Friday, May 13, 2011

Pattern Drama

I think I love patten. I'm not sure. I think I'm a closet-case-pattern-junkie (shhhh- don't tell anyone!). The problem with pattern is the same as the problem with those colors that most people detest- there are no bad colors or patterns: there are bad combinations.

You can stroll into Pier 1 and see a display of a damask-patterned couch paired with a plaid-patterned cushion and a chevron-patterned throw and get inspired... but then, when it comes to your own home, it all just falls flat. We don't have a clue as to which items get patterned and which ones don't- and don't even mention the nightmare of mixing multiple patterns! I think that the source of pattern drama boils down to a root issue- it's not that we don't know how to use pattern, it's we don't know where to use pattern and how much is appropriate for a given area.

Here is a breakdown of key rooms in your home with suggestions of how to undertake pattern appropriately.

Living Room
In this commonly used space, use simple designs and combine them with solid backdrops. Contrary to popular belief, the living room is not the ideal place for loud and busy patterns because they distract from the general focal points of the room. How can your brick fireplace shine when it has to compete with a set of neon houndstooth cushions?

Dining Room
Think: drama! Dining Rooms are generally used most in the evening and can afford bold, dramatic patterns. Seek out upholstery and area rugs with bold, repetitve patterns.

85% of kitchen wall space is devoted to either cabinetry or appliances, generally creating a very neutral backdrop. Don't let that other 15% go to waste: fill it with a punch of bright wallpaper. And don't forget to pursue bright tea towels and window coverings.

In a resting place, this probably isn't the most ideal place for bold, jeweltone wallpaper. Instead, pursue patterns that combine white and soft gray, or plum and powder blue. Patterns are welcomed in their tamest forms. For example, I used to own this duvet and pillow set from IKEA that was white with a wild orange henna pattern- loved it! But, while I would emerge from a sleeping state, I would see and distort the bright orange shapes, thinking I was waking up in front of monsters or lions... needless to say, the comforter had to go.

The bathroom- powder room especially- can definetly afford a great deal of drama. It's a room used briefly by many, so go big! Seek out floral, geometric, or abstract designs- and use them without hesitation on the walls, handtowels, or through artwork.

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