Skip to main content

5 Ways to Use Antique Textiles

I have always had a great admiration for found fabrics and at our Design Studio we love to use them. They highlight my love for craftsmanship and the hand made and add an intriguing part to the story of every room.

People are often afraid to use these textiles due to their age and delicacy, however over the years I’ve found some great places to display them. Below are five ways that we love to use antique fabrics to show off their beauty…

1. Upholstery

People often shy away from using antique fabric on upholstery, but accent chairs can make for a wonderful canvas, particularly if they serve more of a decorative function. We covered this buttoned slipper chair in an antique Ikat fabric. Paired with a bold geometric print on either side, the fabric is brought to life in a way that feels unique and contemporary.

We’ve just had a fabulous fabric viewing with Susan Deliss who sourced the impressive embroidered fabric you can see below. We’re delighted with this newly found textile and are currently dreaming up ways to use it across upholstery in our new hotel in Warren Street, New York. We can’t wait to see how it turns out!

2. Framing

Sometimes textiles are so exquisite we frame them. By doing this we feel we’re paying homage to the artisans who made them, often centuries ago. Framing also allows one to get up close to the fabric. It’s here that you’ll see unique details and needlework, which might otherwise have been overlooked. When doing this it’s important to make sure the frame complements the fabric and doesn’t try to steal the show!

In the restaurant at the Ham Yard Hotel, we’ve framed hand embroidered fabrics in clear Perspex boxes and used them as room dividers. They can be viewed from both sides, adding some visual fun to the space as well as serving a practical function.

3. Wallpaper or Fabric Inspiration

The past is a treasure trove when it comes to design and I’ve often taken inspiration from antique textiles when developing my own patterns for wallpapers and fabrics. A favourite of mine is our Travelling Light fabric, which we designed for Christopher Farr Cloth. Whilst exploring Rajasthan I came across a beautiful woven rug that I instantly knew would make a wonderful fabric and wallpaper design. It is now one of our most popular designs! Always keep your eyes peeled for antique textiles as they’re often the start of something truly special.

4. Lampshades

Here in our Design Studio we love to use a statement lampshade and have often opted for a found Ikat fabric to add a pop of colour. The below Ikat was also discovered on my travels and it made the perfect pairing together with our ‘Mud Print’ wallpaper for Christopher Farr.

When designing this residential space, I used antique silk for the lampshades, which give off a soft glow that’s incredibly warming. Antique silk lampshades are also one of a kind and add a unique touch.

5. Bedspreads

Found fabrics can bring so much character to a bedroom scheme. Here in this cosy attic room, we’ve used an antique fabric as a bedspread to add texture and warmth. The delicate weave and lustrous threads add a touch of opulence without overdoing it.

Found fabrics really capture my love of craft and storytelling, as well as paying homage to the past in new and exciting ways. We hope this blog post inspires you to use found textiles. Tag us on @KitKempDesignThread to show us your finds.

This December, Christie’s Lates celebrates the art of craftsmanship. Join Kit here for a panel discussion ‘Why Making Matters’ on Friday December 2nd. Click here to find out more.

Back to top
Our website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse our site you are agreeing to our cookie policy.