Whether you’re a laidback minimalist, or a fearlessly bold decorator, print and pattern can have a place in any home.
If you err on the side of caution, white-on-white print and pattern can add depth and texture to a neutral room, whilst large-scale, dramatic motifs can add opulence and playfulness.
Introduce print and pattern by creating bold feature walls, piling printed cushions and throws onto a sofa, laying geometric tiles in your hallway, or creating a daring matchy-matchy design scheme.
Read on for 10 ways to introduce print and pattern into your home.
1. Start with soft furnishings
For those who are tentatively introducing print and pattern, it’s wise to start with soft furnishings. Adding a patterned cushion to an otherwise plain sofa, draping a colourful throw over your bed, or laying a rug under a coffee table or side unit is a discreet way to add hints of interest without overwhelming.
And prints and patterns don’t need to be elaborate, embrace both in a subtle way by using white on white pattern, or sticking to one single motif – we’re partial to country-inspired botanicals – throughout a room.
2. Add pattern in layers
Too much pattern can leave a room feeling overwhelming, whilst too much of the same pattern can become kitsch. Avoid both by layering different patterns in similar tones. Here, a base palette of yellow and grey/blue is picked up in a multitude of interesting examples of print and pattern. The subtle pinstriped Country Living Charlbury Sofa is piled with ornately detailed cushions, whilst the spotted rug sits on a subdued carpet. The wood tones within the room are in subtle washed finish to let the print and pattern sing.
3. Pattern underfoot
Use floor tiles to introduce pattern into your kitchen, bathroom, or in high-traffic areas like a hallway. Tiling is a great way to introduce geometric pattern without it feeling too modern; choose aged effect tiles with art deco patterns in soft hues of blue, grey, or black.If you have wooden floors, inlay patterned tiles to highlight features like a fireplace, or create zones around high-use areas like your oven.
4. Feature walls
A feature wall is deceptively multifunctional. As well as an interesting way to introduce print and pattern, it can be used to zone areas of a room, to highlight features like a chimney breast, or as a backdrop to your most treasured pieces of furniture. And, with innovations in paste-the-wall wallpaper, it can even be a weekend DIY project.
A small feature wall that takes advantage of the architectural peculiarities of your home – an unused alcove, recessing under your stairs, awkward corners – is a great opportunity to introduce pattern without affecting your whole design scheme. Read more: 21 clever wallpaper ideas to inspire your next home update.
For the daring print-lovers. Matchy-matchy is a confident and joyful way to use a single pattern across walls, soft furnishings, window dressing, and just about anything else you can upholster or paint.
The pattern itself is key – choose a subtler motif or a large-scale print if you don’t want to make a room feel too densely decorated, and the opposite is true if you want to make a grand statement like this Colefax and Fowler scheme. If you’re bold enough to go for the latter, a neutral base tone to your pattern will balance any intricacy in the design. Ultimately, choose a pattern that you love and won’t tire of.
6. Don’t forget the stairs
Stairs are a great place to experiment with print and pattern because they can stand alone as their own design feature; no need to match colour or theme like you would in a room. Using a runner rather than carpeting the whole stairs keeps your print refined and sends the eye upwards (stripes will elongate your staircase to give an impression of higher ceilings.) Read more: The Country Living collection at Carpetright.
7. Curb appeal
Pattern is not just for your interiors; your garden is a great place to experiment with print and pattern that wouldn’t find a natural home indoors. Outdoor tiling with monochromatic and geometric pattern, like these examples from Walls and Floors, are incredibly impactful amongst natural greenery, and make for an unexpected feature outside a front door.
8. Statement seating
Print and pattern doesn’t just have to come from your accessories; armchairs and sofas in bucolic floral prints, vintage pinstripes, or modern geometrics make a bigger statement – especially in matching sets. To add further interest, pile on patterned soft furnishings in similar colorways.
9. Embrace a theme
This is print and pattern for the fearless decorator, full of opulence but playful in expression. Embrace your chosen theme head on, and mix heavily patterned wallpaper and upholstery within a palette of three to four colours. Pick up details within the pattern and mimic them in your accessories to tie everything together – note the replication of shells in the Mind the Gap wallpaper in the shell-shaped bowl on the coffee table.
10. Window dressing
A far more subtle approach to print and pattern. Understated blinds in warm shades can have a lot of intricate patterning without overwhelming a room, whilst natural light softens pattern further still. Use bolder printed curtains to frame a beautiful view, and draw the eye to the scenes beyond.
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