Decorating with patterns can be confusing… do striped and floral fabrics go together, or can I add geometric designs with stripes? If you need help adding interest with patterns we offer a few valuable tips.
Mix Patterns like a Pro
Most people shy away from using patterns when decorating their home, but that’s just because they’re not sure of how to work with dots, stripes and florals. It’s actually very easy to combine these and other patterns. All you have to do is remember these basic rules:
ABOVE: Beautiful interiors are layered with fabrics and textures. Don’t be afraid to experiment with small fabric scraps in colours and patterns to decorate your home.
Start with a main pattern
You should always kick off your patterned decorating project with a lead motif. Then base the rest of the room around that pattern. Pick patterns willy-nilly and and there is a good chance that you’ll have a décor disaster on your hands.
ABOVE: With a floral pattern selected as the main pattern in this living room, stripes were added with an upholstered chair. All the colours in this room were inspired by the artwork. [Taylor King]
The power of three
Interior decorators do everything in threes and so should you. Yes, that’s three patterns in one room. But if you’re just not ready to be this bold, use two patterns with one solid colour. This colour can be pulled from your main pattern and can be added with vases, throws, lamps and other homeware items.
ABOVE: Leopard print, contemporary and geometric designs don’t compete for attention in this living room, rather they harmoniously blend together to create an interior that is interesting. The blue fabric on the armchair takes its cue from vases in a geometric-patterned cabinet, which is also the inspiration for the geometric-patterned armchair. [Taylor King]
BELOW: In a similar layout this living room displays striped and geometric fabrics that complement each other. [Taylor King]
Just because you’re using three patterns, doesn’t mean they all have to be in the same colour. In fact, the same colour will not only be bland, but could be overwhelming too. Colours should complement each other, and you can use the Plascon Inspired Colour System to assist in choosing colours, not only for paint, but also for selecting fabric colours that work together.
ABOVE: Stripes and florals feature as accents in this living room. A wingback in a bold red fabric is placed on a rug that incorporates the same colour, while the striped cushions pick out colours used in the room.
Vary the scale
You don’t want to use only big or only small patterns. What you want to do is combine patterns in different sizes. Use big patterns on large items, dainty patterns on small items and medium-sized patterns on everything in between. So in a lounge, large blooms will go on the couch, stripes on the coffee table and polka dots on the cushions. Get this mix right and you’re set for decorating success.
You have to add white to a room with patterns. White not only makes all the other colours pop, it also gives the eye a bit of a rest. If a room had only patterns in it, with no white, it would be extremely busy and not a pleasant space to spend time in.
ABOVE: Checks and stripes in black and white would normally overload the senses, but the inclusion of white and black help to give the eye a place to rest and lessen what would otherwise be a very busy setting. [Taylor King]
Now that you are inspired to mix and match patterns in your home pop into your local fabric or home decor store and give your home decor a facelift. You will find plenty of tips and tricks for making cushions and soft accessories in our Sewing section, as well as advice on upholstering furniture or making your own slipcovers using the ideal fabric.