Pattern is more than just a point of interest or an aspect of style: it’s one of the fundamental elements of design. As humans, our eyes are naturally drawn to order and repetition—in a tumultuous world, patterns provide the pleasure of orderliness.

When it comes to décor, patterns add complexity and dimension to our interiors and have the power to instantly set the tone and mood in a space. They’re also a creative way to express personal taste. Whether your style is bold and sophisticated or bright and informal, here’s the case for bringing more patterns into your life.

Add Depth and Drama
Nothing adds a vitality to a room quicker than an eye-catching pattern. Large, geometric tiles used as a backsplash or on the floor dial up a room’s energy. Concerned about whether a bold pattern will work in your space? It’s advisable to use large patterns in large spaces and smaller patterns in enclosed spaces to avoid an overwhelming effect. But that’s not a steadfast rule: the laundry room above throws caution to the wind and embraces all sides of the pattern spectrum to create an immersive experience.

Take Cues from Nature
Introducing patterns is a direct route to achieving a specific aesthetic. Farmhouse accents and ‘cottagecore’ details are increasing in popularity this year due to a nostalgia for simpler times. These homier trends come to life by using pastoral prints—think chintz, toile, and florals—natural materials, and handcrafted trinkets. If you’re looking to satisfy wanderlust, another trend for 2021 aims to bring the outdoors inside with nature-inspired patterns featuring palm trees, tropical fruits, or sea motifs.

Mix and Match
Layering patterns within a single space can have an appealing outcome when done correctly—but can be a challenge to get right. The trick to successful pattern mixing is to make sure there’s one element that remains consistent, no matter how subtle. That might mean working with various sizes of the same pattern—large and small geometric shapes, for example—or using a common color scheme to tie the patterns together.

Not sure where to start? One piece of advice when mixing and matching is to place the largest and boldest pattern on the floor, whether that’s a rug or tiles, and then incorporate additional patterned elements such as throw pillows, blankets, and artwork until you reach the desired effect.

Choose Patterns That Bring You Joy
At the end of the day, the number one rule when it comes to choosing patterns is that there are no rules. If a particular pattern brings you immediate personal joy, whether that’s a wild leopard print or precise Art Deco design, you can find a way to make it work—after all, it’s your home. You only need to impress yourself.

Thoughtfully adding patterns is an effective way to update a room and can take as much or as little effort as you have time to invest. If you’re looking for a quick and easy room refresh, amplifying patterns can be as simple as swapping in a rug, papering an accent wall, or choosing accessories with motifs that speak to you. Ultimately, pattern is a design essential that’s meant to be played with: season your rooms as you would any good meal, with the pattern flavors that suit your taste.


This article was originally published on Sotheby’s International Realty’s Extraordinary Living Blog and has been adapted for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s Insight Blog. 


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