Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bring on the patterns!

Pattern is a design element (but not one of the standard elements of design) which is a must for any interior design, and can be easily be accomplished.

While pattern not one of the standard elements of design, it is a part of a very important design principle - repetition. Pattern also can play a key factor in other arenas - texture at times, as well as line, and color - all of which definitely ARE standard elements of design. The only challenge with utilizing pattern in an interior design - is not to overdo it, or mix patterns inappropriately. We'll talk about that later.

Here's some do's and don'ts for implementing pattern into your space - with style.

DO a preliminary check on your colors.

Don't go out and buy patterned pillows because you're 'drawn to them'. Then you'll be stuck trying to design a room around a pillow - and while it's CERTAINLY possible for me to do this if you want me to (I am a very confident interior designer - it only depends on your budget!) - I can tell you as an interior designer - it's not optimal to plan your design around an object. Take objects as inspiration - sure, but try not to base an entire space's design around a cool table runner you found at market. It'll be more expensive for you - trust me.

So - Before you select your pattern, and what/how/where you will use it in your design - keep in mind that a lot will depend on your overall color scheme. Strong solids on walls or furniture, wall hangings, window treatments - would dictate utilizing smaller elements of pattern and perhaps in a lighter value (for monochromatic colors already being used in your design) as well as complimentary hues to your main color. They should always blend nicely and complement your design. If you have strong navy blue walls, for example - you don't want to go get a matching navy curtains with tiny cream colored dots. They'll be lost in the wall color; and you won't be able to see or feel anything from them except MORE NAVY. Rather - you want to accentuate the beautiful DEPTH of your navy walls - so, you might find cream colored curtains with a cool navy toile pattern - to really make the windows pop; and add a nice sense of texture to the space.

DO know when to tone it down.

We're going to talk a moment about mixing patterns, and over-doing patterns. With mixing patterns - just try to remember to keep it SIMPLE+EXTRAVAGANT! Simple - meaning keep it simple. We're talking stripes, dots - a SIMPLE pattern. Couple it with a beautiful, more extravagant pattern such as paisley, damask, or toile - as long as there's not tons of damask + paisley + toile + big ole' stripes - (which could make even young people go into cardiac arrest - be warned) you'll be doing nicely.

Checks and stripes can easily be coupled with florals or other patterns, and are a very simple way to mix patterns to add a bit more interest to the design.

And here's a tip: if you're looking to add pattern, but do not want to overdo it, simply look for a small weaved fabric, GENTLY monochromatic or solid in color - the weave will add a bit of dimension and is a pattern to boot. You'll be killing two birds with one stone - adding dimension and pattern - without adding anything that will distract from your already exquisite design.

On overdoing it - certainly the previously described pattern combination would definitely fall under this category as well - but for example, if you already have pattern on your walls - and pattern on your sofa - then your goal should not be to try and add MORE pattern. It should be to complement the patterns you already have - by toning then down a bit.

So whether you're adding new patterns or complementing the ones you have - think about what your goals are for your design; and layer in the right colors and patterns to bring out the very best in your interior.

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