Anthropologie Window Displays as Fabric Inspiration!

Choosing a fabric for your next home project?

Making a fabric choice can be a real challenge! “Where do I start? Will it go with my decor? What ‘feel’ am I looking for?” are some questions I’ve heard. Luckily there are some nifty tricks to get your brain to ‘see’ things from a new perspective.

Find out fun ways to make a fabulous fabric choice for your next home project

If you’re as much of a fabric lover as I am, maybe you’ve had this experience too: Whether shopping online or someplace like Mood Fabrics in NYC, you find yourself drooling over the delicious array of color, texture & pattern bombarding you from every direction. Pretty soon you’re in overload, and you find yourself wandering aimlessly through the choices, numbed to the point of “defaulting to beige” (No, please, not that!)

The day I made up my mind to ditch beige for good, I decided to make a game of seeking new ways to get inspired.

Here is one delightful design exercise I discovered along the way. Hint: it helps to write down the first thoughts that come into your head – quickly before your mind starts judging.

  1. Do a search to find images of Anthropologie window displays (I used Google image search).
  2. Choose one or two that inspire you and write down the first words that come to mind about each one.
  3. Search fabric images using those words, and see what comes up!

Today I used this game to find two nature-inspired fabrics. Here’s what I came up with:

A cork-themed window display made me think of organic, random dots, earth friendly. I searched Google images using different combinations of the words, including ‘earth friendly fabric’, ‘organic random dots fabric’ and found…

Find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. Earth Day window display inspires Victoria Larson's Stardust fabric

Anthropologie honors Earth Day each year by creating artful window displays made out of recycled materials – here recycled corks.

… this Victoria Larson Stardust fabric:

Find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. Earth Day window display inspires Victoria Larson's Stardust fabric

Victoria Larson’s Stardust fabric

This floral-themed window display brought mums to mind, and my search turned up…

Fun design exercise: How to find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. Example: Earth Day paper display inspires Nina Jizhar's Mum fabric

Anthropologie floral designed window display uses recycled paper.

… a golden mum fabric by Nina Jizhar:

Find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. Earth Day window display inspires Nina Jizhar's Swanky Swell Mum fabric

Nina Jizhar’s Mum fabric

This is a great practice to jump-start your brain in new directions.
Ready to try a few more design exercises? Check out this post for tips on choosing colors.

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Got a friend who needs a little inspiration? Here are a couple of infographics to share:
Here's a fun design exercise: Find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. In this example, Earth Day corks window display inspires Victoria Larson's Stardust fabricHere's a fun design exercise: Find fabric inspiration in Anthropologie window displays. In this example, Earth Day recycled paper window display inspires Nina Jizhar's Swanky Swell Mum fabric

By | 2017-06-03T13:31:47+00:00 January 6th, 2016|design & inspiration, diy upholstery|4 Comments

About the Author:

Making - Learning - Sharing. These are actions I find essential to a happy life! I'd love to hear from you - what are you creating in your life right now? How can I help?


  1. Ginny May January 6, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Oh dear! I just redecorated my bedroom from yellow wallpaper to shades of beige paint! But I love it! So restful. And the names of the Farrow & Ball paints are just lovely – Elephant’s Breath and Skimming Stone. Not that I don’t also love the two designs you show, and the windows are beautiful. But I’m not sure I could live with quite so much pattern without tiring of it quicker than I plan to redecorate again.

  2. Carla January 7, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I love your insight, Ginny. You have a good point: there are so many different shades of beige out there. I had to look up your colors – Elephant’s Breath (a soothing brown tone) and Skimming Stone (a warm yellow) – very tactile names! I can almost feel the rough texture of the elephant’s skin and the smooth cold flat rock. I’m afraid the beige I was imagining was a 1970’s era velour sofa fabric, somehow associated with a salt & pepper shag rug… You brought me back to present-day and the amazing choices we have in design today. A throw pillow or two in either of these fabrics might be a nice accent to a neutral-toned background. Thanks for adding your creative perspective to the mix!

  3. Paulina Lilja August 20, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Carla, I found your website and I hope you maybe could be of help. I’m going to apologize for my English, but I hope you will understand me anyway. Well, to make a long story short :)
    I have a massive couch, it’s 5 seperate pieces, so you can make it into both an “L-shap” or “U-shape”. I would like to change the fabric on it, and saw new covers for both the sitting cushions, and also the 9 “back-cushions” as well (+ 3 smaller ones) For you to get an idea, the sitting ones are about 1.10x.1.10 meters and the back ones about 90×70 cm. The ones I have now all have a zipper on the side so they can be taken off obviously. Now, what I would like to know is first of all – fabric. I would like to do them in velour, would you say that would/could be a good fabric to use? The sitting ones would all be the same colour, and then I’d like to use that same colour on 3 of the back ones. The remaining 6 I would like to have 2 other colours also in the same fabric.
    The 3 smaller ones I would like to use another fabric, and maybe with patterns (that maybe have some similar colour, or maybe totally different) I just don’t know..

    I was thinking to use either plum, dark grey, dark moss green, white (not on the base ones’ – even though it could be nice, I don’t think it’s practicable in a home with children), burgundy or a nice brown.(The leather is the material “around the couch and it’s a dark brown and that is not what I want nor could change)

    Could you maybe help me out, give your opinion and maybe some ideas? It would be much appreciated, and I hope you understood what I wrote, even I got a bit confused :)

    Kind regards,
    Paulina from Sweden

  4. Carla Pyle August 30, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Hi Paulina,

    I personally like velour it’s a nice fabric with a soft feel, and works well for upholstery as long as you get an upholstery-weight fabric (in other words, not a ‘slinky’ or stretchy garment-weight fabric). The only thing to remember is that velour has a nap, which means you’ll want to be sure the fabric is oriented in the same direction across all of your upholstery and cushions – usually from the top down on vertical surfaces, and from back to front on horizontal. If your nap is oriented in different directions, it will look like two completely different fabrics.

    Using contrasting or complimentary colors is a fun idea. I would suggest using a color wheel as a guide and choose no more than three colors – maybe two colors for surfaces, and an accent color for welt if you have it (also known as piping or cording). If you have to keep the leather, try to compliment it with the colors you choose. See this post for more info on color:

    Thanks for you question – I hope this helps!


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