Having a point of view in design and home decor is key when you are eager to make a statement in your home. Some feel that a room can carry itself based on the design of the room and the furniture placed in it, however, I find that they can end up being flat and lacking any kind of personality. With rooms that are devoid of pattern, it opens up scrutiny to a languid and tedious space.
As a designer I find working with pattern is often a creative and great way to bring intrigue and novelty to any room. Most pattern is usually is used on furniture, by way of fabric in the decorative pillows. Stripes with florals, zigzags and suzanis, large scale/small scale. You can still have pattern on your larger furniture pieces, but mostly small scale and tonal which will add needed texture, as well as not overpowering the room. That’s not to say that you couldn’t do a bold pattern or stripe, you just have to be prepared to live with it for the next 5 years…or until your ready to redo your home decor.
Firstly choose your first pattern as a large scale as it will dominate. Your second one should be half the size and contrasting to your first: if you started with a floral, then it should be a stripe or geometric. Your third pattern can be a smaller version of either pattern, so that it reconnects them all together. A fourth pattern could be a very small check, which will read almost like a solid.
Occasionally the pattern that you love the most is the most expensive one, so as a cost effective way to still use this fabric, we encourage our clients to use a solid on the back of the pillow to keep in line with the budget, but still have the impact of the pattern in the room.
But pattern should not always be limited to the fabrics of a room. They can be used in a multitude of ways: a herringbone layout in your hardwood flooring, wallpapering your walls and alcoves with chinoiserie or a striae, painting the walls in stripes and basket weaves in your tiles of your shower floor. However, not all patterns need to be busy, so for a simple and clean look, use ceramic subway tile and stack it in glossy and matte white, creating a modern, geometric and chic pattern.
Pattern is also used in bookcases, but aligning the books together first by size, then by colour, you can instantly create large blocks of pattern by alternating the books standing, stacking, standing, stacking until you achieve a pattern.
Pattern plays and integral element when decorating. It can and will add so much more to the room. If you do dare to do a lot of pattern, push the boundaries, and make it a spectacular and dramatic room. Take a chance and let it play on itself. Go big and bold. Go home!
5 designer tips to remember
- Use a minimum of 3 patterns
- Use a solid or different fabric on the backs of your pillows
- Mix different scales of pattern
- Use it in unexpected and unique ways; trims and bindings
- Add in solids and textures to balance out the patterns
By Paul Semkuley