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The difference between fashion and homeware markets

Updated: May 15

The difference between fashion and homeware markets

As a freelance textile and surface pattern designer, it is important to know how to design for different markets.

While my expertise is primarily in fashion and apparel, that doesn’t mean my designs won’t work for homewares! There is, however, a difference that should be noted between these two markets:

  1. Scale and Proportion: One of the primary differences between the two markets is the scale and proportion of the prints used. Fashion design often uses smaller, more intricate prints that can be incorporated into garments and accessories, as they need to work with the proportions of a human body. Homewares typically use larger prints that can cover a larger surface area such as walls, bedding, curtains, and upholstery. My prints are typically 64cm x 64cm in tile size, which makes them adaptable for both markets. Many of my clients end up requesting scale adjustments and tweaks to the artwork as each brand has its own type of customer and end-use. Some may prefer large-scale prints while others prefer small-scale prints. By designing to a 64cm x 64cm tile size, I offer flexibility for the print buyer.

  2. Colour Palette: Another key difference is the colour palette used in each market. Fashion design tends to follow the latest trends and colours, often changing seasonally, while homewares may have a more timeless, classic colour scheme that can be used for longer periods of time. I try to use colours that work for both as I believe in designing sustainably. By creating prints in more transeasonal colours, the print not only has a longer shelf life but also offers ease or comfort in terms of wearability. I know personally, that I like to wear a lot of neutrals myself! This is why I try and offer more than one colourway in my Print Library.

  3. Functionality: The function of the garment or home product can also impact the design of the print. Fashion print designs need to be able to move and flow with the body, so the prints must be able to accommodate this. In fashion, one must also be mindful of placement issues. One great example is swimwear. You don't want any motifs to resemble - ahem - certain body parts when the print is going to be applied on a bikini top! For homewares, on the other hand, its function is to provide a sense of calm or beauty in the home, without looking too busy or fussy. So prints designed for this market may have soothing colours and more classic motifs.

  4. Print Placement: Print placement is another significant difference between the two markets. In fashion print design, prints are often strategically placed to highlight specific areas of the garment or accessory. Border prints are a great example and are placed on hems of garments and serve as a decorative feature. In homewares, however, prints may cover an entire product or be placed in a specific area such as the centre of a pillow, or around the edge of a dinner plate.

  5. Trends: Finally, the trends and styles in each market can differ significantly. Fashion design often follows the latest runway trends and often moves at a super fast pace, while homewares may have a more traditional, classic style that is less influenced by trends. What I love about the homewares market is that designs are made to last longer, and there is a sense of longevity built into these sorts of prints.


Overall, the differences between the fashion design market and the homewares market in terms of print design are primarily driven by the function of the product, the size and scale of the print, and the trends and styles in each market.

Need help with your fashion collection or homewares line? Please do get in touch! I love creating for both markets.

Email me at to kickstart your project!




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