Last week I talked about the “rules” of mixing patterns and gave you some designer tips to get you started (read here if you missed it). Today I have lots of visual inspiration for you. Pattern is the best way to take your home decorating up a notch. If you’re intimidated by the thought of using bold pattern, maybe you’ll find your courage in one of these inspiration photos.
Use Pattern Fearlessly
As I mentioned last week, the easiest way to combine prints is buying from a pre-coordinated palette as provided above by Calico Corners. The patterns blend because of the common colors and the difference in scale between the patterns. The large scale floral is balanced by the wide spaced stripe and the denser swirly pattern on the ottoman.
Breaking one of the rules I mentioned last week of using the same color family in all the prints, this room shows how to mix it up a bit. Blue and yellow is a classic scheme and this combination of blue stripes and blue floral pillows is a ‘normal’ beginning. The addition of viney yellow wallpaper and geometric quilt pattern is a departure from the standard, but isn’t that what makes it interesting? The scale and variety of patterns works well and could be accomplished using only shades of blue for a more subdued room.
Scale plays a crucial role in this mix of busy patterns: huge overscale pattern on the walls with medium pattern on the settee and a lighter, small pattern on the rug with a touch of a couple solids thrown in for good measure.
The walls above are painted a light color to calm down the riot of pattern in this small space. I count 7 patterns – 2 different window drapes (very unusual treatment and especially in one small room!), the check on the valance and as trim on the patio drapes; the large buffalo check on the chair back; the floral on the seat front and the stripe on the other seat fronts; the patterned Oriental rug. Whew.
This blend of modern patterns works because a strong geometric pattern on the chairs is mixed with a bigger scale strongly organic pattern on the table. The gold pattern at the window changes up the color which adds interest and keeps it from being too competitive with the chairs (they’re about the same scale). The lampshade is an organic, curvy pattern too, but substantially smaller than the tablecloth.
Black and White Pattern
This is a pretty bold stripe, but what caught my eye is the way they turned it to run horizontally for a modern interpretation of a chair rail style. The contrast of the old furniture against a distinctly modern stripe adds yet another level of interest.
The huge scale of this pattern makes a gorgeous focal wall and would be easy to coordinate other fabrics with … you can see the small plaid and stripes used. A very modern version of a traditional pattern in an older home.
This busy wallpaper is successful because it’s paired with big blocks of white. Even though the white has some pattern (which keeps it very interesting), the pattern is subordinate to the wallpaper.
Designers use patterned draperies all the time as a great way to add excitement to a room’s decor. In addition to all the benefits of draperies, the pattern helps break up big expanses of solid wall color and brings that designer touch to a space.
Pattern on Walls
When using a large scale or busy wallpaper, it’s often a good idea to simplify the shapes and colors used against the wall as illustrated above. Plain white or solid colors for the main furnishings create a good contrast against the wallpaper.
Using wallpaper in a bold or dark color will accomplish the same thing as painting an accent wall a solid dark color – it will visually pull the wall into the room, it will cozy up a large space, and it will have the added benefit of bringing pattern and interest to the room.
Pattern in Unexpected Places
Use wallpaper or stencils to introduce pattern just about anywhere: walls (obviously), floors, behind bookshelves, on a picture/mirror frame or mat, framed as art, or on the ceiling.
See My Pattern Project
I’ve had a project in mind for weeks and finally completed it – be sure and check in next week to see what I’ve done! Also coming next week is another installment on patterns – interested in stripes or toile? I’ll have lots of inspiration and ideas on how to use them and other patterns to add drama to your rooms.