Blog Post

How to pair different materials: our interior designer's guide

  • fabrics
  • Interior design
  • Mid-century modern
  • Scandi style
Back to blogs
Olivia Lowry
how to pair materials in interiors which fabrics go together how to choose a sofa fabric linen and velvet linen and boucle boucle and velvet

If there’s one question that pops up frequently for us, it’s all about pairing fabrics. With so much choice out there, it can be hard to know how to put a room together, especially if you’re new to the furnishing game. Will that velvet accent chair go with my linen sofa? What type of wood table is best for a scandi living room? What fabrics go with boucle? 

We sat down with Swyft interior designer Kelly Collins to get all of the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

How do you start pairing materials together in a room?

"If I’m starting with a blank slate when furnishing a room, the first thing I’m asking is how the space is going to be used. To pick materials for your interior, whether a sofa fabric or a rug type, it’s important to consider whether they’ll suit your lifestyle. For example, I’d love a super sleek marble table, but it’s not a practical choice with my toddler in the house. It’s about making smart decisions that work for your space that still fit with the style you’re after."

chesterfield sofa linen sofa neutral sofa glass coffee table

What materials are popular in interiors right now?

"Right now we’re seeing loads of different textures being combined together, which is interesting as a few years ago it was all about layered patterns. Boucle is a big one that we thought might be a fleeting trend but has now surged in popularity, showing no signs of stopping. I’m seeing lots of non-patterned neutrals being layered - personally, I love layering a plain weave linen with boucle fabric. This is perfect for that more laid-back ‘lived-in’ look that I touched on in our Spring/Summer style guide earlier in the year."

boucle sofa boucle corner sofa white boucle sofa cream boucle sofa

Is there a formula for styling interiors with different materials?

"As a general rule of thumb, I’d say try not to layer lots of ‘heavy’ fabrics together. When I say ‘heavy’ I’m talking about thick pile fabrics - so I wouldn’t go for a combination of velvet curtains, a velvet sofa and velvet cushions. Instead, it’s better to create an even balance with a mix of heavy and light textures, such as a linen and velvet combination. This helps to break up the room visually and create the illusion of more space."

Should my furniture match?

"Although some furniture can look good matching  (take nesting tables, for example), my usual advice would be to avoid completely matching everything by colour and material. If you’re keen on a particular sofa fabric, it’s fine to get the same for your accent chair, just make it a different colour. This contrast will help make your space feel less cluttered. I always aim for a cohesive rather than matching look when styling. If you’re new to home decor, try introducing a different fabric in the same colour palette. A good example is this setup (pictured below). I paired our Model 04 sofa bed in mottled velvet Ocean (light blue) with a velvet footstool in Indigo (dark blue)." 

mottled velvet sofa with velvet footstool blue sofa with blue footstool blue velvet sofa

Does boucle go with velvet?

"Absolutely. I really like using this combination in living rooms and bedrooms in particular. In this look, I’ve paired a statement modular sofa in boucle with an accent chair in velvet fabric. If you’re not wanting to go this bold, you can always add boucle cushions to your velvet sofa. Alternatively, I love using boucle accent chairs with velvet sofas - the contrast in the smooth finish of velvet and the looped yarn of a boucle is a fail-safe option."

boucle corner sofa with velvet accent chair

Does velvet go with linen?

"In short - yes! Velvet and linen are two of our most popular fabrics here at Swyft, so naturally we get this question a lot when our customers are choosing sofas and armchairs. To pair velvet and linen successfully, I’d always advise choosing different tones, no matter your colour choice. This means going for a lighter colour in one element (shown here with a Model 01 sofa in Seaglass Linen), and contrasting it with a darker velvet (paired here with a storage ottoman in Charcoal). In other rooms I’d apply the same concept, whether that be a linen bed with a velvet accent chair, or a velvet sofa with a linen loveseat. Part of the fun is experimenting with materials, so don’t be afraid to mix and match."

linen sofa with velvet ottoman blue sofa with black ottoman

What materials should you use for a mid-century modern room?

"Choose sofas and chairs in velvet, suede or faux leather for mid-century style spaces. These heavier fabrics have a timeless quality to them, which is perfect if you’re looking to create a mid-century modern room. Choosing these fabrics means you’ll have a great base for adding in other materials in the space, typical of that 70’s retro aesthetic. Opt for wooden furniture in a mid-tone as we have with this room - teak is the most popular choice for its warm undertone. Use it for side tables, cabinets and coffee tables, styled with genuine retro lamps and flea market finds."

mid century modern living room red sofa red velvet sofa

What materials should you use for a scandi-style room?

"Scandi homes are all about using organic materials for a light and airy feel. If you’re furnishing a scandi-style room, choose upholstered sofas in linen or cotton. Keep furniture equally light in tone by choosing birch wood coffee tables, storage units and sideboards. If you want to play around with textures a bit more, bring in stone elements like the terrazzo side table in this room (pictured below), preferably in a matte finish. For soft furnishings, I like to keep the same organic feel by using linen and cotton throws and cushion covers."

linen sofa scandi style living room scandi living room ideas

Need more decor help? Head over to our Instagram to leave us your interior design questions, or get in touch by emailing 
Order Free Fabric Swatches Shop Made To Order Sofas

( 0 )Comments

Leave a comment

Want more? Discover interior inspiration and exclusive updates

Sign up to our weekly newsletter for more like this.