Pattern is a fun way to liven up a dull room, inject your own personality into your home - or project the style you want, like folky Bohemian or Art Deco. With prints to suit every taste, from chic geometric shapes to rustic checks and pretty florals, pattern will make your home unique.
But using pattern can be tricky – unless you get it just right, the effect will be chaotic, not coordinated!
The good news is you can create stunning results with pattern if you know some basic rules. Read on to learn how to introduce your favourite prints into your home.
1. Stick to the same colour palette
For a harmonious look, choose patterns that share similar colours:
Choose 2 or 3 pastel shades and use a print with the same motif to create a serene space to relax in. Or opt for a funky mix of different designs and sizes within the same colour palette, to make your space come alive.
If your room has a monochrome colour scheme – either black and white, or just one colour – patterns are the perfect way to give it depth. Geometric patterns look especially striking when teamed with a monochrome interior:
2. Let one dominant pattern set the tone
Choose a statement piece for your room with a strong pattern – say your rug or wallpaper – and coordinate with furnishings that borrow elements from it. For example, a certain flower from an elaborate floral rug can be repeated on the room’s cushions. Your solid colours can be taken from the pattern, too.
With this approach, your main pattern takes centre stage and everything else coordinates seamlessly:
3. Mix don’t match
If all your patterns are identical, the effect is flat and stifled - the opposite of what you want to achieve! Instead, choose patterns that complement each other. You want them to look similar but be distinct patterns in their own right. Mix dark and light prints, or experiment with different scales and textures. Layer your contrasting patterns to provide visual interest:
If you’re feeling daring, you can even go for an eclectic contrast of prints – team florals with stripes or modern with vintage, for a funky effect:
4. Use pattern to complement your room’s size
Want your room to look bigger? Not only do stripes have timeless appeal, but because they draw the eye in one direction they create the illusion of space. Horizontal stripes open up a narrow room, and vertical stripes make ceilings appear higher:
And if you’ve a big, open-plan area, using elements of the same pattern throughout ties the design together and gives your space a sense of continuity.
5. Wallpaper is an easy way to add pattern
Wallpaper is an easy way to make a real impact with pattern. There’s such a huge range of wallpapers available to match any theme, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Be daring and clad every wall in your pattern, or draw attention to a feature wall.
Offset with furniture and accessories in solid coordinating colours. They’ll stand out beautifully contrasted against your print:
6. Frame pattern with solid colour
You don’t want everything in your room to be covered in pattern or the eye has nowhere to rest, and the effect is overwhelming. Instead, mix pattern with solid colours:
Even if you’re going for a bright and busy boho interior, rein in your riot of prints with a plain block of colour here and there. The vibrant prints will stand out all the better with a neutral backdrop:
And if you’re nervous about introducing pattern into your home, it’s helpful to start with a base of solid, plain colour without any pattern at all. Then, gradually add coordinating pops of pattern in your textiles and accessories, to make sure you like the effect. If your room starts to look too busy for your taste, just swap some pieces for plain ones until the space is just how you want it.
7. Play with scale
A fun way to give your space visual interest is by using one style of pattern in different sizes. The size of your pattern can also impact the room’s mood: larger patterns are calming, while small patterns are busy and energetic. So bigger patterns will work best in large areas like your walls or floor, and smaller prints work well in small doses like cushions and accessories:
When choosing pattern size, consider the size of your room, too. Usually, the bigger the room the bigger the pattern you can use. But rules are made to be broken! If you want to make a bold statement, the right choice of big patterns can give your small room a sense of grandeur.
8. Use pattern to create balance
If you’ve an area of your room that’s bare, this can leave the space looking unbalanced: plenty to draw the eye in one area, but not enough going on in another. Because we have a natural preference for symmetry, an unbalanced room makes us feel on edge and uncomfortable.
But pattern grabs attention, so it’s an easy way to give an area ‘visual weight’. Place a patterned piece of art or a wall hanging in the bare area, and your room’s balance is restored:
I hope these tips inspire you to create a unique look using the prints you love. Refer to them next time you want to inject some pattern, and enjoy beautiful results!
Have you used pattern to liven up your own interior? Do you have a favourite print? I’d love to hear from you. Add your comment, or share a photo of your own patterns below