Q We have just bought an antique mahogany dining table. The six dining chairs were acquired at different times, and they donít all match, but the wood in the chairs and table are close in color.

Would it look OK to have different fabrics on the chair seats? Iím afraid the dining room will look jumbled, but I like the look of mixed designs.

A: There are so many gorgeous fabrics out there; itís a real challenge to choose just one. The good news is that you donít have to.

Designers and manufacturers of fabrics, whether they are heading for the furniture or fashion market, have created color palettes that complement each other in marvelous ways.

The patterns and weave vary, the cloth may be silk, velvet, velour, fine cotton or faux leather, but their shades commingle to produce a fresh, new look.

Iíve just returned from a visit to the sorting room for an upcoming sale put on by the Textile Museum in Toronto.

For the Love of Cloth is a fundraising project made possible by the generous support of Primavera and other donors.

The sale features hundreds of sample panels from discontinued lines and end rolls of designer fabrics at seriously low prices.

Sales such as this also have a variety of beads, fine linens, embroidery and small rugs that have been donated.

The enthusiastic volunteers prepared a list of the myriad ways these panels can and have been repurposed.

Yes, you can recover your dining chairs in a rich selection of patterns and cloth types as you see in the vignette of sale items shown here.

Try polka dots or alternate stripes on one chair and floral on another. Just make sure that one color ties them together.

Throw in an exotic table runner and place mats. But donít stop there.

For the bedroom, think about backing a quilt or duvet cover, a folding door or privacy screen, drawer and basket linings for the closet.

In the living area, sample-size panels are perfect for small seats and backs, cushions, drapery trim and lap rugs.

Many of the exquisite motifs lend themselves to being captured in a frame or wrapped around a wooden frame for hanging.

You may find three samples of the same design in different colorways, perfect for a triptych.

If you have a loft with soaring wall space, make a focal wall with one of these panels.

You can be creative on the fashion front, too.

Sew up an eye-catching beanie hat or funky clutch purse, a beach bag from summer fabric ends or a cozy quilted vest with a patchwork of small sample panels.

Check out when the fall and spring sales appear in a location near you. Local art galleries, museums and designer outlets will be able to direct you.

Q: Iím painting my dining room midtone gray with an accent wall to be charcoal gray.

Iíd like a subtle hint of glitter on the accent wall to add drama.

Do you know of a product or a paint method that would achieve this effect? Thanks.

A: Rather than adding glitter to the paint, which is difficult to do and can look patchy, try a metallic paint or glaze.

This will add a beautiful warm sparkle to your walls. Or choose a different sheen for the dark wall.

A high-gloss wall would look modern and dramatic.

Debbie Travisí House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to You can follow Travis on Twitter at, and visit her website,