Interior Designers: Must Blog Better – But How?

Content Mix: Content Marketing Institute
Content Mix: Content Marketing Institute

The content Marketing Institute created that nice little image up there that  shows what a content mix might be.

This image has been bandied about on various websites as THE correct mix. It isn’t THE correct mix but it’s a good starter to make you think. It might make you think you are entertaining your potential clients too much or it might make you think you are being a bit boring talking about kitchen worksurfaces a little too much.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

For a start it’s saying that you should blog 6 times a week or at least create content 6 times a week. For small businesses that just ain’t gonna happen in the real world.

However it certainly DOES give you ideas about what to write next.

Provide relevant information: Perhaps contribute to a thread somewhere telling people about some of the great things you learnt with a particular product on your last project.

Teach: Show you really know what you are talking about. Share some knowledge in an authoritative way on how you do your job.

Start a conversation: Perhaps on a LinkedIn group or your Facebook business page.

Inspire: others to do better. This could be on a forum or your could write something.

Entertain: Never hurts to make someone laugh.

More Black Faux Leather Upholstery

Faux Leather is great for upholstery. Here is a time lapse video of the full process if you want to know how it is done. We would be happy to point you to a local upholsterer but please remember that we only sell the faux leather upholstery fabric. If you would like samples please drop us an email request <here> (trade only). We have several collections of faux leather in most colourways including base colours (black, brown, green, blue, red, yellow, gold) muted neutrals and metallic finishes.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/E333E2nRke4]

A-Z Interior Fabric Qualities

2A-Z Glossary or Guide of fabric qualities

A

American Cotton
Cotton of medium fineness and medium staple length.

Alpaca Angora
Natural hair from the alpaca, or animal from which the fibre alpaca is obtained.
Angora
Hair fibre from the angora rabbit.

B
Batiste
Fine, soft,plain weave fabric. Originally linen, now other fibres, eg cotton.
Blend
Combination of two or more different fibres within the same yarn. This can be for cost, properties and/or appearance.
Birds-eye
Colour-and-weave effect where the pattern shows small, uniform spots. The reverse side of a flat jacquard weft knitted fabric where the yarns are arranged to show minimum amounts of each colour in an all-over pattern.
Bouclé yarn
Fancy yarn showing an irregular pattern of curls or loops.
Bourrelet
Non-jacquard double jersey weft knit structure made on an interlock basis showing horizontal ridges on the effect side.
Brocade
Figured woven jacquard fabric, usually multicoloured, much used for furnishings.
Buckram
Plain weave fabric, generally of linen or cotton, which is stiffened during finishing with fillers and starches. Uses include interlinings and bookbinding fabrics.

C
Calico

General term used for plain cotton fabrics heavier than muslin. These are usually left unbleached, area made in a variety of weights, and are often used for making toiles.
Cambric
Lightweight, closely woven, plain weave fabric, usually made from cotton or linen.
Canvas
Strong, firm, relatively heavy and rigid, generally plain woven cloth traditionally made from cotton, linen, hemp or jute.
Cavalry twill
Firm woven fabric with a steep twill showing double twill lines, traditionally used for riding breeches and jodphurs.
Chambray
Lightweight, plain weave cotton cloth with a dyed warp and a white weft.
Cheesecloth
Open, lightweight, plain weave fabric with a slightly crêpey appearance, usually made from carded cotton yarns with higher than average twist.
Chenille yarn
Fancy yarn produced by weaving a leno fabric and cutting into warp-way strips so that each strip forms the yarn, which has a velvety, caterpillar-like appearance.
Chiffon
Originally a very lightweight, sheer, plain weave fabric made from silk. Now can also be used to describe a similar fabric using other fibres.
Chiné yarn
Originally a 2-fold yarn, one black, one white, giving a regular two colour effect. Term now used to describe any 2-fold, two colour yarn.
Chintz
Closely woven, lustrous, plain weave cotton fabric, printed or plain, that has been friction calendered or glazed. Much used for curtainings and upholstery.
Coir
Natural vegetable fruit fibre from the coconut.
Colourway
One of several combinations of colours used for a particular fabric.
Corduroy
Wove, cut weft-pile fabric where the cut pile runs in vertical cords along the length of the fabric. A number of different types are found, ranging from pincord (very fine cords) to elephant cord (very broad cords).
Crepe
Fabric characterised by a crinkled or puckered surface, which can be produced by a number of methods. 1. woven fabric where short, irregular floats in warp and weft are arranged to give an all-over, random pattern within the weave repeat. 2. woven or knitted fabric where the crêpe characteristics are achieved mainly by the use of highly twisted yarns, which in finishing develop the crinkled, puckered appearance of a crêpe. 3. fabric where the crêpe effect is produced in finishing by treatment with embossing rollers, engraved with a crêpe pattern, which impart a crêpe effect onto the fabric through heat and pressure.
Crêpe de chine
Lightweight, plain weave crêpe fabric, made with highly twisted continuous filament yarns in the weft, alternating one S and one Z twist, and with normally twisted filament yarns in the warp. The crêpe effect is relatively unpronounced.
Crepe yarn
Spun or filament yarns that are very highly S or Z twisted used for the production of crepe fabrics.

D
Delaine

Lightweight, printed, all wool plain weave fabric.
Doupion (or Dupion)
Silk-breeding term meaning double cocoon, used to describe the irregular, raw rough silk reeled from double cocoons.
Drill
Woven twill fabric with a similar structure to denim, but usually piece-dyed.

E
Egyptian cotton
Type of cotton characterised by long, fine fibres.

G
Gauze
Lightweight, open-textured fabric made in plain weave a simple leno weave.
Georgette
Fine, lightweight, plain weave, crêpe fabric, usually having two highly twisted S and two highly twisted Z yarns alternately in both warp and weft.

H
Hopsack
Variation on plain weave, where two or more ends and picks weave as one. Sometimes called basket weave.

I
Indian cotton
Type of cotton characterised by relatively short, coarse fibres.
Interlining
Fabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to improve shape retention, strength, warmth or bulk. Interlinings may be woven, knitted or nonwoven, and can be produced with fusible adhesive on one surface.

J
Jacquard fabric
A fabric woven on a jacquard loom, where the patterning mechanism allows individual control on any interlacing of up to several hundred warp threads or a rib-based, double jersey weft-knit structure which shows a figure or design in a different colour or texture. Jacquard fabrics are sub-divided into flat-jacquard and blister fabrics.
Jersey
General term used for any knitted fabric.
Jute
Natural vegetable bast fibre, the plant from which the bast jute fibre is obtained.

K
Kemp
Coarse fibres present in varying amounts in wool fleece. Usually white, black or brown and can be used to give decorative effects in some wool fabrics.
Knickerbocker yarn
Fancy yarn characterised by random flecks or spots of differently coloured fibres.

L
Lawn
Fine, plain weave fabric, traditionally of cotton on linen.
Linen
Natural vegetable bast fibre obtained from the flax plant.
Lambswool
Wool from the fleeces of lambs (young sheep up to the age of weaning).
Lamé
A general name for fabrics where metallic threads are a conspicuous feature.

M
Maquisette
Square-hole, warp knitted net.
Merino Wool
Wool from the merino sheep, which produces the shortest and finest wool fibres.
Mohair
Natural animal hair fibre from the angora or mohair goat.
Moiré
Fabric which shows a moiré or wavy watermark pattern. This is produced by calendaring, usually on a fabric showing a rib or cord effect in the weft direction. The moiré effect can be achieved by embossing with a roller engraved with a moiré pattern, or by feeding two layers of fabric face to face through the calendar. the effect may be permanent or temporary depending on the fibres and the chemicals used.
Moquette
Firm, woven warp-pile fabric where the pile yarns are lifted over wires, which may or may not have knives. Withdrawal of the wires will give a cut or an uncut pile. Used for upholstery, particularly on public transport vehicles.
Mousseline
General term for very fine, semi-opaque fabrics, finer than muslins, made of silk, wool or cotton.
Muslin
Lightweight, open, plain or simple leno weave fabric, usually made of cotton.

N
Narrow Fabric
Any fabric that does not exceed 45 cms in width (in the UK). In the USA and Europe, the accepted upper width is 30 cms. Ribbons, tapes, braids and narrow laces are included in this category.
Natural Fibre
A textile fibre occuring in nature, which is animal, vegetable or mineral in origin.
New wool
Fibre from a sheep or lamb that has not previously been used. Alternative name for virgin wool.
Nylon
Man made synthetic polymer fibre. Alternative name for polyamide.

O
Organdie
Lightweight, plain weave transparent fabric, with a permanently stiff finish.
Organza
A sheer, lighweight, plain weave fabric, with a relatively firm drape and handle, traditionally made from the continuous filament of silk yarns. Now often made using other fibres.

P
Polyester
Man made synthetic polymer fibre.
Pure Silk
Silk in which there is no metallic or other weighting of any kind, except that which is an essential part of dyeing.

R
Raw Silk
Continuous filaments containing no twist, drawn off or reeled from cocoons. The filaments are unbleached, undyed and not degummed.

S
Sateen
Woven structure where the maximum amount of weft shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
Satin
Woven structure where the maximum amount of warp shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
Silk
Natural animal protein fibre obtained from the cocoons produced by silkworms.
Silk Noil
Very short silk fibres extracted during silk combing that are too short for producing spun silk. These fibres are usually spun into silk-noil yarns.
Slub yarn
Fancy yarn characterised by areas of thicker, loosely twisted yarn alternating with thinner, harder twisted areas.
Spun silk
Staple fibre silk yarn produced from silk waster which has been largely degummed.
Synthetic
Describes a substance which has been manufactured by building up a complex structure from simpler chemical substances.

T
Taffeta
Plain weave, closely woven, smooth, crisp fabric with a slight weftways rib, originally made from continuous filament silk yarns. Now often made using other fibres.
Terry-Towelling
A woven warp-pile fabric where the loops are formed by applying a high tension to the ground warp and a very low tension to the pile warp. Beating-up does not occur on every pick, so that when a pick is beaten-up it causes the other picks to be moved into the main body of the cloth, at the same time forming the pile loops on the face and back of the cloth.
Thrown Silk
Yarn twisted from continuous filament silk.

V
Velour
Cut pile weft or warp knitted fabric.
Velvet
Cut warp-pile fabric, in which the cut fibrous ends of the yarns from the surface of the fabric. Many effects are possible, e.g. the pile may be left erect, or it may be laid in one direction during finishing to give a very high lustre.
Viscose
Man made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre.
Voile
Plain weave, semi-sheer, lightweight fabric made with fine, fairly highly twisted yarns. Originally made from cotton, now other fibres are sometimes used.

W
Wadding
Lofty sheet of fibres used for padding, stuffing or packing.
Wet spun
Describes man made filaments produced by wet spinning, where the dissolved polymer is converted into filaments by extrusion through the spinneret into a coagulating bath of chemicals, causing the filaments to solidify.

Source Credit: R Haworth

Tatami and Raffia Wallcoverings and Fabrics For Interior Designers

Tatami Wallcovering And Upholstery Fabric TextileRaffia and Tatami are often terms that are used synonymously these days by some interior designers.

Tatami are woven Japanese floor mats. Originally they were made from (rice-) straw but now they are made from a variety of materials with better properties for fire resistance, warmth and general comfort. Typically Tatami mats are made to be twice as long as they are wide and they are usually about 2m long.

Raffia (often Raphia in the USA) refers to fibres made from a tropical tree. Specifically raffia is made from the leaves of a specific palm tree called “Raphia ruffia”, which is usually found in Madagascar and more generally in Africa. A different variety in South America is “Raffia taedigera”.

Raffia that is more suited to top market interior design projects will probably often be made from other materials – one of the particular note would be made from high quality cellulose pulp.

So, often when clients ask for Tatami or Raffia they are really often asking for a straightforward, grass-like, woven fabric similar to that shown in the main image accompanying this article.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Such raffia and tatami fabrics are usually available by the meter and have additional properties making them more superior to traditional variants. For example having high martindale test scores making them suitable for upholstery and coming pre-treated for fire retardancy.

Click <here> to request samples.

Tatami and Raffia by the meter may also be quite flexible allowing it to be fastened around wooden frames and then used as a textured finish for walls and ceiling.

With Wyzenbeek rubs of 40,000 KOTHEA’s 2011 Raffia (Raphia) are also eminently suitable for a wide range of upholstery uses.

Raffias can usually be fire treated to meet a wide range of contract requirements including hotels and marine installations.

This type of raffia weave has been used for thousands of years perhaps most famously as Japanese Tatami mats. They are of course one of today’s modern day design staples for a clean, modern look.

Links:

Interior Designers in 2012 – How Do People Find You On The Web?

English: Chester Square, Belgravia.
Image via Wikipedia

The interior design world moves on and so does the way your clients use the internet to find you. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

Just after we have spent ages (days! weeks! months!…years?!) trying to figure out what search terms our clients might type into Mr Google, and then incorporate that into our online presences(s), we find they are morphing how they search into something new and far more sinister.

Would you believe it? In the design world, a place based on aesthetics, those darned potential customers are using images to find us. How annoying is that? It seems like only yesterday when we ignored images because we knew that google can’t really ‘see’ them and we balanced that by putting all the right words everywhere. We even got the odd first page google listing for some odd convoluted phrase that one client a year might potentially type!!

So now it seems that we have to go back to what we naively thought was right all along. All we have to do is just put lots of pretty pictures onto our site and the whole world will come flocking to our door.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Well, maybe! I’ll backtrack a little and explain where I’m coming from before everyone gets a little too excited!

I’ll come from one simple factoid. One of my interior design industry based web sites has about 500 hits a day. Not bad, I suppose. I looked into some of the stats a bit more last week and found that by far the most number of hits came from google. Fine. About 85% of the hits in fact. Nothing new there then? No.

But; there’s always a “but”.

When I delved deeper I found that 19% of the google hits were coming from the GOOGLE IMAGES part of the google search site. IE the bit where you type in ‘mohair velvet fabric’ (or whatever) and then find you have loads of pages returned to you, so you click on the images bit on the left hand side and it only shows you (in theory) lots of pretty pictures of mohair velvet fabrics. (As well as lots of other junk of course, but on the whole it’s not too bad).

19%. that’s quite a lot.

So I looked at different time frames and, yes, that 19% was pretty consistent over at least the last 6 months. Maybe 17%, maybe 23%, it varied. That’s still enough of a trend for me to believe it and I’m sure it would hold true if I  had bothered to look further back in time.

So what’s going on here then?

Well firstly it showed that I am doing some things right. I am putting images alongside my musings. It makes it easier to read, pretty pictures – some perhaps even relevant – just like a magazine. Also for the images to have been recognised by google then I must also have tagged them (the ALT tag if you want to be more precise in HTML terms). So yes I had images in my musing and they were correctly tagged images. That is, the images had a bit of text manually put on them by me. To make matters better I had also called the images the same thing (broadly) as the tags I intended to use.

Google looks at:

1. The name of your JPEG;

2. The image size;

3. The alt tags you give to the image; and peripherally at

4. The physical colour scale of the image (it can recognise it is mostly green, for example).

The first three of these are very important the 3rd much less so.

So you’ve just done a great design job for one of your better clients. You upload some pics of the rooms to your online portfolio and voila! 100s of people will beat their way to your internet door!…er no.

Let’s say you had this great picture of the main room. So you upload img_1325.jpg to your site and you cleverly ALT-TAG it as “main-room-31-randomstreet-localtown”.

Not good. Assuming it was not a tiny thumbnail image here is something along the lines of what you should have done:

1. Called it “contemporary-modern-home-belgravia.jpg” – or something similarly appropriate; and

2. Tagged it as “contemporary, modern, home, Belgravia” – or something similarly appropriate.

You get the idea? The keywords you have already discovered that work in the text of your writings now also need to be judiciously applied to your images. Get cracking!

1. How to get links to your web site 

2. Interior Designers: Why does no-one visit your web site 

3. Interior Design Marketing Strategies 

4. Effective Ad Writing For Interior Designers on Facebook

5. Five Crucial Bits For Your Facebook Business Page

6. Seven Facebook Mistakes Interior Designers Make

Designer Fabrics & Luxury Wallcoverings 2012 – Latest Collections of Faux Leather & Raffia

British Institute of Interior Design

Interior Design 101. Back to basics.

Minimally patterned, plain and simple patterns matter when you choose designer fabrics for your interior design scheme. It’s not just the ‘important’ stuff you have to worry about; it’s all the stuff.

Design after design. Pattern after pattern. Squashed into corners. Covered ceilings. Hung on walls. Something here, something there… OK you might have certain pieces that take centre stage in your grand design but you also have to set the stage with the backdrops, the reflected light, the subtle blend of auxiliary textures.

To a certain degree, if you must, you can compromise on the backdrops. It’s great having a silk panelled wall, relatively inexpensive and good to the touch. Not so good when it fades at differing rates in the exposed sun-lit areas of the room.

So when you choose designer fabrics yes you should be wowed by the colours, designs and textures BUT you should also be wowed and interested in the technical properties. Your clients might initially thank you for a great looking job. They won’t thank you if it starts to fall apart. they may well have already paid you at that point (so you’re OK right?) but will you then get recommended to their friends…probably not. It is so, so easy to make this kind of mistake.

So try faux silk rather than silk. It looks and feels pretty much the same but can be excellent in terms of non-fading.

So try faux leather. A wide variety of finishes and qualities are available and many are great for wall covering (!) as well as upholstery. Great to cover chairs or a bar in a restaurant but also in your kitchen as they can relatively easily be cared for and cleaned. If you love leather you might find that your upholsterer might not love that choice as you are working with hides of varying sizes, whereas with faux leather you are working with a fabric available by the metre.

Click for faux leather or faux silk designer fabric samples.

A Chat With Verity du Sautoy – Her Thoughts On Winter Fabrics

Luxury Silk velvet From KOTHEA
Truly beautiful Cashmere Silk Velvet by KOTHEA

KOTHEA Fabric Picks For A Chilly Winter’s Day
With Verity du Sautoy of KOTHEA.

We love the seasons. All have their beauties and all have touched our senses in memorable ways over the years. Winter is no exception: lower, more balanced light; quietness and chaos with both the shopping and the weather; festive celebrations; the cuddle of a loved one; the hope and expectation of early spring flowers grasping for rare and tiny glimmers of light; and, perhaps, the welcomed warmth of a beautiful fabric.

Some of my best memories are centred on family: a warm fire; a little baby; or a bouncing toddler. Then an old children’s classic on the iPlayer watched on my Mac as it balances precariously on an elegant coffee table. I stroke my children’s hair with one hand and rest my other hand on my sofa. A generous cushion is warm, encapsulating and a bit of fun for the little ones to hide under. The curtains are not yet fully drawn but they smooth the boundary to the cold outside and give us tantalising glimpses of the world beyond – should we venture too close to the sheers that offer the final, soft protection from the elements.

Dominika B Tana Lawn

I work for a fabric company. I love fabric. I can’t pretend that it (fabric) is a be-all and end-all to life and that somehow it will make your life complete. It can’t. But what it clearly can do is complete the sensory experiences in the parts of life that, if you choose, you have control over…the parts of your home. Memories are not just photo-like snapshots in your brain; they are stored, multi-sensory splashes of emotion.

Here are my Winter picks. They are actual ‘picks’ that I’ve recently purchased or are about to purchase.

Take my sofa as an example. My sofa isn’t Continue reading “A Chat With Verity du Sautoy – Her Thoughts On Winter Fabrics”

Luxury Cashmere Throws & Blankets: Why is cashmere the best wool?

Luxury Cashmere Throw
Luxury Cashmere Throws

We would always recommend 100% Cashmere Wool for luxury throws.
Cashmere wool is made from the fibres of the undercoat of the cashmere goal (capra hircus laniger). The fibres are extremely fine, not exceeding 19 microns. To ensure that the high quality undercoat fibres are used a criterion exists to ensure that 97% of the fibres are below 30 microns.
Cashmere wool thus feels ‘fine’, is lightweight and provides good insulating properties without the weight typified by other wools for the same degree of warmth.

No other commercially available wool offers as high a level of quality as cashmere.

So to ensure the best quality Cashmere Throw it is important to specify 100% Cashmere Wool – neither a blend nor any other wool is as good.

Click <here> for further information on Luxury Cashmere throws.

Fabric Awards 2011 – Homes & Gardens

Alpaca-wool.
Image via Wikipedia

23 September 2011, Decorex and Homes & Garden Magazine will be looking for the most inspirational fabrics and wallpapers that are launched in Spring or Autumn 2011.

There are several awards that may interest readers including

Here is a link to the 2010 winners. See if  you are inspired. On the whole we weren’t.

Wyzenbeek – Martindale – Abrasion Testing

Nähzwirn 3-fach
Image via Wikipedia

I would be rich if I were to be given one pound for every time we are asked, “What is the best upholstery fabric to use on my sofa?” Typically the questioner means ‘most durable’ rather than ‘best’.  You could buy a near bullet-proof fabric with a Martindale score of several hundred thousand but could you live with it!

‘Simple’ measures of durability such as Martindale and Wyzenbeek overlay complex structures of the fabric. This covers the construction of the yarns and design of the weave weave as well as the fibre chosen. Furthermore, finishes, sofa/furniture design, maintenance regimes and usage are variables that very significantly affect the life of your fabric.

More Martindale links here and here and here

There is a close link between fiber strength and yarn strength. Yarns are twisted to add strength – generally a tighter twist gives a stronger yarn. This is measured in Twists Per Inch or Meter (TPI or TPM). Tightly twisted yarns are generally smooth and dense. This brings us to weave design. Weaves can be extremely complicated and difficult to structurally model and understand. Just knowing the fibers, yarn and weave construction still doesn’t answer the basic question – an objective measurement is needed. Test were developed to determine wear. They are better known as abrasion tests and many Interior Designers today refer to these test results as THE way to measure fabric durability. Abrasion test are supposed to forecast how well a fabric will wear in upholstery applications.

There are two tests: Martindale in Europe and Wyzenbeek in the USA. The tests are different and there is no correlation between the two. With Wyzenbeek (ASTM D4157-02): a piece of cotton duck fabric or wire mesh is rubbed in a straight back and forth motion on a piece of fabric until “noticeable wear” or thread break is evident. One back and forth motion is called a “double rub” (dbl rub). Whereas with Martindale (ASTM D4966-98): the abradant in this test is worsted wool or wire screen, the fabric specimen is a circle or round shape and the rubbing is undertaken in a figure 8, unlike the straight line of the Wyzenbeek. One figure 8 is a cycle – hence the terms Martindale cycles.

Contract fabrics would normally meet these criteria:

General contract: Wyzenbeek 15,000 Martindale 20,000

Heavy duty contract Wyzenbeek 30,000 Martindale 40,000

Whereas for domestic applications:

Light residential Wyzenbeek 6,000, Martindale 9,000

Medium use residential Wyzenbeek 9,000 Martindale 15,000

Heavy use residential 15,000 Martindale 30,000 or higher

The higher the result the more likely the fabric is to be more durable. (Source of the above figures can be provided on request to the author)

With figures over 100,000 then there may be an issue with the applicability of the results and certainly how the fabrics’ care regime is implemented will have more of an influence on its longevity.

Some commentators question the validity of test results. In my experience in the UK, test houses are independent and are strictly monitored by British Standards and no one fabric company is big enough to be able to ‘ask for’ results to be skewed. Nor, I’m sure, would any fabric company want to put a supplier in that position if only for the reason that it is in no-one’s interests to undermine the authority of independent industry bodies that, in general, regulate for the greater good of all.