With her new book Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home, Homepolish asked textile and product designer Rebecca Atwood about how to incorporate pattern into the home.
I’m Rebecca Atwood, a home textile and product designer living in Brooklyn and author of the new book Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home. I believe in creating beautiful designs that can effortlessly be mixed and matched so that you can create inspired, unique, and imagined spaces that represent your story. And I’ll be teaching you how to do it in a 4-part series.
The most inspiring homes I’ve been to are personal. They speak to the unique tastes of the people who live there, and they often have unexpected moments—a vintage china collection on top of a colorful Eames credenza, a room painted a soft meadow green with trim in a slightly softer version, or a bold graphic headboard with a mixture of children’s artwork and a Victorian painting hung above it. These individual choices, interests explored, and pieces collected over time create a home.
Pattern is a design element that can seem intimidating, but it’s actually one of the best ways to share your point of view and unique story. Your home should be a reflection of who you are, where you’ve been, how you see the world, and even where you want to go. Pattern is your tool for telling that story—and it doesn’t have to be bold and overwhelming to be just as distinctive as you are. It can be quiet, serene, joyful, mysterious, historical, modern, and even humorous. To get you started, I’ll share some of my top tips for pattern mixing. For more, don’t forget to check out my new book Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home.
Pick a Palette
Color has the ability to drastically change the mood of a space. New to pattern? Keep the color palette tight to unite different styles and opt for tonal and textural prints. A monochromatic color palette always works. If you want something bolder, start with one colored design and pull out the other colors from within this print.
Switch up the Scale
You’ll get the most interest if you change up the scale of the prints you mix—it helps move your eye around the space. Start with an assortment of large-, mid-, and small-scale prints. Use bigger prints on areas you want to draw the eye and smaller prints on areas you want to recede in space. Smaller prints can actually act as texture when read from a distance.
About 40-60% of the room should be patterned, while the rest should be made up of solids, textures, and material differences. If the whole room was patterned, it could be overwhelming! While there are always exceptions to the rules, keep your foundation textural and add pattern as accessories when starting out. Once you know what you love go for a statement, like a patterned sofa, if that’s what your heart desires! Everyone falls on a spectrum of true minimalist to a more-is-more maximalist. Figuring out what feels like the perfect balance to you is important, and requires a bit of experimentation.
Tell Your Story
Remember to have fun! Pattern is the best tool for telling your story. If you love it, you can make it work! If you find a piece that you really can’t stop thinking about, go back through the basics above to figure out how to make it work in your space. Remember that patterns create a conversation with one another, so if you have a floral you want to use but alone it feels too feminine consider what the mix can do. How does it look with a bold stripe, a plaid, or an eighties inspired geometric? Or what about mixing it with an African mud cloth? Find the pieces that speak to you and play around with them until the balance is right.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be back to share my tips for bringing pattern into the bedroom, dining and kitchen, and finally the bathroom. Want more? My book is 288 pages full of inspiration, tips, and projects!