Left photo © Jean Randazzo; right photo courtesy of Schumacher


Q. Fabrics and patterns really intimidate people. There are so many choices and they can really make or break a room.
A. That's true. With pattern, I find that people get scared because they cannot commit to one and aren't sure how to mix multiples. It really depends on your love of pattern – if you want just one, repeat it in several spaces. That's not very difficult. But if you want to use several patterns in one room, make sure they are of different scales and complimentary hues.

Q. How many patterns can you use in one room without it looking too busy?
A. I have been known to use as many as five patterns in one room, but they should be of different scales and of those, only one big, bold option. And I'd definitely involve a solid – choose one solid color from one of the patterns to use as a complementary piece. I have also done an entire room in one fabric with just one or two accents – but I varied the scale from small to medium to large, and then pulled out a couple solids from those patterns to use as accents.

Q. How do you create the designs for your own fabric line?
A. When designing my Schumacher fabric line I focused on creating a cohesive collection that shared a dialogue between each piece. I wanted it to take out the guesswork when scheming the many layers of patterns and tonalities in a room while still looking completely custom. I made sure at least three of the fabrics and two of the trims could be interchangeable yet entirely different looking depending on the amounts of each. I could honestly do about 50 different rooms with the collection all looking entirely different while only using my fabrics and trims.

Q. You've used textiles in some not traditional ways.
A. Textiles are for much more than just upholstery or pillows. You can use fabric as you would wallpaper on any wall, or on a floor if you use a hard coat finish. You can also cover hard goods – like a Parsons table – with a fabric, then finish it with polyurethane. Lamps shades are another item people often cover in fabric, as are plates. Get a clear plate and decoupage it with any fabric you want – it will look like a piece of fabric. Just don't do all of these at once!


  Mary McDonald is one of today's most sought after and celebrated designers. Her personal style is eclectic, classic and clean while maintaining a strong sense of glamour and sophistication.
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