Designer Tip: My Rules of Pattern

Friday, October 5, 2012

I am often drawn to interiors that blend and layer patterns. Even if subtle, like a texture or tone on tone design, I love the depth, variety and visual interest of patterns! But I find that, for many people, working with pattern can seem difficult and overwhelming.

For me, the simple key to layering patterns is contrast. Patterns must either have:

contrast in scale 
contrast in movement 
(for instance a geometric + an organic pattern - a floral with a stripe is the most classic example!)

Here are some lovely examples of the rules at work. . . 

A perfect example of how a small scale geometric goes wonderfully with a larger scale organic floral! 

Ok, this is the master class! I know it looks a bit like chaos and the look might not be for everyone but I love its energy! And the rules of pattern are still working here too - very small scaled prints contrast with larger ones {like the bold rug} and geometrics {like the red lampshade and wall fabric} help reign in all of those ethnic prints! 

Also, a reminder that pattern does not have to mean a bold, over the top animal print or crazy chintz - soft patterns can often be the prettiest! 

So what do you think, are you up to layering pattern?


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