The Affordable Fabrics Interior Designers Swear By

The cleverest interior designers know where to spend and where to save. And when it comes to fabric, most people have to be smart – especially if they plan to stick to a budget. Here, some of our favourite designers share their top picks under £35 per metre for curtains, upholstery and more.

Alice Leigh Designs

185 Linen from Merchant and Mills is a lovely lightweight, tumbled linen, with great colours and a lovely, soft feel. If you want to use it as curtains, a lining will help it hang better and prevent fading. Little Compliments from Ian Sanderson is such a versatile, affordable collection, too, with some classic patterns and useful colours. Not only are they good for lampshades, curtains and cushions, they can also be used for curtain linings – especially if you're using a plain fabric on the face. Seen from the exterior, it can add another level of interest and detail.”


Anna Haines

“This pretty small print from Tinsmiths would work well upholstered on a sofa with a contrast piping. This gingham coral would also be beautiful on a single headboard with some cream piping.”


Rosanna Bossom

“This Ian Sanderson print would make the perfect lining for curtains. In fact, we just had it paper-backed and used as wallpaper in a girl’s bedroom. The Tinsmiths ticking fabric would also look amazing on a giant sofa in a playroom. Striped sofas are one of my favourite things to do.”


Jessica Buckley

Ian Mankin’s Ticking 01 is endlessly versatile: we’ve used it for curtains, upholstery, cushions, linings – you name it, we’ve done it. Meanwhile, Tivoli is a bold, high-impact stripe from The Cloth Shop: use it for a simple lumbar cushion or a Roman blind. If you want to go all-out, then it would be perfect for a tented room – so fun.”


Laura Marino

Tinsmith’s Large Check in Black is timeless; we love large checks (especially in black and white) for upholstery, curtains or batten walls as an alternative to a stripe. As for this Palm Tree block print by Camilla Costello, it’s lovely as a full-length table skirt over a console, or bedside tables, or even made up into a table cloth with matching napkins.”


Rosanna Bossom
Cloth Shop

Bee Osborn

“This super chunky cord from Yorkshire Fabric Shop is good quality and great value – we’re covering a sofa in it, currently. Although Zoe Glencross’s prices are sometimes higher, you can often get off-cuts from her beautiful range at a discounted rate. She also uses old samples and remnants to make lovely bags, to ensure nothing goes to waste. It’s always worth checking out online.”


Anna Hewitson

“This Tinsmith’s pretty scallop design is perfect for scatter cushions or a blind for a small window. I also love this Nile & York Raffles design and their Macita print. I've used the stripe for curtains and Macita for cushions and blinds.”


Harriet Ashton

Gingham is a staple of any country interior. Contrast it with more modern fabrics to stop it feeling dated. This would look great in a young boy’s bedroom made up as a bedspread. The scale of this Tinsmith’s Lantern motif also makes it the perfect fabric for roman blinds.”

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Laura Stephens

“I love Camilla Costello’s delicate pink and green flower print. Use it on a roman blind, possibly with a pink fan edge trim – but it would also look amazing as a pleated lampshade. This pink Ikat fabric would be lovely as curtains, but I can imagine it on scatter cushions, too, which could be done with red piping.”


Sarah Peake

Tinsmith Mansur is a great one for country house bedrooms. I love it on the inside of bed half testers or lining a bed nook. It’s a great starting point for a scheme as it has lots of colours. Equally, it can work well on gathered lampshades. I’m also planning to use Tinsmith Florentine for a pair of eiderdowns in another country house project. It’s a colourful and cosy fabric ­– traditional but not dreary. I love all of Nile & York fabrics, and they often find their way into my schemes. I use them for curtain linings. We are planning a wardrobe at the moment with gathered fabric panels in their Raffles design.”


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