Our ability to pattern blend is what separates us from the animals. It is our God given right as the king of the animal kingdom… It is right up there with walking on two feet.
Great pattern blending will turn a good design project into something exceptional. If blended well, the room will be a personalized, unshoppable creation.
Fabric patterns and textures represent styles, some are traditional in nature, some are contemporary, some are reminiscent of country, some represent several styles and are transitional. Most rooms reflect more than one style. Here are some examples of patterns and styles associated with different decorating styles:
French Country – Toile, mini prints, gingham and checks, twills, simple lace
Contemporary – Bold colors, abstract floral, high contrast
English Country – large floral, lots of pattern blending, chintz, plaids, tweeds
Traditional – brocades, damask, linens, silks, tapestries
Contemporary Casual – solids and textures more often than prints, leathers, textures, linens and abstract or geometric prints
Start with an Inspiration in the room. An inspiration piece might be a piece of artwork, an existing bedspread, or a throw pillow. Sometimes the inspiration piece isn’t part of the room, but it is something that speaks to you. Your inspiration piece may include the dominant, secondary and accent colors in the room, or it may still need to be defined with the rest of your fabric and accessory choices.
Choose fabrics that match the formality of the room. The more texture, the less formal a room will feel and look. Texture can be rough, silky, woven and so on. Vary the texture of your fabrics for interest.
Look for a minimum of three distinct patterns and at least two neutral fabrics The fabrics will relate to one another with color and style, but the scale will be different sizes. These distinct fabrics are 1.) a pattern that appears to never repeat itself 2.) a pattern with a repeating pattern 3.) a pattern with an even smaller scale pattern than the previous two. Add neutrals.
When redesigning an interior space consider fabrics already present in the room. Is the sofa a solid? Are the window treatments a neutral, is the occasional chair a pattern? Consider these existing fabrics while adding fabrics to the room.
I’ve enclosed a photo of some toss pillows on a sofa from a space I redesigned. Note the large floral pattern and the repeating pattern in the form of a stripe. The sofa fabric is a small print with charcoals and neutrals. Last, textured neutrals are added added in the form of a soft fury lambskin throw and a textured tweed-like pillow.
Did you know you can have pillows, window treatments, and bed linens custom made here in Portland from any fabric you choose? If you shop store after store looking for the right “look”, this could be your golden ticket.
My interior design expertise includes custom fabric design and style development and together we can make something truly outstanding! Best yet, a detail oriented local workroom will make these creations for you. You don’t even have to pull out the sewing machine!
Portland, Oregon is home to some wonderful “to the trade” fabric showrooms. (This Portland interior designer will take you there!) You might also visit retail fabric stores with good selections. The Fabric Gallery is located in Tualatin. Make sure you don’t miss the “designer” room near the entrance too. Also, the Fabric Depot in SE Portland is also a great stop.
Do you feel comfortable taking your place in the pattern blending jungle? Let’s hear you roar!