If you were to casually observe my daily fashion choices, you would believe me to be a lover of neutrals, a hater of patterns. My wardrobe consists of navy blue and gray trousers and lots of plain white blouses and sweaters so as not to compete or distract from the colored fabrics, tiles, and paint swatches I present to clients all day. If you were to step into my home, however, you would quickly discover my devotion to colorful patterns!
We all have varying levels of pattern tolerance; some people feel that a single pair of striped club chairs is enough pattern for an entire room, while others (like me!) love a whole kaleidoscope of florals, checks, and abstract prints all layered together. But regardless of how few or how many prints one enjoys in a space, I have found that many homes I walk into lately only have prints in one spot – on their accent pillows. While I understand the desire to invest in solid upholstered furnishings that won’t lock one into a permanent color scheme, there are other decorative elements you can use to incorporate pattern without making a major commitment.
Decorators love to use patterned lampshades for their drastic and immediate impact in a room. A printed lampshade can turn a ho-hum lamp into a statement piece while bringing color and pattern to a space. Flanking a bed or a sofa with patterned lampshades will provide major visual impact, and a shade can be easily swapped out in an afternoon if you ever tire of it or want to try a new print. I also love to add patterned lampshades to candelabra-style chandeliers a fresh, updated look that draws the eye up to another level in a room.
Draping a beautifully patterned piece of fabric or tablecloth over a basic headboard or the center of a high–backed chair is another simple way to introduce or try out a print in a space. If your fabric doesn’t have finished edges like a tablecloth or quilted blanket, simply fold the edges under the fabric enough so that the piece lies trim and neat and then iron them down to create a clean edge. I’ve been known to create my own “instant hem” by ironing on Heat & Bond Hem Tape. This trick will turn just a few yards of fabric into a focal point with no sewing or trip to the tailor needed!
Skirted tables are a longtime favorite of decorators and homeowners who lack storage space. They not only allow you to introduce a pretty floral, bold ikat, or colorful abstract print to a room, but provide a great hiding spot for stashing file bins, boards games, or baskets of dog toys. If you’re feeling really bold, a skirted table can provide you an opportunity to layer two prints; try a large-scale pattern for the main skirt that falls to the floor and then top it with a smaller-scale patterned table square.
If you’re considering adding a little more pattern to your home, I encourage you give one of these applications a try. You’ll be surprised at the impact even just one of these elements can have in a room, and you may find yourself layering in more prints than you ever expected!