7 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

7 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

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…

7 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

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.

7 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

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.

7 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

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 Ways To Bring Pattern Into Your Home

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.

Rebecca Atwood

Thank you, Rebecca! A few more pretty pattern destinations: Fog Linen, Jenny Pennywood, Josef Frank and of course Rebecca herself.

P.S. 15 tips for living in a small space.

(Photos courtesy of Rebecca Atwood. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. Brooks says...

    I would love to know the paint color in the dining area

  2. Lovely post! I use colours and patterns in cushions, trays and small details like ceramics, vases, kitchenware, art etc. Otherwise the basis is pure Scandinavian; white walls and white/black/wooden surfaces and furniture. The small items are easy to exchange if you change your mind. If you want to see how we in Scandinavia typically furnish with patterns, I often post examples of that on my interior blog. :) I adore the patterns of Josef Frank, which you also mentioned above. Hugs!

  3. Jam says...

    I love that brown shirt! I know it’s off topic, but where is it from? Would be perfect for my work. <3

    • Hi Jam,

      I got it at a local shop in Brooklyn called Bird a year or so ago. I don’t remember the designer’s name.

      Thank you,

  4. When I work with clients, adding patterns can be tricky, so here’s what I usually tell them. Linear patterns, like stripes, are easier for the eye to read than florals or paisleys (anything with movement). They’re a good first step into pattern. Also, monotone patterns are good for this-an abstract in different tones of blue is easier to work in than the same print in 4 different colors. Also, with color, anything you see a lot of in nature is more natural. So blues, greens, tans are easier than brighter colors.


  5. Thanks so much for linking to my shop in Tip #7 (Bogolanfini). Great article! Xo

  6. hi there – for the green floor in the kids room is that carpet or paint or tile?

  7. Lynnette says...

    Can you share where the blue chair came from in the first? It looks so inviting and cozy!

    • Hi there! I am pretty positive it’s something they reupholstered. Finding a vintage chair and picking out your own fabric for it is such a great way to customize something to your tastes–and make a statement.

  8. Mary says...

    Love this! Thank you for the inspiration ❤️

  9. Jasmine Davis says...

    Love the twin bed frames! Where are they from?

    • Aren’t they beautiful? These bed frames were vintage pieces purchased in South Caroline.

  10. Wow, I really enjoyed looking at the list of different traditional pattern names at the end. Something new and beautiful to learn about! I loved the suzani, and am already really interested in shibori….I want to do my own indigo dyeing!

  11. Erin says...

    Wonderful and informative post! Thanks! Do you know where the dining table in the first image is from? Love it!

    • I don’t know, but I’d try searching for farm tables.

  12. Suzanne says...

    Thank you! I am having trouble decorating my living room. I started black and white striped rug and think I failed. Maybe with these tips and picking her book might get me on track.

  13. Thank you for connecting my work to your Shibori link.
    Louise ☺️

  14. Laura says...

    Can you share who makes the artwork in the top image? Thank you!

    • That’s by Wayne Pate and it’s actually his kitchen/dining space.

  15. Love this! We have a very minimalist vibe going on in our new place, and I can’t wait to dress it up with some patterned accents. Will definitely keep these tips in mind (esp the coffee mug one – I’m such a sucker for coffee mugs).

    Christina | http://www.cuddlepill.com

  16. Thank you for featuring Studio Pillows! I really do appreciate it. Big hug from Austin. XO – Karis

  17. Kelly says...

    I’ve admired Rebecca’s designs for eons, she seems like a a beautiful person inside and out. Thanks for featuring.

  18. I love this post! I just picked up her book yesterday and I’m already in love. Excellent tips, too!

  19. Marie says...

    maybe I just need a laugh, but I found it hilarious that she’s wearing a solid shirt in her portrait photo haha.

    • Patricia says...

      me too!

    • Mikaela says...

      But that subtle peek of patterned piping at the collar, it’s definitely a sweet detail.

  20. Keah says...

    Just started her book, so excited :)

  21. Cynthia says...

    We have the Blue Danube dishes! My mother-in-law gave them to us when she moved into an assisted living facility. I love them. We have some blue patterned plates which blend nicely with the Blue Danube. I have love seats with patterned upholstery and my valances have shadow stripes which blend with the love seats. It all comes together nicely. I like color in my house.

  22. I love the search terms she provided, I learned something today!

  23. Sue says...

    One of the most educational decor posts. Thanks for providing the names of specific pattern types to search. I’ve already found a few pillows on Etsy that I’m eyeing. It’s so hard to create that right blend of serenity with pattern but this post nailed it.

  24. Thank you so much for having me! I’m honored to be on your site.

  25. Martha says...

    Random, but I really love that shirt!

  26. Wonderful tips! I’m the type of person who’s not really “afraid” of pattern but can definitely be nervous about it at times. Specifically, when it comes to one’s living space. I don’t want to choose the wrong piece, make the space look to busy and be stuck with it for at least the next 6 months. Being a some-what practical minimalist I love tips 2, 4, and 6! Especially 6! :D With these tips I feel like I could choose pieces more confidently! Great post! :D

  27. Maria says...

    I’ve been really inspired by Rebecca’s prints so I did something unlike me, as a minimalist. A soft dye-dyed pink linen shower curtain.

    The bathroom feels so luxurious now! I feel like Marie Antoinette, and my bathroom is a windowless, chandelierless 60’s mess.

  28. I am such a fan of Rebecca’s! I’m excited to see her work becoming so well known. Thanks for the advice!

  29. The tip on search terms is very helpful!

    I’ve been searching for the perfect ikat pillow for a while, but after looking into shibori textiles I think I have found a better match for my living room!

  30. home and design posts are my favorite!! And I love rebecca atwood so double thanks for this post this morning! :-D

  31. Lena says...

    Love this!
    Who is the green background, blue lines painting of a face in the top photo by?

    • That’s Wayne Pate!

  32. I love this! When we were designing our home, we went for a modern look but wanted it to be comfy and fun for our twin girls. I kept the walls a light grey with white trim. To bring in color and fun, we got a Roche Bobois stacked cushion modular sofa in varying Missoni patterns. Each cushion has a different fun fabric with all the colors of the rainbow. The girls love it!

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea