Pattern overlay for a vibrant interior


Combining colorful patterns in one room is not one of the easiest decorating tasks to manage.

Some designers intentionally stick with solids and textures for a more streamlined look, but also because layering a medley of stripes, flowers, and animal prints can encourage an overly busy space. Nonetheless, others are naturally drawn to the pattern play, marrying the point of flame with chinoiserie and throwing a pea without thinking twice.

“If you like visual stimulation a lot, like me, successful pattern play often happens naturally,” said Liz Caan of Liz Caan Interiors in Newton, Massachusetts. “For those who aren’t intimidated by the motives, sometimes I think the best approach is just to be cautious and let things happen organically. It’s kind of like the adage that if you trust what you love, it will always be in fashion.

We asked a group of design professionals for their advice on layering patterns on patterns to create a vibrant interior.

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Use classic and sustainable models

“Balance is extremely important and the key to any patterned room. If nothing in the room screams louder than anything else, then your eye won’t be drawn to a particular feature, and the space won’t feel occupied.

“If you want the scheme to be timeless, look for more classic enduring designs like ikats, flowers, suzanis, etc., rather than very graphic and more contemporary prints. We also love to use cashmere because it is such a familiar design and therefore pleasing to the eye.

Classic and enduring patterns complete this striking living space by design studio Salvesen Graham.

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– Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham from Salvesen Graham in London

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Vary the scale of the patterns

“We love to mix variable scale stripes with simple yet bold geometric companions. We’re also fans of mixing conservative and traditional designs with bolder, more contemporary complements.

“We try to make sure that the scale of each design displayed is different. In the case of stripes, it means significant changes in spacing, width, etc. In addition, we find success in stories of significantly different colors, while ensuring cohesion and consistency between the materials.

“It’s best to create a rhythm in which some patterns are adjacent to each other (as in the case of upholstered seats and booster cushions), while others are separated by solid elements such as the floor or the walls to give them space to breathe. “

– Andrew Bowen, Partner and Director of Staging for ASH NYC, a luxury design, development and staging company in New York City

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Dress up the ceiling

“Mixing patterns and colors can add rich texture to a room, but there has to be harmony between them. Use colors that have the same hue and intensity. For example, don’t mix pastel patterns with jewel-toned patterns. Choose tone-on-tone designs that add depth, texture and character to the room. “Create visual balance. Keep your designs flowing throughout the room – you want your eye to travel through space. Think about the layered piece, each layer should complement the next, bringing the overall concept together.

“Try anchoring your space with an oversized patterned or textured rug. Use solid color furniture and add decorative pillows in a mix of styles. Finally, don’t forget the ceiling. Dress it up with a grass fabric or a bold pattern. You want the room to feel weighted up and down as well.

In this bedroom by designer Andrea Schumacher, patterns travel from the ceiling to the drape, through the embroidered edge of the duvet, and up to the bench at the foot of the bed.

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– Andrea Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors in Denverand Santa Barbara, California

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Create moments with lighting

“If you’re worried that your pattern mix is ​​getting out of hand or you just don’t know where to start, I always suggest selecting patterns that don’t directly compete with each other. For example, it would be really hard for a southwestern stripe to feel comfortable with a romantic canvas. You want balance and variety, but you also want the designs to look like they would end up in the same crowd.

“Spaces rich in patterns usually evoke an intentional moody mood, so I like to create extra moments with lighting to support that homey vibe – fewer ceilings and more floor and table lamps breaking the room up by projecting their own. glow in different nooks and crannies. Sconces are also a great way to draw attention to a really beautiful wallcovering.

“I like to combine an organic pattern with a structured pattern. It’s the perfect amount of tension, but each pattern still supports the other. I like to hang art on a textured or patterned wall whether or not the art matches the wall covering. Sometimes, and often, the opposition is more interesting.

Designer Liz Caan recommends choosing patterns that make it look like they would end up in the same crowd, as she did in this colorful living room.

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– Liz Caan, interior designer in Newton, Massachusetts

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