How to introduce pattern into a room

How to introduce pattern into a room

Some people are too scared to introduce pattern into a room. Terrified! But sometimes you don’t want things to be too matchy-matchy and you might want to mix things up a bit. Well fear no more, dear reader. In this post I will show you how to introduce pattern into a room and you will no longer tremble at the mere mention of ‘bold’ or ‘statement piece’ or ‘mixing patterns’.

You’ll see that it is possible to even mix pattern, color and texture and still look classy. Gasp!

Start with a neutral base

It’s ideal to start introducing pattern into a room from a neutral base such as white, cream, beige or grey.

From here, you can introduce pattern through wallpaper, drapes, bedroom linen, a rug or throw rug, or upholstery on your furniture.

Tate Modern in Silver & Aqua - lovely framing in a type of wall niche in a modern home
Tate Modern in Silver & Aqua – introduce pattern from a neutral base. $264 (including GST and delivery) per 1.06m wide x 15.5m drop roll.

This room starts from a neutral base of creams and builds from there. The bold silver and aqua geometric wallpaper in the large niche adds the pattern and colour pop to the room. The blue in the wallpaper is repeated in the cushions on the cream sofa with a suede mid brown base. The brown shag rug adds warmth to the room to balance out the cool blue and adds some texture, as does the cream throw.

A neutral base will help avoid the ungodliest clashes of colour and pattern. But you know what? Sometimes, regardless of what your grandma told you, purple and gold does work:

Flannel Flower Damask wallpaper in purple and gold
Flannel Flower Damask wallpaper by Moore & Moore Wallpaper in purple and gold. $198 (including GST and delivery) per 53cm x 10m (5.3m2) roll

Patterns of different scales

You can avoid your room looking too busy or cluttered by using patterns at different scales. Remember the interior decorating law of three? Well, with pattern, it’s more the interior decorating law of thirds.  The patterns you use should be of different scales – preferably the the second pattern a third of the size of the first pattern, the third pattern a third again of the second size. Using too many small patterns can make your room seem too cluttered and busy.

Notting Hill - Red & White
Notting Hill – Red & White wallpaper $264 incl. GST and delivery per 1.06m wide x 15.5m roll.

This room uses reds and patterns to create this energetic vibe. The rug on the floor, the floral wallpaper and the damask print on the cushions are three completely different patterns, yet they work.

Mixing pattern and colour

Choose the strongest hue in your pattern to repeat in your room accessories.

Dark and bold colours create a dramatic effect. To look like a decorating pro, use the some of the same colors repeatedly. This  helps to tie the room together.

Wallpaper - interior design
Vera bold floral $264 (incl. GST and delivery) per 1.06m w x 15.5m drop roll

In this room we have the large wallpaper print dominating the space. There’s a kind of mandala design on the square stool and polka dots on the cushions on the couch. The red from the wallpaper has been picked up in at least one cushion on the white couch (wish we could see the pic from the another direction!) and it looks like a red end table on the far side of the white couch.

Both couches and the stool are very symmetrical but the polka dot cushions, ottoman and side table are all round shapes. Mixing colours, patterns AND shapes in this room!

Room size

Before choosing your base pattern, take into account the size of your room. Smaller spaces require smaller patterns to avoid making the space look over-dominated by the pattern. You can go to town with large patterns in a large room. As well as creating a more dramatic space, darker colours can also make a small room seem smaller to stick to lighter hues for your pattern choice.

Dina - Pink Wallpaper
Dina – Pink Wallpaper, $264.00 per 1.06m wide x 15.5 m roll (incl. GST and delivery)

In this room, the circle patterns on the wallpaper aren’t so big that they make this space feel cramped. The bold armchair pattern repeats the pink hues in its design. The dark lamp adds a dramatic touch. I love the wallpaper, I love the design of the armchair but I’m not in love with its pattern.

More examples of mixing patterns and colour

If you enjoyed this post, see my collection of patterns mixed with colour and texture on my Pinterest board.

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