Okay, let’s talk about something pretty this morning. We love beautiful textiles, but it’s not always easy to mix and match them. How do you get that striking look at home? Brooklyn-based designer Rebecca Atwood recently published her first book, Living with Pattern. Here, she recommends seven ways to bring pattern into your space…
1. Start with mugs. Mugs are the perfect place to start with pattern. It’s are also a nice way to own a piece by a ceramicist you love if bigger pieces are out of your budget. When I was growing up, my family often went to a breakfast spot where all the mugs were different; I like to think of choosing your own special pieces as an elevated version of this. I love things by Helen Levi, Jeremy Ayers and Recreation Center.
2. Choose small scale patterns. If you’re pattern shy, smaller prints are a great way to begin, because from a distance they’ll read as texture. They can be geometric, abstract, floral — really any type of design as long as they’re small in scale and have even coverage. Think of them as your foundation.
3. Color is key. I like to think of patterns in a room as friends. They all have their own personalities, but a common thread brings them together — like color. You can also use color to unite different patterns that might otherwise seem like they wouldn’t go together. If you’re new to playing with pattern, but have your heart set on a multi-colored scheme, try to base it off of one multi-colored piece (artwork, a pillow, etc.) and pull out the individual colors.
4. In the bedroom, try patterned sheets. If you have a solid duvet, the pattern will be visible in only a small amount when the bed is made. If you’re unsure, buy the pillowcases first and make sure you love the pattern. I love bedding from Matteo and Kiska.
5. Mix and match to create the mood. Patterns can push and pull each other to create a different vibe. Mixing a floral with a bold geometric print can make it feel less sweet, mixing it with an embroidered Mexican Ótomi textile can make it more joyful, and mixing it with a paisley can make it feel more traditional. Start with the pieces that you can’t stop thinking about and then build out from there.
6. Use pattern for practicality. Patterns hide dirt better than solids. Use them to cover areas that may get dirty quickly and make them feel more refined all at the same time. Think about tiled floors, rugs, seat cushions and even your bathmat.
7. Remember, pattern doesn’t have to be bold. It can be quiet, happy, bookish, historical, celebratory, even mysterious. Etsy and eBay can be great resources for textiles specific to a certain culture or time period. Some terms to try searching for include: Ótomi, Bògòlanfini, shibori, sashiko, suzani, bloc print and ikat.