If you've ever admired a patterned-packed interior, but have been reluctant to try this maximalist style in your own space, now's the time to reconsider. Brooklyn-based textile designer Rebecca Atwood, whose known for her painterly and abstract patterns as well as her book , shares pointers for layering patterns successfully in a room.
Mixing patterns in a space can be tricky. What’s your favorite way to pull it off?
Start with a color palette. Color is a great unifier. It can take patterns that feel very different from one another and make them fit together if the colors work. If you feel comfortable with neutrals, it’s a great starting point. But if you like color, go with a monochromatic color palette, like blues and greens, or find one multicolored pattern and pull the colors from that pattern. The colors don’t have to match, but they should relate to one another. If you are going with a tangerine, for instance, you want those reds to be more in that orange-red family.
What's the best way to ensure that a pattern-filled room feels balanced?
Forty to 60 percent of your room should include pattern. The rest should be solids, textures, and materials, depending on what you like. If you want to limit the amount of patterns, a bold color can help balance out a bold pattern. And if you really want to go for it with wallpaper, go simpler on everything else.
Is there one room in a home that can really benefit from a mix of patterns?
Pattern is really personal, because it tells your story. Think about the different stories and moods you want to create and use patterns for that purpose. The living room is a very obvious place, since it's very communal and a lot of time is spent there. However, it really is wherever you want to add life and energy and make it more personal.
Are there any other places to consider besides the living room?
Roman shades or curtains are a great place to add pattern, because it can make a room feel finished. Rugs are also interesting and can be bolder than something on your walls, since you're viewing it in a different way. It's not straight in front of you. Upholstered pieces are also great. For a two-seat sofa, for instance, the cushions can be a pattern, and it will feel more special because of that. Upholstered pieces are so practical in that they hide dog hair, stains, and any wear and tear.
It's no secret that throw pillows are an easy way to refresh a room. What's the best way to mix and match throw pillows?
Think about mixing scale, uniting a color palette, and where you fall on the [decor] spectrum. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist? You also have to consider the kind of sofa you have. With a sofa, it is more about the size versus the pattern. It is more about how big is your sofa and how many pillows are going to work.
If you have a dark sofa, you might want light-colored patterns. Pairs of pillows are going to be more traditional, whereas an odd number will feel a bit more relaxed. For a more traditional look, pick two patterns. Then put them in pairs and have two on each side of the sofa.
What's the one thing to stay away from when it comes to layering patterns in a space?
I hesitate to tell people not to do certain things. If you are struggling, go back to the basics. If you love something, you should find a way to make it work. Bring home swatches of fabrics and look at how they relate to each other. Find elements that help it relate to other things in your room. Trust your instincts. It’s just pattern. It should be fun.