Novelty fabrics show up most often in rooms that don’t take themselves too seriously. If you want to interject a touch of whimsy or just lighten the mood, look for a fabric or accessory covered in dots, stars, paw prints, teapots, palm trees or any light-hearted pattern that catches your eye.
This is the sixth and final installment of the series about working with pattern. If you’d like to catch up or revisit a particular topic, they are: introductory information, where to use pattern, toile, stripes, and floral/organic.
When to Use Novelty Patterns
Novelty patterns are a great option when you want to decorate in a particular theme like palm trees, vintage cars, animal prints, fruit or beverages (coca cola) or even super heroes. The pattern might be a small, subtle addition to a room like a pillow or accessory or could be a dominant part of the decor like draperies or upholstery – how bold do you want to be?
Sometimes a theme or feeling can be established in a room without the dominating use of a novelty fabric, but just in the wise selection and use of color and accessories as demonstrated in this room with a nautical vibe.
Generally, themed rooms that rely heavily on novelty fabrics are relegated to lesser used or private rooms of the home (bedrooms and baths, especially for children). Often just a touch of novelty is enough to give a nod to your “theme” and reinforce a color scheme. A wide range of fabric options are available – I found this site that seems well stocked with just about anything you could want for home fabrics. (*note: I haven’t ordered from them so have no direct knowledge of their products or service.)
How To Blend Novelty Patterns With Others
The same rules apply to using novelty patterns as with any other. Keep the print in the same general color family, vary the scale of the prints (pair large with small), vary the type of print (curvy with straight, floral with stripe, etc.), and contrast a dense pattern with an open pattern (more background showing).
This bright eating area uses a vintage fruit (curvy design) wallcovering but is perfectly paired with a striped banquette cushion and plaid towel (straight designs).
A lighthearted pattern like this would be well suited to a wide, bold blue and white or blue and tan stripe. If you don’t like stripes (what?!) and wanted to add a floral, you should choose something fairly small and dense to contrast with the openness of the bike pattern.
This room illustrates the idea that when you use a very large, bold pattern extensively, you don’t have to avoid all other patterns, but subtle combinations might be best. Notice the tone on tone small geometric pattern on the bed and subtle striped rug. In the bathroom a medium size, very angular geometric pattern picks up one color from within the pattern and makes a good companion to the busy floral.
Do You Have a Novelty Pattern?
Do you have a novelty pattern anywhere in your home? Do you find that you tire of the “themed” look it creates more quickly than other spaces in your home? Tell us all about your pattern preferences in the Comments section below or by email to solutions@YourDecoratingHotline.com