I think I like the faded muted colors in vintage fabrics best.
And I believe that's what inspired Rachel Ashwell to start her shabby chic empire. That's the kind of vintage fabric that you find at flea markets - it's been used and is very soft and faded. I like that, too, although not a whole house worth. I like more of a modern country look (brighter color, cleaner look, less stuff)
But what intrigues me is the fabric you sometimes find that's still on the bolt or still has the store tags on it. You just know someone bought it for a project they never got around to finishing. It's been tucked away somewhere, was never washed, is just in perfect condition. I can picture women buying that fabric because they loved it (like I do all the time), then getting too busy.
I've been buying a lot of unfinished or partially finished embroidery projects lately. I love to do embroidery and the old patterns (Vogart, Laura Wheeler, Alice Brooks) are great. But same thing. People would buy and never finish them. I can see why in some cases. I have a tablecloth covered with lilacs - just hundereds of flowers - it would take a year to finish! I also have some cute baby bibs from the 50s. The woman probably thought she had plenty of time to finish them while pregnant and then the baby came and by the time she thought about them again the child was two or three years old!
But, in a way, I'm glad they didn't find the time to use these things and kept them stored away. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to find and use them now.