Recently I caught up with a very local designer to me; Victoria Covell. Victoria set up Victoria Covell Interiors in 2018 and since then the design studio has worked globally for private and corporate clients alike. The stories and evocations Victoria and the team have created over the time breathe so much life and energy into the spaces they work in, each completely unique and utterly precious.  Victoria’s love of creativity is rooted in a childhood nourished by the arts and the Lincolnshire countryside, forever cementing her love of a beautiful palette.


How do you go about incorporating them into your work?

Vintage textiles are so versatile, they add a unique quality and depth to a space. I've used them for blinds, curtains, cushions, artwork, or as throws and blankets for styling, I also love adding vintage or antique rugs to a space. 

I recently found a wonderful Afghan Tekke from Robert Stephenson ( for a living room. They can be a great starting point for a colour scheme too, when you're looking for inspiration or a design direction.

How best to display them?

I love mounting textiles within an open faced tray frame, it really gives them space to breath and take centre stage in a room. I am yet to do it with vintage textiles, but it's on my hit list. 

Displaying fabrics on curtains, for example a whole kantha throw works well as a door curtain. I also love a quilt with tabs added across the top of the piece and mounted on a curtain pole, and hung on the wall. 

You can hang anything from a picture rail with brass chain and picture hooks, I have "upholstered" textiles to canvas and then hung them in this way, it works really well. 

Where to start when using vintage textiles? Can they inspire a whole scheme?

Absolutely. The best place to start is to find a piece that you absolutely love. It has to be something that draws you in, and gives you that feeling of pure joy, and that "must own". Then, you need to spend some time really looking at why you love it so much. What are the colour combinations within it? What are the textures and forms? Sometimes vintage textiles can inspire the most amazing colour combinations.  

I would also say, they sometimes work well as a point of difference in a really contemporary space, something a little unusual that you wouldn't expect, but that surprises in the best way. 

Unique creative ways of working with vintage textiles?

You can't always find 20meters of the same vintage fabric to make a large pair of curtains, so piecing together vintage fabrics, or using new fabric with vintage bottom section, or leading edge can work really well. Retrouvius does this very well. 

I also love Japanese Boro fabric, antique garments with layers and layers of old indigo fabric patchworked onto holes so as not to waste anything. I like this idea for upholstering furniture, or creating art in this way. Creating something new and completely unique from something unwanted or seemingly useless. 

Simply framing a tiny old piece of fabric you really love, mounted with colourful complimentary colours, and maybe a hand painted frame, creates the most unique (and affordable) piece of art. 

Why do you love working with vintage textiles?

My background is in the history of art, so I've always loved old things... Using vintage textiles feels like holding a little piece of history. Where have they been? Who made them? Have they come from far away, what was the name of the person who wove, or embroidered or printed this? Who commissioned it? Who loved it before me? A lot of those questions you'll never know the answer to, and I think that's part of the magic, vintage textiles carry around this secret history with them. 

Visually, they also carry the patina of life, that just adds that little something extra. 

Why would you recommend others to work with vintage textiles?

If you want to create a unique space, filled with personality, and in addition stop beautiful things ending up in landfill, use vintage textiles. 

What would your top 3 tips be for anyone looking to start using vintage textiles?

- Buy what you love

- Buy from amazing independent brands like Chloe Jonason who finds fantastic vintage textiles ready for you to take home. 

- Instagram is a great place to find dealers who buy the best bits from all the fairs 

How has the fabric and textile industry evolved since you became a part of it and what do you see and hope for the future of it?

I think people within the industry are so much more aware of the need to be sustainable, however there's still a long way to go. 

Some companies have become a lot more transparent, but not all. 

More often than not, buying more sustainably means paying a lot more, and it's not in everyone's budgets, so I really hope that with time that becomes something that can be addressed. 

In the meantime, I'll keep buying old things to try and address the balance.