wrapping yarn around cardboard, tying off one edge, and clipping the opposite edge open.

Embellished Towels

Band your hand and bath towels by topstitching wide borders of fabric along the edges. Towels take a lot of abuse in the washing machine, so we recommend prewashing your fabrics to prevent shrinkage. Or simply make towels that are "hands off" for everyday use and display them as decoration only.

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