If you’ve ever yearned to make your home more stylish with patterned fabrics then you’re in the right place. At Linwood we’re clearly big fans of pattern, with any number of beautiful designs in myriad colours to choose from. However, the sheer range of options is almost the problem – where do you start? The right patterns can bring energy and impact to your interior design, but how do you strike a balance between creating visual interest and an unwelcome assault on the senses? Read on. We’ve got a whole host of tips and ideas to demonstrate how patterned fabric can quite simply transform a room by adding more than a dash of character and style.
Choosing the perfect patterns for your space
Start by considering the ambience you want to create in the room – will the mood be high energy or relaxation? Is it a space for formal entertaining or quiet family time? The patterns and colours you select will help to dictate this. Interior designers recommend considering pattern from the moment you start planning your scheme, as it’s far easier to find a paint colour to blend with your patterns than the other way around. You should also make sure you view your chosen swatches of fabric or wallpaper in the room itself to see how they react to the light at different times of day, just as you would with paint samples.
A great way to approach the process is by choosing a hero design, perhaps a large-scale pattern, then selecting one or two others with smaller designs or a stripe. So, this might mean a headboard or window dressing in your dominant pattern and throw pillows in the smaller scale ones. A good example is seen here with Small Prints Leap Frog in Meadow (blinds), Maze in Ochre (larger throw pillows), and Fortune Teller in Cornflower (smaller ones) and Honey (bolster). There is no hard and fast rule, but generally mixing patterns of more than three designs will overwhelm the room. Use colour to unite the different fabrics or a recurring motif, which could be something as simple as a shape or curved lines in an abstract pattern rather than a distinct image.
There are so many wonderful globally-inspired patterns to choose from that it would be shame not to embrace the eclectic look they can help you to create. By layering up a variety of different prints and colours you can create a gloriously vibrant and energising living space. Our Khiva design in Grass colourway is a perfect case in point. Inspired by traditional Uzbekistan hand-block-printed fabric, Khiva is digitally printed on linen and works equally well for upholstery and window dressings. Team with plain painted walls in vivid colours to bring even more life to the scheme – we love Edward Bulmer’s (anything but!) Invisible Green – and mix in accent pillows, such as Juno in the brilliant and bold Dandelion colourway. Note also that contrasting textures add to the bohemian vibe – here rustic jute flooring both looks good and feels great under bare feet.
Scandi-inspired interior design often focuses on natural wood and all-white interiors, but there is also a lot of colour in the Scandinavian palette, albeit shades found in nature. It’s no surprise, therefore, that these tones work well on a floral pattern, as demonstrated so beautifully in our Les Fauves wallpaper in Emerald colourway with its mix of soft greys, greens and blues. These lush interlocking leaves and flowers make a brilliant backdrop to a simple white basin, as shown, or would look equally at home behind a sofa and cushions upholstered in bright solid-colour fabrics. The Les Fauves design can also be found on four matt velvet designs.
Nothing is more elegant than a neutral-toned scheme, but neutral doesn’t have to mean plain. Incorporating damask-patterned upholstery and curtains in similar shades but different patterns will create a look that is both sophisticated and timeless. It can also bring subtly different textures to your interiors, which adds yet another point of interest. This bedroom features a canopy, headboard and cushions in two highly complementary but contrasting designs in four colourways. For the fabulous canopy and smaller cushions, the larger scale French-style stripe of Arcadia Arley Golden and Arley Wheat Field provides the perfect backdrop to the headboard and smaller cushions. These are upholstered and covered in Ashfield, its geometric pattern an ideal foil for the classic Arley (and seen in Marigold and Maize). However, with such sumptuously patterned fabrics at the head, it had to be plain linen on the rest of the bed!
If you crave an upgrade for the upholstery on your sofas and chairs, nothing will add a contemporary touch better than changing up a plain fabric for one featuring geometric patterns. Don’t just swap a matching suite for matching designs, either, choose different patterns to create interest and add personality to your scheme. The beauty of a geometric design is that its clean lines will prevent the upholstery appearing fussy, even when you have contrasting fabrics. The small-scale patterns shown here are a great case in point. On the armchair, we’ve chosen Fortune Teller linen in Flurry colourway and selected Magic Lantern in Sea Holly for the sofa. You can see how well the two fabrics work together, as Fortune Teller has also been used for the cushions on the sofa, including in an additional colourway. Take a look at the full range of Small Prints fabrics to see how you might mix patterns together in your interior design.
Velvet brings a luxurious and lush feel to upholstery in a way that no other fabric does. Add a floral pattern and rich jewel tones into the mix and you have a sublimely romantic ambience as well. For true glamour, look no further than Linwood’s Louis Velvet in Rich Red, which has given a sprinkling of star quality to this humble sofa. It’s all the decoration required in this living room, where plain walls in a deep shade of heritage blue provide a backdrop. Without wishing to inject too much practicality into this romantic scene, however, it’s worth noting that a polyester velvet like this one is a sensible choice for sofas. This is because it is designed to resemble the look and feel of more expensive cotton velvet but is particularly hard-wearing and durable. We have a wide range of polyester velvets in the Linwood collections, so you’re bound to find one to suit both your sofa and your intended mood.
Anything that puts the sea in our minds is certain to promote a feeling of wellbeing, particularly when you choose a coastal-inspired fabric to dress your windows. Breezy, striped curtains in soft blue and white tones will create a serene beach-inspired ambiance that brings long summer holidays to mind. If you’re only looking to use one pattern in the room, however, make it one that really pops, such as The Wave in Mineral velvet. These dramatic waves are more reminiscent of the sea on a stormier day and will give your soft furnishings real impact.
It’s well known that connecting with nature gives us a feeling of calm. So what could be more restful for your interiors than bringing the beauty of the outdoors inside? Think leaves and flowers in natural greens, browns and dark blues, with the occasional pop of red or pink that remind you of the garden beyond the window. Botanical patterns not only tick that box, but also turn upholstery or curtains into a stunning focal point. This loveseat is an eye-catching example, upholstered in Lumen velvet from the Wild Life collection, a stylised wisteria design seen here in Metallic colourway. It would look great placed in a kitchen window or tucked into the corner of a dining room, creating a little oasis of calm. Simply team with plain walls and an understated floor covering to allow it to shine.
Interior designers deliberately mix a range of patterns, materials and objets when creating an eclectic boho scheme. The idea is to bring together different influences and cultures to create something completely new, but it’s a fine balance and a room can quickly feel overwhelmed with clutter if you don’t know what you’re doing. One way to embrace a touch of boho is to add in vibrant and intricate Moroccan-inspired patterned drapes. It will inject a sense of global charm and warmth into a space without running the risk of it competing with other elements in the room. Making a feature of this alcove is our Rubia linen in Ochre colourway from the Bibi collection, showcasing a stylised floral motif.
It’s clear that patterned fabrics and wallpapers have the power to help you express your personality through your interiors. Please don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns, because only then will you find both your own and your home’s unique style. Take us with you on your pattern journey and share the results – we love seeing all the ways our fabrics are used in your homes!
For anyone who feels like they need a touch more guidance, we’ve got even more expert advice on using patterns from an interior designer who specialises in creating spaces with layers of texture and pattern. Catch up on our pattern masterclass with Peter Grech of The SpaceMaker. For everyone else, hopefully you’re now more than ready to embrace the transformative impact of patterns. Your interiors will thank you for it.