How to Incorporate Pattern Into Your Space

Minimal interiors certainly have their place and time, but now more than ever the Maximalist trend of pattern on pattern is really apparent, especially when we head into Fall.  Patterns can be very scary to a lot of people though, and for good reason.  If they aren’t used properly it can cause your design scheme to look very messy or unintentional.  With just a few simple rules to guide you, it will seem much less daunting and you can begin having fun playing around with patterns and open up your designs to a whole new world of possibilities.  Here are some guidelines to help you on your journey with pattern play.

Understand the Rules of Pattern

As with anything, having a basic understanding of underlying principles is a good place to start.  There are some basic rules that can help you avoid the pitfalls of mixing patterns.  Start with a color scheme so everything relates, this way it will always look intentional.  Pick your main pattern first, whether its wallpaper or curtains, and then work from there so you don’t have competing strong patterns.  The patterns should vary in scale, larger and smaller, tight or loose, busy or simpler to create contrasts.  Understand the repeat of the patterns so that you know how it will look on a larger scale, you can look online usually to see the full repeat.  Larger repeats often work better on things like curtains or sofas where you can really get a sense of the whole pattern, where smaller prints are great for pillows or accent chairs.

Balance the Patterns to create contrast

Balance is crucial, so avoid having patterns of the same scale next to each other or there won’t be any contrast.  You also don’t want to have the same ground color right next to each other.  If you have a blue pillow with white flowers, you’d want to layer that next to a white pillow that has blue dots on top.  Try to avoid using the same motif too often, there should be a mix of stripes, small geometrics, and florals for example.  And lastly of course mix in some solids or textures to break up the patterns.

Get Creative

The sky is the limit when it comes to pattern play.  But when you understand the basic principles it’s ok to play around and get creative without running the risk of creating too big a mess.  Often it helps to get inspired by one particular print that you fall in love with and then let your creativity run wild from there.