I'm always looking for the catalyst for a great piece. Here's my current favorite resource: the Japanese kimono. These fabrics are tight woven and hold their shape, and are relatively easy to work with. Even better, the obi (belt) is custom made to add detail to a beautiful garment--and can do the same for any piece of upholstery.
To use an obi in upholstery, use a seam ripper to carefully remove the backing (if any). Once this is done, the obi can be flattened out, and the backing reattached. At this point, they'll look like a large rectangular tapestry. Generally, they have repeating patterns but are only a foot wide, so think carefully about how to use the obi in your design. Also, think of the obi as a tapestry when you use it: First, don't plan to cut it much. Enjoy it as is. Second, avoid sewing it to thick fabrics. It's substantial all by itself and seams connecting the obi to heavy fabrics will not lay flat (and will not be loved by your machine!)