Do you find some rooms in your home a little on the bland side?
Do you find yourself appreciative of the rooms you see in
magazines and television, and wish you could achieve the same
effect? The problem may be that you do not have enough pattern in
In a previous issue we talked about texture.
Texture is often overlooked. Pattern is not so much overlooked,
as feared! Many people are afraid to use pattern. They don't
know how to mix and match patterns, so they avoid them all
This can often result in a very bland, and uninspiring room.
This is a shame, because as a general rule it doesn't cost any
more to buy a fabric with pattern than a solid color. With
pattern you get a lot more impact for your money.
The frugal decorator is conservative with pattern only in the
large pieces, such as overstuffed furniture. Pattern does become
dated faster than solid colors. It is best to use it on items
like pillows, throws, and even area rugs, which can be moved, and
wear out sooner.
There are a few basic rules to follow when mixing and matching
pattern. Keep these I mind, and you shouldn't have any trouble.
Skilled decorators are able to violate these rules and get away
with it, but for most of us we need to keep within these
Here are the basics:
*All the patterns in the room should be easily distinguished from
each other. None of them should be similar to the point they
look alike. For instance, you do not want to use two large
floral prints of similar color near each other.
*Use a variety of prints, including floral prints, stripes, and
*Contrast the size of the design in the patterns. If you are
using a LARGE floral, add a fabric with a SMALL stripe or
*Have a similar color in each piece of fabric. If one of the
main colors in your room is sage green and you want to bring out
this color, make sure this color is in each fabric piece that
*Be aware that your eye CANNOT retain color. This is why
decorators ALWAYS work with swatches of color. Do what you can
to have samples with you of patterns and colors in your room when
you go to buy coordinating items.
Sometimes you can snip little pieces of the fabrics and attach to
a card. Perhaps you can bring in a cushion. Even a picture
*Save the receipt of the items you buy, and do not pull off any
tags. If it doesn't match, take it back. Give yourself a few
days to decide, especially if you like it. If your first
impression is that you made a mistake, you can take it back right
away. If you like it, give yourself a couple days to make sure.
It is very common to change your mind.
Pattern makes a room more exciting, and gives it more character.
You can't go wrong with mixing three patterns, but most rooms
will easily take six or seven. This is why accessories make our
homes look so good. Think of the array of colors and patterns
that paintings and quilts bring into our home.
Be a little more adventurous with pattern. It is a good tool for
the frugal decorator.
Reprinted with permission from:
All Things Frugal
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