October 20, 2018

Customize your home decor with digital printing

Seven years ago, when I designed a room at the Greystone Mansion Designer Showcase in Beverly Hills, I upholstered the walls with fabric I’d had custom printed with giant photographs of magnolias. The ability to easily custom print fabric with digital images was relatively new at the time, but through an Internet search, I found a printer in Hollywood that could do it for me. It cost a small fortune — about $250 a yard. 

Despite the high cost of photo printing, I was hooked on the potential for customization for home decor, and I was soon printing upholstery fabric for chairs and other furniture. Once, I personalized a client’s window coverings by printing pictures of his kids on the curtain panels. And when my second book, “Flowers That Wow,” came out, I even printed images from the book on gabardine so I could make a bespoke suit for the book launch party. It was a look, for sure.

Still, the hefty price tag kept me from taking advantage of the technology for most of my projects. Fast-forward to today, however, and digital printing has become so accessible and affordable that it’s transforming the home decor landscape. It all boils down to this: If you can take a photo of something, you can have that photo printed and placed on furniture, accessories and walls — at a fraction of what it cost just a few years ago.

I now use digital printing all the time. Here are some examples that I hope will inspire you to personalize your own decor in a uniquely creative way.


As I said, custom fabric used to cost about $250 a yard. Now, thanks to print-on-demand fabric suppliers such as ” target=”_blank”>JPEG of what you would like printed, and they will ship your custom fabric to you within two weeks. Spoonflower offers 16 different textile choices, from basic combed cotton to silk and faux suede, so you can create custom fabric for quilts, pillows, table linens, drapes, blankets, bedding and more.

One of my favorite home decor items to make using custom fabric is pet pillows (above). I lay out several photos of friends’ and clients’ pets on a single yard of fabric (you can fit several photos on one yard), cut around the pictures and sew life-size pillows depicting our furry friends. They make great gifts.


A peel-and-stick wall mural in the Jewish Journal’s lunch room.

Custom photo wallpaper has been my decorating secret weapon ever since I discovered the technology. I’ve been using the custom wallpaper not only for walls, but doors and cabinet fronts as well. 

My go-to resource is the website Canvas prints

The Glaze app adds brush strokes to any photo to enhance canvas prints.

Having your photos printed on wrapped canvas ready for hanging is not anything new, but the widespread availability of digital printing has made it increasingly affordable. Once only art and framing stores offered this service, but now you can have canvas prints made everywhere, from Costco to your local UPS store. 

I do have a trick that adds a fantastic special effect to make the art on the finished canvases look more like paintings than photographs. Download the free photo app Glaze, available for ” target=”_blank”>iPad, and upload your photo. Then put it through a filter that turns your photo into an Impressionist painting. The filters, which provide varying degrees of painterly brush strokes, are actually better and easier than what you can achieve with Photoshop. Once you’ve converted your photo, email it to yourself at full resolution, then use that image for your canvas print. Instant masterpiece.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at jonathanfongstyle.com.