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Creating an inviting home design can start with many different elements — bold paint colors, custom-designed furniture, dramatic lighting — but for interior designer Sara Gilbane, it all starts with pattern, and a lot of it. “Patterns give the eye a place to go,” she says. “And mixing them with a great color palette gives a snapshot of someone’s personality.”
Known for creating homes with a well-traveled, lived-in elegance, Gilbane says that layering in patterns is a fundamental part of that style. Whether it’s a striped headboard against paisley wallpaper or a floral-printed club chair with geometric pillows in coordinating hues, Gilbane has just the right ideas to get the look with confidence. But using pattern in your home design can be tricky and one can easily go overboard. To prevent you from doing so, here’s how to mix patterns in your home.
Coordinate the colors.
“An easy way to approach mixing patterns is to start with a multicolor design as the jumping-off point and then select additional pops of color from that fabric,” says Gilbane. “You do not need to match each color represented, however. What makes it interesting is the slightly off-kilter additions you bring in.”
Use accessories to add interest.
“You are not finished at just the fabrics,” Gilbane notes. “Ribbon, cord, fringe, and bobbles are options that shouldn’t be overlooked. Ribbon can be used as strapping on club chairs, accents on pillows to break up solids, or details on curtains. All of these little things create more interest.”
Vary the sizes.
“If you go all out and implement a large-scale patterned sofa, add a few solid pillows, along with small-scale patterned pillows, to break it up,” she says. “If you use a rug with a large pattern, it allows you to introduce a small-scale design on chairs or a solid sofa with patterned pillows. It is difficult to put two similar-looking patterns next to each other in a space, so I suggest mixing the scale and keeping the tones similar.”
Blend geometrics with floral.
“To cut the sweetness of the flowers, add in strong geometrics,” Gilbane says. “Again, scale is important, and if you go with a large-scale floral, bring in some smaller geometric prints if they are sitting right next to one another.”
Mix up textures.
“Texture plays an important role in creating a warm, layered look. A solid linen sofa can have a woven throw, a pair of velvet pillows, a floral chintz, and a silk pillow all happily coexisting together,” she says. “It’s important to note that you shouldn’t upholster everything in a room, either. Letting wood, metal, shagreen, and leather show is helpful in terms of breaking up the look and keeping it feeling fresh rather than dated.”
Now you can use the tips of interior design expert Sara Gilbane for decoration of a chic pattern-on-pattern abode.
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