HOW TO MIX
PATTERNS AND SOLIDS
DESIGN TIPS FROM A TRI POINTE EXPERT
When it comes to interior design, you know what you love—the colors, the patterns, the artwork that reflect your style and personality. Well, you know you love when you see it all put together. It seems we all (non-professional lovers of good design) could use a little guidance to be able to pull it off ourselves. That’s where TRI Pointe’s Design Tips series comes in. We’re tapping into our favorite resources for tips and tricks for achieving that model-perfect dream.
This month we interviewed Alicia Turner of Design Tec, an interior design firm in Newport Beach, California, for her take on how to add patterns and solids in materials throughout the home to achieve your personal style.
For starters, we learned that the amount of pattern in a home can help define the mood. Little to no pattern can be used to create a serene neutral background. The effect can be serious and sophisticated. Variety is added through texture, furniture silhouettes, and impact artwork. For a more playful space, patterns can be used to create energy and personality.
Ready to give it a try? Follow along for seven seriously style-filled tips from Alicia!
TIP #1: CHOOSE AN INSPIRATION PATTERN
“When we start with models, we usually begin with a fabric that suggests a specific genre or theme,” says Alicia Turner, Director of Design Development and Marketing for Design Tec. “But a homebuyer doesn’t always have access to showrooms, so their starting point could be anything they find they love. It’s often personality-driven.” You can choose a small piece for inspiration. As Turner explains, it’s something that you’re going to build upon. Keep your large pieces neutral, and let your patterns play off of your inspiration.
TIP #2: A LITTLE PATTERN GOES A LONG WAY
Pattern is most successful and most effective in small doses, like decorative pillows, or on a small upholstered chair or ottoman. Large upholstery pieces should be the neutral background for color and accent patterns.
“For large, higher-priced purchases that will live with you for a while like a sofa, choose a solid,” Turner says. “Patterned pillows can be changed with the season or updated for a fresh look without spending a lot of money.”
TIP #3: USE ONLY ONE MAJOR PATTERN STATEMENT PER ROOM
Choose either an impact print on bedding, an area rug or drapery, but not all three. The same goes for using patterned wall paint or coverings. For example, if you choose a dominant wall covering design for a bedroom wall, use mostly solids for bedding. “Too much of a good thing can go sideways and can feel busy,” Turner says.
TIP #4: ALTERNATE SCALE OF PATTERNS USED TOGETHER
Gotta have more than one pattern? Then Turner recommends choosing one dominant pattern and selecting a smaller scale or a different kind of pattern to complement. For example, choose a bold, geometric print as your main pattern, and pair it with a complementary, smaller-scale stripe or multi-texture.
“If the scale is too similar, all of the patterns will fight for attention and none of them will feel special to you,” Turner explains. “One should always be dominant, and the others should support and complement.”
TIP #5: USE NATURAL MATERIALS FOR PATTERN, TOO
When it comes to pattern, natural materials can be the star of a room’s design. Maybe it’s a beautiful marble slab with a lot of movement on a kitchen backsplash or a fireplace face that should become the focal point. “There are no rules against using natural materials to enhance the look of a home,” Turner says.
TIP #6: CREATE YOUR OWN PATTERN
You can do this almost anywhere: in backsplashes or showers with mosaic or different shaped tiles. Accent paint stripes and shapes are also ways to create a unique design or pattern. Colored carpet squares or tiles can create a pattern in a playroom or gym when there are not a lot of upholstered pieces to apply pattern.
“Just remember to keep the scale of the pattern consistent with the scale of the room,” Turner advises. “A large, repeat pattern in a small room will overtake it, and make the room feel smaller than it is.”
TIP #7: LEARN FROM OTHERS
As a homeowner, the best place to start is by looking at magazines, catalogs, design blogs and online sources such as Pinterest and Houzz. Having a visual reference for yourself will help you find the right style from the start. Collect images that feel good to you and have ideas that you might like to use. Then, take these steps to refine your design style:
- Study the images and decide what you really love about each photo.
- Consider the ideas and how the application would realistically work in your own space. Proceed with the ideas that you love and look good together.
- The things you come back to are the things that resonate with you and are a reflection of your personality – pay attention!
Alicia Turner oversees Design Development and Marketing for Design Tec, an interior design firm specializing in new home merchandising in Newport Beach, California, for more than 20 years. She has a bachelor of arts in interior design from California State University Long Beach, and resides in Seal Beach.