The History Of Four Popular Textile Trends

24th May 2022
The History Of Four Popular Textile Trends

When it comes to choosing textiles, there is an ever-increasing range of fabrics, colours, textures, and patterns to choose from. From simple block colours to bold florals or abstract geometric shapes, textile fashions are particularly diverse and interesting at the moment. Here’s a look at how some of the current trends evolved over the years.

Marbled fabrics

Some of the chicest French and British designers have produced rich marble pattern textiles this year, according to Elle Décor. This is a design which lends itself especially well to upholstery and curtains in fabrics such as velvet. The pattern captures the fluidity of sunlight on water, which chimes with our ongoing love of calming, nature-inspired interior décor.

The art of marbling to create surface designs can be traced all the way back to the 12th century. It is thought to have originated in China, although the Japanese practiced the technique, which they still refer to today as ‘suminagashi.’

This literally translates as ‘floating ink’, which describes how the effect is created: paints are floated on a surface that has been coated in a semi-liquid substance. The paint is either then guided around the surface with a tool, or the surface is tilted to allow the paints to move more freely. A cloth is then placed over the surface to allow the substance to set.

The beautiful effects created by marbling were first thought to be an early form of watermarking, as no two designs can ever be the same. It is still common to see marbling as a form of book cover decoration today. The unique flowing patterns still appeal to textile artists worldwide, and marbling is now considered to be a timeless design classic.


When related to textiles, the French word ombré means tones of colour which graduate from from light to dark.  This can simply be, for example, an indigo or navy fading to mid and pale blue, all the way to white across a length of fabric. It can also be used in a repeating design, to create a less uniform striped effect. Think tabby cat rather than pelican crossing!

In textile design, ombré techniques can give a pleasing watercolour effect to soften linear designs, and to add some depth and contrast to more vibrant colours. Ombrè is a good choice when you already have a focal point or other bold patterns going on in a room, but you don’t want to opt for a plain block colour for the background.

Egyptian graphics

Decorative Egyptian inspired artwork is having a moment for interior design, Elle Décor informs us. Ancient Egypt continues to be a rich source of creative inspiration to this day. For example, the geometric motifs, natural themes, and vibrant colour palettes are very much in vogue in 2022.

A typical Egyptian style interior features warm neutrals, such as sand, beige, and light yellows. This is complemented by design flourishes inspired by the nature of the country—lotus leaves, papyrus, fruit branches, palm trees, vines, and so on. Motifs of exotic birds, fish, and animals are also popular.

The neutral colours are offset with vivid blues, greens, reds, and golds. Geometric patterns, which are a cornerstone of interior design today, originated from the Ancient Egyptians. From clothing to architecture, rugs, ceramics, and wallpaper, the pleasing symmetry of a geometric pattern can be found almost anywhere.

For a contemporary take on the geometric trend, opt for bold repeating patterns which are softened by a monochrome palette in neutral golds or greys. Alternatively, if you have a room which lacks a focal point, two or more strong colours can work really well.

Mural designs

For larger spaces, large-scale designs are becoming popular, Elle Décor explains. This may be for a feature wall, or a way to add interest to high-ceilinged areas, such as entrance halls, where a geometric pattern might become too overwhelming. It’s certainly a way to make a big statement!

Modern printing techniques mean that there is almost no limit on the designs now available for textiles and wallcoverings. Whimsical dreamscapes and large-scale animal prints are especially popular at the moment. It seems that nothing is considered too OTT right now!

Of course, there is nothing new about the art of the mural. In fact, it is one of the earliest recorded forms of art, with cave paintings dating back to 30,000 BC discovered in the South of France. Egyptian and Roman tombs were often found to be covered in large paintings. From the religious to the frivolous, the mural is an artform that has endured for eons.

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