THE DESIGN SEEKER

The Ultimate Luxe Guide To Interiors, Travel & Style

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Do you mix, match or mash up? Your guide to using pattern

There are guidelines that I practice when mixing patterns and it’s worth being smart with your patterns because it’s frustrating to come home with a new patterned piece and it doesn’t gel. Introducing patterns into a scheme is a creative process that goes hand-in-hand with integrating colours, materials, styles and the like. I’m not suggesting you be too restricted by rules but use my tips to create a sense of cohesion and avoid a look of random styling.

My signature style leans towards colour blocking not only with pattern but also with colour to create a balanced, meaningful design. So following this, my first rule would be to introduce a design or pattern you like in a pronounced way. Patterns can get lost so either go for an obvious block or introduce the design multiple times. A wallpaper or big piece for example or scatter a design on a number of pieces so that your eye will follow around the room.

I love room is designed by Kit Kemp from Pinterest. I love this hot pink armchair and as all the cushions and tying in on the rug and paintings. 
On the left there are are a few patterns (palm leaf in the cupboard and shade, chinoiserie cushion, ikat cushion and chevron floor but the colour scheme is restricted to 3 colours. On the right the wallpaper flourishes because of the curved lines of the sofa and matching colour scheme.  


I love to use different patterns and switch up the scale of the pattern sizes to create style, but a coordinated look is nailed and pattern overload avoided with a curated colour palette.  Patterns will really pop on their own and tie in together if they look like they are from the same colour family. You can really explore lots of patterns you like in fabrics, wallpapers, rugs etc within the same few colours.  

There are a lot of patterns in this livng room on the left designed by Kit Kemp but the patterns and colours are all complimentary. Even in this room on the right by Thibaut with multiple patterns works because of the curated colour palette.

It is also a good idea when introducing patterns to stick to colours of a similar intensity whether they are pastels OR brights. It makes sense when you pull patterned fabrics together - the ones where the colours are very similar will bounce of each other and blend beautifully into the same scheme even if there completely different patterns. 

The left image is from Thibaut and illustrates the strong colours of a maroon/purple and a zingy grass green paired softened with white and grey. On the right bright blue, orange and gold is brightened with glowing side lights. The wallpaper is Cole and Son and the mirror is by Bunny Williams.
If you are considering a really dramatic pattern or using a pattern on walls which visually dominates the room, I would set the stage for it to shine by making the strongest colour in that pattern dictate the colour scheme and going for solid/unpatterned materials elsewhere. If you start mixing in patterns with one very strong pattern you might find that the pattern will just not accept competition

These images are from Pinterest. I love the Gubi teal chair and accents of gold, white and red to tie in with the wallpaper. On the right, the parquet black tiled wall is enhanced with gold taps & white tiles which you almost don't notice.

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