There is a great pattern and colour revolution sweeping through our homes and it shows no sign of abating. Today’s interiors are dominated by vibrant shades and big, brave prints – even IKEA, founders of the anti-pattern ‘chuck out your chintz’ campaign, has had a re-think and launched a range of unashamedly patterned interior textiles. It seems that the look’s pioneers – people such as Designer’s Guild founder Tricia Guild, fashion-turned wallpaper and fabric designer Neisha Crosland and America’s queen of florals Kim Parker – were right to hold fast to their passion for pattern.
Today’s passion for pattern can now be found on almost every element in the home – from tableware (Missoni’s vivid swirls of colour, funky florals and stripes led the way, the likes of Jasper Conran followed with his Chinoiserie and candy colours for Wedgwood) to wallpaper (the rejuvenation of Sixties’ Australian designer Florence Broadhurst’s archive of patterns kicked off the trend; fashion designer Julien MacDonald’s vivid paisley, chandelier and fern fronds prints for Graham & Brown caused a sensation, as did Osborne & Little’s Japanese-inspired chrysanthemum prints). Clarissa Hulse has brought dark, sexy florals back to bedlinen and Dulux have pioneered luminescent neon hues in its paints for a dazzling effect. Even usually understated Italian furniture company Moroso has had a vibrant lift of pattern with Marcel Wanders’ patchwork ‘Print’ sofa and stools.
Total immersion – that is, full-on colour and wall-to-wall print – is the current hot trend and although it’s not a look for the minimal at heart, all-over pattern is surprisingly easy to live with so long as you go for big, graphic designs (they look cleaner and far more modern than traditional small floral prints) and limit your colour scheme to one base shade and a couple of contrasting accent tones. However, if such whole hearted adoption of the look doesn’t appeal here are four, more subtle ways to inject some colour and print into your home:
Wild on Walls, Simple on the Rest
Painting or papering a single wall in a show-stopping colour or print is a great way to get the look. Choose the most visible wall in the room (fireplace walls are ideal) and paint the rest in a neutral tonal shade. Stick to plain furniture and furnishings in the same neutral shades and use texture to add visual interest – think knitted cushions on a
linen sofa or sumptuous silk curtains against a polished wooden floor.
Invest in a single, unashamedly bold piece of furniture such as a flamboyant sofa, vibrant table or statement light and make it the focus of the room by keeping all walls and other furniture neutral. If your statement piece is a plain colour then papering the walls in a subtle pattern would give the room added depth and interest.
The quickest, simplest way to inject some on-trend colour and print into a plain interior is to have fun in colour and print with accessories. Pile cushions in clashing colours and prints onto sofas, beds and armchairs, add a pile of coloured mugs and patterned plates to your kitchen shelves, swap that understated bedspread for something with a pulse-quickening print and glam up your lamps with some bold new shades in big floral or geometric prints.
A striking floor can really lift a space. Keep furniture, walls and woodwork neutral and make the most of the current trend for vibrantly-hued, vividly-patterned rugs: try a beautiful patterned or stripy runner in a long, thin hallway (the smaller the pattern the larger the space appears) or use several richly coloured rugs to define the different zones in a large, open plan space. But there are plenty of other options. For example, consider laying a vibrantly coloured rubber floor or some fabulous patterned tiles in the bathroom and kitchen. Or simply paint the floorboards in your favourite shade.
Charlotte Abrahams September 4th, 2009
Posted In: Top Tips