Perfect patterns


Something in the psyche is soothed by pattern and colour and finding what suits your home can be an interesting journey. After years of neutral backdrops and hotel inspired chic, a return to vivid colour and more flamboyant patterns is on the cards. But before you channel your inner Llewelyn-Bowen, heed the wise words of Hannah Kitchen, stylist at The Great British Ottoman Compan. “The biggest danger when trying to mix mismatched prints is that you will end up with a loud over-complicated mess,” she says. “Even if you are choosing wildly different prints, you can still maintain an element of uniformity by limiting other things, such as the type of fabric. I would go for just two or three types of complementary fabric together – for example, thick hard-wearing materials such as leather, suede and wool; or lighter fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk.”

Having two patterns of the same scale is a recipe for disaster, as they will fight for attention. “Opting for different scales of pattern is the key to achieving balance and harmony,” says Hannah. “A room full of intricately detailed patterns of the same size, will end up blending together into a wall of ‘noise’, whilst a room with 60% large-scale floral, 30% mid-sized stripe and 10% narrow check fabric, for example, will sit together in a more pleasing way.” She suggests interspersing prints with solids and neutrals. “Calming anchor points will ground a mismatched scheme and, more importantly, give your eyes a break! So whether it’s a neutral bedspread set against a bright patterned headboard and cushions, or a solid colour on the walls behind a patterned sofa with a mismatched footstool, these moments of rest are crucial.”

Always consider the proportions of your room. A small print is not the best idea for a small room. Trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger by choosing a large scale print rather than a ditsy floral. If you’re stuck for inspiration then go to the classics, Paisley print, toile du Jouy and William Morris designs and explore which shapes, textures and colours appeal.

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