Pattern at Play - WFSB 3 Connecticut

More From Better Homes and Gardens® Creative Spaces

Pattern at Play

© Meredith Corporation © Meredith Corporation

Paint may be the cheapest and fastest way to add color to your home, but pattern is the easiest way to add personality. The key is to create a space with a visual rhythm that resonates with you. Pattern is all around you—most likely, you're already living with it.


Shop for patterns 

If your china has a pretty floral pattern and your closet is full of floral-print skirts, then chances are you'll appreciate leafy garden designs. Similarly, if the art on your walls is abstract and you like clothing with bold geometric prints, you're probably a candidate for graphic designs. Select a fabric, rug, or wallpaper with a variety of colors and a pattern you love. This will provide inspiration from which to draw your other choices. Choose various textiles and accessories that feature one or all of your colors. You'll want large-scale prints as well as small ones. Mixing patterns becomes easier if you select patterns and solids that all share one common color. Bring home samples of several patterns and live with them for a while. Be sure that you plan to use enough of your inspiration fabric at various points around the room to unify the color scheme.


Break the rules 

Contrary to what you may have been told, big patterns can work in small spaces. This is because instead of emphasizing a room's petite proportions, big patterns fool the eye into thinking the room is larger than it actually is.


Mix plaids and florals 

You can have beautiful roses on your walls and bold buffalo checks on your windows. To make the mix work, you simply have to select patterns that share a color.


Get inspired by your accessories 

If you're afraid that you'll choose the wrong patterns, try this. Gather favorite patterned objects from around your home—a comfortable pillow, your china, or even clothing. Use these treasures as a starting point to select fabrics and papers that share common design qualities—a similar motif, an identical color palette, or better still, both. The beauty of pattern is you can add more.


Coordinate colors 

Patterns don't have to match, they simply have to coordinate. You can pair a wild tropical print with a modified Asian motif if both prints share a common color palette.


Choose neutrals 

Inject plenty of neutral foils in woodwork, flooring, and furniture to create visual balance and clarity. Too much intense color can take a room from invigorating to unnerving.