Get to Know Our Essentials Program

Ballard Designs Essentials Program

Ballard Designs' Essentials Program

The hardest part of refreshing your decor is often picking just the right fabric for that new pair of drapes, set of throw pillows or slipcovers with complete confidence that it’s going to work with everything else in the room.

That’s where our Essentials come in. We’ve curated a core collection of our most popular go-to fabrics that work everywhere and really do work with anything. These are our tried-and-true favorites in the best colors and a variety of textures with style that doesn’t stop. We like to think of them as a favorite pair of jeans: timeless, comfortable and hard to live without.

Alas, you don’t have to wonder if your new fabric will mix in effortlessly, because we’ve already done it — and it does! We’ve taken the guesswork out of decorating for you.

Our Essentials are all sold as Fabric by the Yard, and most are available as fabric options when you order any of our cushions, pillows, drapery, tablecloths, slipcovers or upholstered furniture. And because we keep our Essentials in stock, you can avoid the longer ship times of our Special Order fabrics — as well as the higher price tag. But that’s not all our Essentials have in common. Here are a few more things you should know about our collection.

Ballard Designs' Essentials Program

Our Essentials are best-selling fabrics that have earned their collection name: from linen to velvet to basketweave to burlap, these are a unique mix of classic basics that defy trends — but, rest assured, are never boring. These are the kind of fabrics you’ll still love in 10 years as much as you do today.

Not only are our Essentials extremely versatile, they’re long-wearing fabrics with a high level of durability, making them perfect for upholstery. Just choose your favorite silhouette, then experiment online with any of our fabrics to create your custom piece.

Our Essentials are designed to work with our other collections, so you can create a perfectly coordinated look in your home. For example, when we find a rug we love, we give it the swatch test by tossing down several of our Essentials swatches on top to make sure the rug is an easy match with our existing style and color palette.

Ballard Designs' Essentials Program

You can easily dress up or down our Essentials to reflect your decor’s mood. Mix a sturdy twill with an airy cotton to keep things casual; pair a heavy linen with an elegant botanical to take on an air of formality; or mingle a check with an easy Ikat for a fun fashion statement. The same applies to pairing a fabric with a body style. Cheetah keeps things playful on a Louis Chair while velvet draped over an elegant shape and finished with nailhead trim is the height of refinement.

There has never been a better time to update your look. And remember: to make sure you’re completely happy with your fabric choice, you can order up to 10 fabric swatches on us!

To learn more about the full Essentials program, download this handy guide!

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Joan A. H. Black

    August 20, 2014

    Why no color green in your “essential” collection? That grayed sage hardly counts as green. It’s becoming more difficult all the time to find fabrics in green.

  2. Reply

    Linda dorey-stein

    August 20, 2014

    Can you tell me the name of the manufacturer and color of the paint in the above photograph? (The room is a round table with gold bamboo chairs and a panes mirror between two sconces. The color appears a silvery deep dark greenish grey.
    Thanks so much!
    Linda dorey-stein

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 21, 2014

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your comment. The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Secret (#AF-10). Hope that helps!

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team