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  • Cherry Narang

Decorate with Patterns Like a Pro: 5 Expert Tips

Designer: Carolina Irving

Pattern play is the interior designer’s secret weapon, that can transform your space from ordinary into extraordinary. It’s true. Patterns can heighten our experience of the space, giving it a district character, edge, and personality. To put it simply, patterns make everything look interesting, fascinating, and sensational.

Think you have to be an interior designer to dabble in pattern play? A little intimidated to try and decorate with patterns in your own home? Think again! These simple yet transformational design tips will take your decorating game to a whole new level.


The aesthetic of your home is informed by the things that bring you joy, please the eye, and create an overall soothing environment. Whether your vibe is county chic, laid-back bohemian, or carefree coastal, you’ll find unique patterns in any category of design styles. Choose the type of pattern that aligns with the overall theme and style of your space. While damask drapes and floral upholstered chairs in muted pink would work well in the classic English interior – if that’s your cup of tea, geometric patterns with clean lines might be better suited in a more modern space.

Designer: Madcap Cottage


When you decorate with patterns, the rule of thumb is to consider the size of your space. In a smaller room, use patterns sparingly, strategically utilizing the negative space around it. If your pattern is complex with intricate design and contrasting colors, stick to a feature wall as your main canvas. Large-scale patterns can take the center stage in the larger rooms.



There is a bit of an art and science in mixing and matching patterns like a pro. To deliver a punch, follow these tried and true strategies:

  • Layer as many as two to five patterns in the same room

  • Make sure your patterns range in scale, style, and color

  • Borrow colors from one pattern and repeat it in another

  • Use patterns that share similar hues and colors

  • Pepper in solids to neutralize the overall look and give the eye a bit of a break

  • Consider balance: if you use prominent patterns in one spot, sprinkle in a similar style of the pattern in another part of the room

Designer: Tommy Smythe and Lindsay Mens Craig, Sarah Richardson Design


Here’s a little textbook trick to welcome you to the pattern party. The classic and timeless 60-30-10 rule is a game-changer! It’ll help you achieve visual interest and balance when using different patterns.

Here’s the gist of it: Your 60 percent is the dominant pattern – your walls, rug, or sofa that serve as the backdrop in your design scheme. Your 30 percent is the secondary pattern. Make it distinct enough from the main pattern to strike a contrast and use only half as much as your main pattern. Think curtains, side chairs, or smaller furniture pieces. And your 10 percent is your accent pattern – that’s where the real party starts! Think accent pillows, artwork, and smaller décor accessories. Go big and bold or accentuate the underplayed tones from other patterns.

Designer: Sarah Vaile


Fashion and interior design are often taking cues from one another. In recent years, some of the biggest fashion brands have crossed over to the other side to launch their own line of interior design products. Create your own fashion influenced aesthetic by borrowing elements and principles from these fashion moguls. Think Gucci whimsical Toile de Jouy floral wallpaper inspired by a vintage fabric.

Desginer: Sarah Gilbane


As intimidating as it may be, go off the beaten path and recognize that patterns aren’t just for accent pillows. Think bigger and bolder.

Consider the focal point in your space. Every room in your home does in fact have a single focal point. Think of yours in your home - places that draw your eyes immediately upon entry.

Designer: Abbe Fenimore, Studio Ten 25

Here are just some of them:

  • Foyer

  • Passageway

  • Fireplace in the family room

  • Accent wall in your dining room

  • Coffered ceiling in the kitchen above the island

  • Built-in shelving unit

  • Artwork

  • Furniture pieces that acts as an anchor in your interior

These could all serve as focal points. Embellish your focal points with a splash of bold geometric patterns, incorporate dynamic lines, play around with organic prints like vines, and leaves or utilize vibrant florals. The energy of these patterns can stimulate the eye and hold our attention longer, lingering on the minds of our dazed visitors.

Designer: Pierce & Ward

While we are game for occasional rule-breaking when creating jaw-dropping interiors that burst with patterns, certain design principles withstand the test of time. Experiment with these simple design tricks when you decorate with patterns and your pattern-clad space will be the talk of the town. As a Principal Designer at the full-service design firm Cereza Design, Cherry frequently and seamlessly interjects unique patterns into her clients’ elegant interiors. Reach out to Cherry to book your in-home consultation.

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