5 Clever Uses for Fabric

    Fabric can hide architectural imperfections. (Photo: Christa Richert/sxc.hu)I am the queen of fabric. I love it, collect it, sell it or give it away, and start all over again. When I was quilting, I had several large plastic bins filled with small to tiny pieces of cotton fabrics and couldn’t stop myself buying more. Any quilter or knitter will understand the desire to touch and own beautiful textiles. Through the years, I’ve also gotten very good at using fabric as a cover-up. I think of it like whipped cream or parsley – it can go a long way to making a something look great while hiding deficits.

    Sideboards: In the dining room of an old condo I once owned, I couldn’t afford to purchase a beautiful sideboard for surface space and storage. Instead, I flanked a baker’s rack with two fabric-covered sideboards. How to: I topped powder-coated metal storage cubes with a 48”x15” piece of luan and stapled decorator fabric to the front and sides of the piece. I topped it off with a contrasting piece of finished fabric. The storage underneath was easily accessible and I was able to select fabrics that coordinated well with my interiors.

    TV Stand Cozy: For a budget remodeling project in Boston I did for the television station WHDH’s “Room for Improvement”, I used some leftover fabric from the pillows and drapery and fashioned a covering for an old television stand in the homeowners' master bedroom. It was a relatively small, square stand with two cabinet doors below, which made it easy to cover. I finished the edges of two long rectangular pieces of fabric, one placed side to side, the other front to back, leaving the four corners open. The television sat on top of the covered cabinet. The storage below was easily accessible under the front “flap” of the cover.

    Hiding Architectural Deficits: I adore architectural symmetry and detail, yet a former condo of mine was sorely lacking in both. Particularly egregious was the combined living/dining area featuring three doors along a single wall – one to the kitchen, one to the hall and one just an open closet space. None of the doors was the same height or width or had any moldings or other embellishments. As a quick budget-minded fix, I hung drapery across the front of the open closet space and the same drapery, at the same height, across the opening to the kitchen. The actual kitchen opening was a good foot lower than the closet. By hanging curtains and a valance over the kitchen door to match the height of the closet, I created a more important opening into the kitchen and also balanced the two openings visually.

    Covered Cabinet Shelves: A great way to add color and interest to otherwise boring and cheap cabinet shelving is by covering the shelves with fabric. Simply cut the fabric to the correct width, fold the edges under (sew or glue if you feel it's necessary), wrap it around the front, and staple to the back of the shelf. Perfect for open storage of glassware or other kitchen collectibles, or in a linen closet.

    Painter’s Drop Cloth: Made of unbleached cotton, painter’s drop cloths are an inexpensive and easy source of fabric for many household projects. I’ve seen drapery, upholstery, pillows, and wall coverings made from this handy material. It can be painted or stenciled and washed (just use washable paints!). If you’re going for a more casual style, this is definitely a great choice of fabric. 

    Updated April 26, 2018.

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