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Design Tips

Pattern      next... 1 [2] [3]

Try not to mix too many patterns in one room, but also try and avoid a fully co-ordinated look or your room will end up looking like a shop! Remember, small patterns or self-patterned fabrics work extremely well with larger scale prints or weaves.

Where to begin

The strong colours on the fabrics and carpet in this study are placed against a cream wall toning down the overall scheme and accentuating the depth of colour.

Plain fabrics with this depth of colour would be more difficult to work with. These small and large checked fabrics are from different fabric ranges and have totally different textures. Bear in mind that different textures in a room always provide additional interest.

If you have no alternative but to use a lot of pattern in fabrics or floor coverings, then try to stick to a plain background in terms of the wall covering, or perhaps use a plain sofa as a backdrop if you have a lot of different patterned cushions.

TIP: If you choose a bold design either on a fabric or a wall covering, then tone down the scheme by using some plain weaves as well. I find that plain fabrics are always a good backdrop for both contemporary and traditional pieces.

When working with patterns, you should always choose them together. If you are nervous about using large prints or weaves, but still want to use pattern, then go for something with a much smaller pattern repeat. Certainly, placing a very large print on a sofa can be a mistake particularly if the pattern is designed to be used one way up. When you turn your cushions to distribute the wear, that pattern will be upside down! A check, stripe or small self-pattern is a better bet.

Checks and stripes

Checks and stripes are so exciting to experiment with. They look stunning standing alone, but work equally well with one another and with plain fabrics. They also complement floral or other ‘busy’ patterned prints.

Checked and striped fabrics are very popular at the moment. Ian Mankin offers a very comprehensive range of striped fabrics in different textures. If you are not up to making your own soft furnishings, then K A International have produced an interesting range of cushions using their striped fabrics.

Neutral tones create a cool and calming atmosphere as illustrated by the window treatments and accessories used in a guest room.

TIP: Using various widths of neutral stripes can work well together, producing interesting effects. Try lifting a neutral theme with a splash of shocking pink or aquamarine!

TIP: Striped fabrics applied to roller or roman blinds and stiff pelmets enhance the already tailored look achieved with these types of window treatments

more > Click here for top tips on using striped and checked fabrics on cushions and other accessories




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