I say this a lot: prints add pizazz to a space. They’re like the spices of decorating – just enough enlivens any room, but too many can quickly be overwhelming and ruin the whole dish, er room! A room that’s only got solid hues will lack visual interest. Lots of people are pattern shy, but I often wonder why. Patterns don’t have to always be loud, bold and statement inducing. They can be subtle and subdued and therefore add just as much interest.
Kelly Wearstler. Photograph: Mikkel Vang, ELLE Decor
Mixing up the scale. This really helps with mixing and matching print successfully. Try if you can to mix up the scale of your prints. The image above is a Kelly Wearstler interior (she’s the master of pattern!) and the huge scale of the wallpaper plays so well off the leopard print carpet. It also makes me want to get an animal print stair runner, but that’s another story!
Let’s say you have a large-scale patterned rug, introduce a smaller scale print say on a cushion or vase to make your space even more attention grabbing. I do this intuitively a lot by the way by mixing in animal print (my favourite print!). The small motif is fabulous without being too cutesy. The more you mix the more intriguing your space.
The more patterns you add the more the need to reign in the palette Obviously this is personal but I think rooms look really fab if you restrain the number of hues you have in a room especially if there is a lot of pattern going on – it feels more refined and sophisticated somehow.
Think of texture as a print. If pattern scares you then there are lots of materials out there like sisal rugs, grasscloth wallpaper or a classic Beni Ourain rug that has a super subtle pattern that you can easily introduce to rooms – just remember you need contrast in a room to make it cool!
Kelly Wearstler. Photography: Roger Davies, Architectural Digest
Pick a foundation colour from your patterns. I’ve done this a lot in the past, brought say a patterned rug loved it and then let it dictate my colour scheme by pulling one of the main hues from the textile and echoing it throughout the room. All decorators use this trick it’s completely fool proof and always repeat always works!