Customer's Own Materials

Create custom décor with Ballard Designs' Customer's-Own-Material (COM) service. As the name suggests, this service lets you combine your choice of fabrics with the style of a Ballard design—giving you the ultimate in decorating versatility.

How it works:

Whenever you see the CUSTOM - OVER 200 FABRICS callout on a product, you have the opportunity to create a look all your own. Choose one of our quality Fabrics-by-the-Yard or send us one of your own. We can even help you decide how much you'll need and what will work best. Once your order is placed, we'll handle the rest, from production to delivery. Please remember that all COM furniture is made to order. Therefore, these items are non-returnable and non-cancellable.

How to Order:

To use our COM service, simply determine the amount of fabric you will need using our fabric charts, then complete an order form, print it out and mail it to us with your fabric. COM items cannot be purchased online. Please note that the price of a COM item does not include the price of fabric. Fabric purchases are in addition to furniture purchases. Please call 1-800-535-8776 or email com@ballarddesigns.net for order assistance or to request an information packet.

Please mail order form, swatch and fabric to:

Ballard Designs, Inc.
Attention: COM Department Gate 51
5568 West Chester Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069

We must have the order form before we can proceed with your order. Please cut a small swatch of your material (at least one square inch) and staple it right side up to your order form. In the unlikely event that your material and order form become separated, this will assist us in locating your fabric.

If your fabric and order form will be sent to us in separate packages, please indicate so on your order form. On the mailing label of the package in which you send your fabric, please write "Attention COM Department," and include your name and return address.

Available Products:

To see a list of products we offer for Customer's-Own-Material, please visit our Custom Shop. Each product will contain a link that will allow you to download the Customer's Own Material Order Form.

To order a fabric swatch, look for the “Order a Swatch” button on any of our fabric by the yard options. Click Here to find a fabric.

Selecting Your Fabric

To ensure the quality of the finished product, please follow the guidelines below for selecting fabric:

  • All fabric must be continuous yardage; we cannot accept multiple pieces of material.
  • Due to fabric thickness, we cannot use material such as leather, vinyl, quilted fabric or bed sheets for COM.
  • Any stripes will be arranged vertically, unless you request horizontal striping.
  • If your furniture is tufted, striped fabrics are not recommended.
  • Please do not send contrasting fabrics, welt or fringe.
  • If your fabric features a central design, we will make every effort to center it on your item, if you so specify on the COM order form.
  • Before sending your fabric to us, please inspect it for flaws.
  • If you are sending material for a slipcover that you intend to machine wash, then please pre-wash the material. (We recommend discussing this with the person from whom you buy your fabric, as the yardage you purchase should take into account any shrinkage from pre-washing.)
  • Because inadequate fabric will delay your order and excess fabric cannot be returned, please measure carefully.
  • All fabric must be sent on a roll, not folded.
  • Fabric must be at least 54" wide.
  • Please send continuous yardage only; multiple pieces of material cannot be used.
  • If you have any questions about the suitability of your fabric choice, please e-mail us or call (800) 536-7551 and ask one of our Product Specialists for guidance.

Determining Fabric Amount

How much material you send is determined by three primary fabric qualities: width, the presence and repeating frequency of a pattern, and whether or not the fabric is "railroaded."

  • Width – Fewer yards (in length) are required for wider fabric bolts (please refer to chart, below).
  • Pattern – More fabric is required for larger patterns, in order to ensure proper pattern placement on furniture. The size of the pattern is expressed in terms of how frequently the pattern repeats. For all plaid fabric, total yardage is generally increased by 30%.
  • "Railroading" – Generally, fabric patterns are printed or woven vertically along the bolt. Since most fabrics are 54" wide, a wider piece of furniture (such as a sofa) that is upholstered in a vertical print fabric will usually have two seams (as shown below).

When a pattern is printed or woven horizontally, however, the fabric is "railroaded." This means that the fabric runs across the furniture horizontally, eliminating vertical seams and creating a more professional look – and requiring a smaller amount of material (as shown below). For non-railroaded fabric, total yardage is generally increased by 30%.

Seam Requirements

Use our fabric charts to determine how much material you will need for your particular furniture body. Please note that "plain fabric" is "railroaded" material with no pattern or nap. If you are unsure about any of the terminology used here, please print out this information and take it along when buying your fabric.