Have you ever walked into a room that was so well designed and you thought “How in the heck did the designer think to put all this random stuff together and make it look so damn good???” Well its not magic (sort of) but it is a combination of pattern used correctly with scale and layering.
I get this question a lot from clients: “If I have too much pattern in a space, isn’t it going to look too busy and feel like there is too much going on?” and the answer is Hell No!! 😉 The truth is that a well curated space with a variety of pattern done in the right scale is the most beautiful and layered way to design a room. I often use the reference of a high end hotel. As a designer, I can’t help myself when I walk around a hotel or high end restaurant and I start touching all the walls and finishes. I’m sure people see me and think I am totally nuts. Those are some of the best places to see the way mixing pattern can make a place look amazing and so unique. I like to bring up the fact that luxury hotels could have 20-30 different finishes and materials in a space, and then clients realize that YES! in fact there are a bunch of finishes and patterns in those spaces. So when its done right it makes for amazing design. In my opinion its safe and easy to play it simple, but just like nature, there is pattern in everything. So please embrace the idea and when in doubt don’t shy away from using pattern.
Many people find incorporating pattern into interior environments difficult. It can easily overwhelm a space if you use too much pattern or don’t use it correctly. And trying to mix and match patterns can be very daunting – but it doesn’t have to be!
Whether it be a commercial or residential interior, pattern can be applied using wall coverings, tile, fabrics and upholstery, and other graphic elements. You can also use pattern to convey a design style and/or to add visual interest to a space. In order to successfully apply pattern to your space you must first understand the different types of patterns, and secondly how to mix and match them with other design elements.
Geometric Patterns: Patternsformed by geometric shapes, typically repeated. Geometric patterns can be used to complement modern, contemporary, and transitional spaces and complement other types of patterns well.
Organic Patterns: Organic patterns are the opposite of geometric patterns in that they utilize soft lines, shapes, and curves instead of straight lines and rigid shapes. Organic patterns often consist of floral patterns and animal prints. Organic patterns work well in traditional interiors but also in modern and contemporary ones as well.
Motif Patterns: Recurring shapes, forms and figures. Motif patterns can overlap other types of patterns like geometric and organic. Motif patterns can be very subtle, or very bold depending on how and where you use them in a space.
Pictorial Patterns: Patterns consisting of objects or scenes. These are not abstract like the other types of patterns and usually have an easily identifiable theme.
Once you have an understanding of the different varieties of pattern, it’s much easier to integrate them into your design. Here are some ways you can successfully use pattern in your space.
1. Balance patterned elements with solids
Balance is perhaps the most important thing to be aware of when using pattern. If you use too much pattern you will completely overwhelm the space and its users. Pattern should be applied in unison with solids to create a layered effect. For example, if you’re using a large scale print as a wall covering, the floors and furnishings can be solid colors and textures so they complement the pattern, not compete with it.
2. Use different types of pattern within the same shade or hue.
One easy way to achieve a harmonious look using different patterns is for every pattern to be done in the same color or shade. This is one of the easiest ways to use pattern because you don’t have to worry about how color combinations affect the different patterns. Using the same shade in different patterns allows you to use different types of pattern as well as different scales while still creating a cohesive look.
3. Mix patterns with different scales
Using varying scales is so important when combining different patterns. Using the same scale for all the patterned elements will look busy and incoherent. In order to properly layer different patterns you must also use a variety of scales. For example, if your rug has a large scale pattern then drapery, accent furnishings and pillows should have a mix of medium and small scale patterns.
Using pattern in your interior will give it that “designed” look. As long as you use pattern appropriately and always consider balance and scale, you can create a well developed space that will be the envy of your family and friends. If you need help using pattern in your space email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!