I've been carrying around a crumpled magazine page featuring Fortuny Caravaggio fabric in avio & red for at least two years. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to have it. I have two framed drawings that I love, and they need an echo in my home space.
About a year ago I asked my friend Patricia, who owns a designer fabric shop, if she could order the fabric for me. "Sure," she replied "It's $496 a yard, with a minimum two yard order."
Y'all, I work in fabric. I was practically raised in a linen store. I had been considering curtains, and if not curtains, at least curtain trim. At that price, trimming out curtains would run me upwards of $4000.00. For just the trim. I was sad. Then I was determined to find something that would make me equally happy, but within my budget. So I've spent twelve months looking at trim, at ribbons, at fabric, at curtains, and oftentimes at my crumpled magazine page.
When you're choosing fabrics for your home, the most important factor is obviously going to be whether or not you like the look of the fabric. After that, there are still a lot of things that need to be considered. If it's fabric for seating or any area that will see a lot of wear and tear, you'll need a fabric that can withstand a lot of friction. If it's going to be exposed to sunlight, you need something colorfast. (Nowadays you can find beautiful outdoor fabric from Sunbrella, which is perfect for porch life or outdoor entertaining.) If you choose a light weight fabric for curtains, you'll need to line and interline them. If you want to pleat your fabric, you'll need to choose something that isn't too stiff. I could go on and on, but the easiest way to make sure you're buying something that will work for what you have in mind is to ask either an expert at a fabric store or an interior designer. They will have consulted on many projects and have a wealth of practical experience that can save you time and money, and are well worth the splurge.
My local favorites are Fairfax Fabric Company for interiors, and Promenade Fine Fabrics for clothing and accessories. If you don't have a design professional assisting you, Spruce is a great resource, as owner Nomita Joshi-Gupta is accredited in architecture and interior design. All three of these shops are a treasure trove of pattern, color and texture.
Of course, I also include our own Amanda Talley fabrics in my decor, and I'm always pushing to see what our fabric printer can come up with to help with creative interiors. Currently, the linen/cotton blend is the most popular fabric we sell, but our Eco canvas is starting to challenge, as it is a more weatherproof and colorfast fabric due to some polyester content. (Polyester is your friend. Not in your bedding and sleep wear, but on a hall bench or porch chair, a synthetic will last longer and stay brighter than a full cotton or linen.) I'm hopeful that soon we will be able to offer fully weatherproof fabric, too.
For the record, I haven't given up on my Fortuny fabric. I bought flax linen curtains and left them untrimmed for now. In the meantime I'm planning to have a bench cushion cover made in the Caravaggio, which suits my budget. For now...