There’s no doubt about it, for the plain Jane, deciding to decorate with pattern can be an intimidating prospect. As such a great way to decorate interest and depth into your home, or to create a focal point, pattern deserves to be explored next time you put together a new look.
If you are already thinking of working some patterns into your interior design, it’s likely that you’ve already been inspired. If you still need to spark your creative side, try looking outside. Nature is a fantastic shop window for patterns and colours, working both with and against traditional design conventions to great effect. Alternatively, take your starting point from a favourite fabric, item of clothing, or just about anything else you might find. Don’t rely on memory when matching colours – it won’t work! Instead, before you start to decorate, try making a mood board to get a feel for your finished look.
Pattern by Numbers
There is much argument around the ‘correct’ use of patterns, testament to the fact that there are no hard and fast rules. However, many designers believe it’s best to choose a minimum of three patterns to decorate with. That may sound like a recipe for overkill, it’s all about scale. Odd numbers generally work well together, and three may be enough if this is your first foray into home decorating with pattern. Of your three, one should be large scale, and it’s this one which will shout the loudest, so make sure this one is your favourite. The second pattern should be about half the size of the first, and providing it has shares some colours, can be completely different. Your last design will unite the first and second, so choose one that shares their colours, or echoes one of the patterns.
Work the Room
When you explore the use of pattern in your room, think about the desired end result. More chaotic designs can liven up a space, while simpler patterns will have a calming effect. Used together, large scale designs will harmonise and unite the features of a room, whereas smaller ones will focus the eye in a particular area. Uninteresting areas can be instantly transformed using pattern to give character. However you decide to decorate, make sure you gather swatches of your chosen designs so that you can see how they will work with other features or furnishings within a room. Samples are also a great way of matching the colours in your patterns, and will be invaluable if you aim to match or complement a feature’s existing colour.
While patterns can very effectively bring a room’s features together, placing different colours and designs within your home can be a balancing act. Unless you are decorating with a collection of patterned objects, spread your different designs throughout a room evenly so that the look is composed, rather than confused. This will give a stylish, flowing feel meaning the eye will move easily from one area of the room to another, without jarring.
Though guidelines offer an invaluable starting point, try not to follow too many conventions when you work with different designs in your home. Your space should reflect your personality, so get inspired, make your own rules and enjoy putting pattern to the test.