A guide to mastering pattern play

7 March, 2017

Forget sleek lines and subtle prints – maximalism is the new minimalism. This modern style encourages you to unleash your creativity onto your home’s interiors with colour and texture. The trend’s linchpin? Patterns – big, small, geometric, soft…anything goes in this bold and bright outlandish world. But using a myriad of prints in a singular space isn’t as easy as nailing a neutral palette in minimalist style. To help you get to grips with the art of pattern play, we’ve compiled a number of top tips to follow.

Use pattern as a form of expression

The number one rule of making patterns work in harmony is to choose prints which reflect your personal character and unique taste. Spend time researching those that attract your eye instantly – consider geometrics, florals, stripes, animal prints and polka-dots.

Nora Felin, Marketing Manager at Photowall, said: “Create a mood board to help form your ideas – Pinterest is a really easy tool to use. While you can explore the feel of an overall style, you can also dig deeper into how you want individual parts of the room or furniture to look, too.”


Begin with a base

To kick-start your pattern project, you need to form a base. Do this by picking out your favourite colour and style – for example, pink and floral. Use the shade and pattern you have chosen for one of the most dominant features of your room, such as your wallpaper, flooring or a sofa.

children's wallpaper ideas

Create your layers

Choose secondary shades and prints that are complementary to your base – that way, they’ll pull the look together. You can try repeating the same colour in a different shades or opt for hues that are perfectly paired – think aqua with cherry red, yellow with grey or emerald with gold. This second level of pattern is best used on statement pieces in a room, such as rugs, cushions and lamps.

Nora comments further:  “If you’d prefer a formula to follow, try the 60/30/10 approach. Use 60% of your favourite pattern as your primary base, 30% of your secondary pattern and then 10% of a tertiary pattern which can be used for accent features.”

Flies by Mia Marie Overgaard

Balance out patterns

Make sure the prints which you choose range in size, otherwise your room will teeter on the verge of looking bizarre, rather than eclectic. If you use something bold on your walls, opt for a pattern that’s less busy for your soft furnishings. The best tip to follow would be not to choose more than one pattern of the same scale size.

Nora adds: “Use obviously different patterns, such as a sleek wide stripe, intricate geometric shapes and ditsy florals. That way, the look will look obviously intentional.”


Provide pattern breaks

One key thing to keep in mind while decorating with numerous prints is to provide your room with intermittent rests from pattern. You can break up the space by using solids, which can be easily achieved with a simple neutral wall or a sofa in a sole shade. Be sure to distribute both solids and patterns evenly throughout a room, otherwise the space could risk looking out of kilter.


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