Design Challenge : Anna’s French Antique Sofa


This is a daunting one for me, because I know Anna, and she has the most exquisite taste. 

She is the founder of @thegarnered – an online emporium, personally curated by Anna, showcasing and selling the very finest products. She has contacted me to ask for suggestions on fabric choices for her French antique sofa:

Anna found this pretty French sofa in an antiques shop and tells me that she intends to use it for dining room seating alongside an old French pine table. I know that the room is west-facing and Anna tells me that she likes the idea of warm pink and terracotta hues to compliment the colours in the vintage rug, seen in the photo below:

Antique Sofa


  • Anna says that she needs a more practical colour fabric for this beautiful sofa, and given that she also tells me that it will work as dining table seating, the fabric needs to be resilient to cope with any possible food/drink spillages.
  • West-facing rooms benefit from natural light in the early evening, bringing gold-orange tones that will instantly warm the room, so Anna’s choice to consider earthy pinks and terracottas will work well in this environment.
  • In bijou spaces, patterned fabrics  generally work better, as plain fabrics can sometimes be too bulky and cumbersome. Plain fabrics lack the visual interest and can struggle to blend into the room scheme, instead standing out as the key feature which can be ungainly in a small space.
  • The pattern and colours of the rug need to complement each other without “copying” each other. The fabric choice needs to be calmer than the rug in both design and colour range for the 2 items to work harmoniously together. 
  • The gentle pleats in the curved arms of the sofa will be forgiving with most patterns but this detail needs to be a consideration when making suggestions.

My ideas 

I would like to suggest 3 fabric choices and I will share with you why I believe each option may be a contender:

1. Dusky pink “Maple leaf” design

This fabric appeals because the simple repeat of the pattern won’t compete with the rug design. Cushions can be added to bring in more colour as required. 

The dusky pink is delicate but versatile and will easily take a bright accessory if you move this sofa to a new setting. Most colours (muted, bright, pale or shocking) would partner beautifully with this fabric. A terracotta cushion and a cream/taupe mohair throw draped over an arm would complete the look.

This fabric has a rub count of 29,000 which means it is just shy of commercial grade (30,000) and will therefore be hard wearing and suit its new role as dining table furniture.

The design – although not described as such – brings to my mind a maple leaf, which is a little nod to your beautiful Labradoodle, Maple, who will undoubtedly enjoy the benefits of this sofa snuggled up with you!

The pattern is actually described as “drawn with a light touch and a free spirit.”  It is 100% cotton and is woven exclusively for Fermoie by the first UK cotton mill to be awarded Soil Association and Global Organic Textile Standard accreditation – a sustainability practice which I know will appeal to you, Anna.

Please do check out their other fabrics and designs as I am sure there are several which will be of interest to you as a sofa option or cushion covers.

2. Organic mustard 

The ochre yellow of the rug is picked up in this fabric choice – bringing in some sophisticated cheerfulness to the scheme, which may be a welcome addition in the mornings when less natural light reaches this west-facing room.

The design has a looseness to it, which gives it a relaxed, natural vibe. The fabric is 100% linen and has a homely, comfortable feel to it, but is slightly less robust at 20,000 rub count.

There is an option to change the colour of the print (bespoke to your choice) and the composition of the fabric, but this moves the price to a new bracket.

The fabric is ‘Tea Trail’ by Kit Kemp

3. Outdoor – geometric and Ikat stripes

These are bolder choices but the colour palettes work with the rug. Some of the elements of the rug design are echoed in the fabrics which helps tie the scheme together.

Both of these fabrics are incredibly hard wearing as they are designed for outdoor use and therefore will be highly stain resistant making it a great choice for a dining table seating. Outdoor fabrics are suitable for upholstering indoor pieces and bring with them the other  benefits of being  waterproof/resistant , fade resistant and generally very hard-wearing. Read this interesting article discussing the advantages of choosing a high performance fabric.

The Kazulu Outdoor has a rub count of 25,000 and is made of 78% Solution Dyed Polypropylene 22% Solution Dyed Polyester.

The Lapiz Perrenial Perfomance Weave has a rub count of 35,000 and is cleaned with soapy water.

The Kazulu is possibly my favourite of the two for your needs. I’ll leave you with a photo of how nicely it looks as an upholstered chair:

Anna, I hope this may be of some help in solving your interior design dilemma to find a new and practical covering for your beautiful sofa. Please share any photos of your finished project when you can to #suziesuggests

With love



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I'm Suzie

We laugh that I have a disease called “furnituritis” – which is a self-diagnosed condition compelling a person to be forever moving furniture around to try out different looks.
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