Courtesy christophe servieres staircaselightsoff  iqymkx

Nothing adds pop to a room like an unexpected contrast of patterns. While you might throw a pair of zigzagged pillows on a neutral-colored couch and call it a day, there are so many more opportunities to incorporate new layers and dimensions to a space without making it look like a carnival fun house. A pair of pattern--loving interior designers offers tips on how to introduce that perfect blend of character and contrast.

The Experts: Andrew Gath, Gath Interior DesignAllison Lind, Allison Lind Interiors 

Compare and Compose

Gath says you should feel free to use different iterations of the same pattern in a room, like plaid, so long as they vary in scale, color, and texture. Or pair architectural patterns of sharp geometric shapes alongside more organic patterns with less defined structure for a sophisticated look.

Get Tactile

Lind suggests layering not just patterns but textures to create interesting contrasts and add depth to a room. A smooth fabric on furniture, like denim or linen, wants pillows of a chunkier texture. Vinyl and grass-cloth wall coverings pair well with window drapes of a lighter texture.

Find Balance

“If you have a visually busy room with a lot of layers, look to an adjacent room to bring relief from that,” says Gath. Balancing colorful and neutral rooms throughout a home elevates the visually interesting spaces and makes them feel more unique. Loving a color or pattern doesn’t mean you need it everywhere.

Regan wood lindhesse08112016 7903print lousvg

Clashing Is Cool

Lind’s personal decorating philosophy is to establish a boundary you’re comfortable with, then “dip your toe just over it.” Contrasting patterns should still share a unifying theme, often a common color, but don’t aim for perfect harmony. And consider throwing in opposing colors, perhaps an area rug. 

Scale Down

A little pattern play goes a long way. Gath suggests starting off by introducing just two such elements in a room. But if you’re feeling ambitious, keep in mind the size of the pattern itself matters. Scale from a larger to smaller repeating pattern with each new detail you include.

Show Comments