Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Subtle Effect.....

Same color palate, different patterns and textures.

Same color palate, a geometric, a big floral and an animal print. Here the animal print is small and works as a neutral.

Same color palate, a geometric, an abstract, a stripe and
a large paisley make a very interesting, elegant and
textural mix. The different patterns work because of
the common color palate.

Mixing patterns is a good way to give your space an interesting, polished and pulled together look. There are many ways to approach this, you can go big and bold, keep it neutral, mix lots of patterns or be subtle... the possibilities are endless!! Today I am going to talk about the art of keeping it subtle.

Keeping your pattern mix subtle can be a restfull, elegant way to add pattern into your room. Subtle pattern mixes involve a smaller color palate and a mix of textures to keep it interesting. They remind me of the 1940's Hollywood Glamour interiors which relied on texture, high sheen and shape to achieve their beauty. This type of pattern mixing is the most elegant, but it can come off bland if not done properly since you are dealing with such few colors. If you like this look, I recommend using a designer (I always recommend using a designer!!), but I am going to give a few tips for pulling it off!!

The first thing to think about is where to use pattern. In a subtle mix, you don't want to over power a room, so a good rule of thumb is to keep it in the accessories; a patterned rug, pillows and draperies are good places to start in a subtle pattern mix keeping the main pieces of furniture solid fabrics that have varying shades and textures of the theme. Pillows are the best way to add pattern to a room. They are a great way to experiment because you can use many and they are easily replaceble if you don't like the outcome.

  • Start by selecting an inspiration fabric. This will be the starting point for the mix.
  • Select at least 2 more fabrics with the same color palate but different patterns. Remember when mixing: a large print with a small or geometric works as does large florals and stripes. Polka dots are easy to mix too (see above window pane pattern and polka dot).
  • Remember texture is important!! Vary the textures, mixing velvets and chennilles with silk always works.
  • An animal print, if the pattern is kept tight and has only 2 colors, can be used as a neutral.
  • Tie the pattern mix to the room by using one of the background colors of a fabric as the wall color or solid fabric color.
  • Most important, have fun!! Your interiors should reflect you and if the pattern mix pleases your eye, that is all that matters!!

Fabrics can be glamourous and luxurious. Today bring a little luxury to your room by trying a subtle pattern mix!!

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