Finding Harmony in Home Decorating Patterns
I just happen to be one of those people who like to do everything myself, or, let me rephrase that: I like to do the fun stuff, then pass the technical on to my husband (much to his dismay!). I figure if I don’t know how to do it now, give me time, some websites, magazines, videos, whatever…and I can learn just enough to do some damage.
The Day I Adopted Wallpaper
Such was the case in the early-90s when I decided to wallpaper the dining room. Might I add that nothing is more permanent than wallpaper applied directly to knockdown textured drywall. I might as well had graffiti-doodled directly on the wall with a sharpie…in fact, after I was done, I wished I had.
Two patterns – one with a large, shimmery brushed watercolor pastel, the second, a blue and mauve country floral. The first on the top half of the room, the second on the bottom, divided by a chair rail. Honestly, the colors actually did work; when I pulled them out of the sale bins, they seemed to go well together. But I didn’t roll them out – there were no samples to take home, no way to juxtapose the two. Hell – I liked them, they were on sale, we needed a change, the colors were en vogue. Sold. Happily loaded into the car like two cute little stray dogs. Simpatico.
Country Floral vs Blonde Bombshell Boudoir
That’s where any harmony collapsed into complete and utter discord; the cute little stray dogs had a territorial brawl on the wall and in the uproar and bloodshed, truce was drawn and one had to go.
Of the two home decorating patterns, I preferred the country floral; the seams didn’t take though, so it was pulled, the half-wall retextured and painted. As my husband so aptly put it, our dining room thereafter looked like Loni Anderson’s boudoir.
So where am I going with this? There’s a moral to this story, several, actually. But let me pick the most important:
Some rules can be broken, but doesn’t it make sense to know the rules FIRST?!
Some Rules Were Never Made To Be Broken
Hence, the rules of mixing home decorating patterns, and how I painfully broke almost all of them.
- Incorporate small, medium and large patterns… Vary the pattern scale. I broke this rule. Yep.
- Repeat fabric color at least once elsewhere in the room. I think I barely followed this one.
- Mix types of patterns – dots with gingham, or stripes and florals. I thought I followed this, but it ended up broken.
- View any wall pattern or texture (the complete pattern) from ten feet away before slapping it on the wall. Broken, big time.
- Scale down the size of the wall pattern a notch from bedding or upholstery. I didn’t even consider this. I would never have picked those florals, because the chair upholstery was an ecru and tan striped weave. So…broken.
- At least one color should be shared amongst the patterns, like the same neutral background color. Background colors didn’t match, but some shared colors, so followed. Barely.
- Incorporate a predominant color into the fabric from existing fixtures (carpet, wall, etc.). Nope. Broken.
- Inject places in the room for solids, to separate the patterns and ease the eye. Followed, only after I stripped the opposing pattern and painted half the room a solid color. So… Broken.
And if you’d like to know more about this technique, see my blog post Interior Decorating Basics: 5 Rules For A Successful Decor Project. It’s called “rhythm”, and it matters. Boy, does it matter…
What patterns do you like to combine? Which ones drive you CRAZY? Share your preferences below!
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