Playing with patterns: utilizing discord and harmony for a unique look
Experimenting with patterns in interior design is something often left to the experts. Having the nerve to combine multiple prints or patterns in one décor does indeed take some skill, but follow the rules and it is possible to achieve rooms that blend flat notes with perfect pitch for the ultimate in discordant harmony.
The first difficult rule to get to grips with is the most important: there are no rules. Yes, really. It’s all about confidence, balance and being bold in your choices. There is no right or wrong, merely degrees of success and failure! To create a unique look in an interior it is necessary to take risks and push boundaries. Here are some pointers to get started:
The power of three
It is widely agreed in the design world that odd numbers give a pleasing impression when applied to pattern. Start off by selecting three different patterns to incorporate in a room. Choose a large scale bold pattern as the base note, then source two others that work alongside. A bold geometric wallpaper print may resonate well with the stripe on a fabric sofa or the animal print on a cushion – it all depends on the chosen hues and how they relate to one another. Mixing primary and pastel shades from the same part of the color wheel can be a little too saturated, so it’s better opting for contrasting tones.
Texture that talks
Texture belongs in the pattern category. Whether its upholstery fabric, Anaglypta wallpaper, rough plaster, intricate rugs and flooring or any number of tactile soft furnishing finishes, texture puts down another layer of depth. Use it to echo shades found elsewhere in the highlighted patterns for a sophisticated and elegant look.
The white way
Patterns that fizz with a white base color are easier to knit together in a scheme. The patterns chosen may all be totally different in motif and material, but the white background colors will pull them together with a sweet subtlety. Try it and see for yourself.
Patterns that perform
Some patterns work better than others for interior impact. A lot of the mid-20th century modern, geometric patterns lock in well to the current, edgy interiors we are seeing. Think of contemporary Missoni-style textiles colliding with authentic fabrics from the sixties for giving a room the perfect measure of untamed pattern.
Those who fear creating an over-busy mess should keep calm and carry on adding different patterns until some semblance of balance is achieved. Sometimes all it takes to make a room suddenly sing is the placement of the correctly patterned or textured cushion or throw. The world of pattern is alive with energizing designs featuring bold botanic and bird prints, tartans, stripes, paisley, French toile, polka dots, petite florals, antiqued brocade and more – so many from which to choose.
Harmony and discord are at different ends of the interiors map, but with some carefully selected furnishings, wall coverings and textiles, it is possible to get them both in the same room at the same time, with wonderful results.