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Pattern is notoriously difficult to introduce in both fashion and interiors. For many of us, pattern and bright colour are unknown territory and generally something that we shy away from. At home, each room needs a wow factor - that statement piece that pulls your entire scheme together. Without pattern or a splash of colour, interiors can look bland, lacking personality and a sense of who lives there.
Adding pattern and colour is a great way to introduce that much needed individuality and give a room a focal point. You just need the tools to be confident in your choices, and understand how to use colour and pattern in interiors.
To help you get started, here are 21 creative ways to add contemporary pattern and colour to your home...
- Create a wow factor with patterned curtains
A really straightforward but highly effective update is to swap your plain curtains for patterned ones. Framing the window, our curtains are often a focal point as the eye is drawn to the natural light. Make the most of this opportunity and update your curtains to create an impact when you first walk into the room.
For a laidback feel, try a bohemian style pattern, such as an Aztec or tribal print. If you want to create a more formal style, try geometrics in a muted palette, or kill two birds with one stone and choose a modern print in a bold colour.
- Paint a feature wall
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All white interiors can be incredibly refreshing, helping to maximise light and make a space feel bigger, but they can lack personality. Get the best of both worlds, by gaining all of the benefits that white walls can provide, while also adding depth with a contrasting feature wall. Choose just one wall to paint - in the bedroom the wall behind the headboard is usually best, and in the living room the wall behind the back of the sofa works well.
Colours make each of us feel different, and we all react in different ways to different shades. Generally speaking though, blue will create a calm space, dark shades will make a room feel cosy, pale tones of yellow will make you feel energised, while pink palettes will help you focus.
- Introduce a patterned rug
A quick and easy update to make a room feel cosier and more inviting is to add a lovely patterned rug. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to choosing a contemporary rug, making it easy to find a style that suits your decor. For a modern eclectic style, try something like the Navajo Tribal Rug, to add contemporary pattern and a touch of colour. If minimal styles are more your thing, you can still add pattern - just choose something with large sections and straight lines, you can easily find a striped style rug that does the trick.
- Add a pop of colour with soft furnishings
If you like to switch up your interiors for the new season, try keeping walls and fixtures simple, adding colour and pattern with soft furnishings. The summer months call for light linens, while winter is ideal for chunky knitted throws and velvets.
During the summer, choose softer colours such as mauve, mustard yellow or plaster pink and choose a mix of plain and patterned soft furnishings. In the winter, you can switch up your style, by introducing richer colours such as emerald green, ink blue or fuschia pink.
- Create a mural wall
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Feature walls don’t have to be kept to simple single block colour. It might be easier than you think to create a modern statement wall - all you need is paint, a paint brush and some decent painters tape.
Plan your design on a piece of paper first and take time to mask out your design on the wall before you get started. If you want to avoid white spaces where the tape has been, you might need to paint your wall in stages. In some cases where you are using a few different colours, you might be able to use tester pots to create your mural, which makes this a brilliant cost effective way to create interest in your home.
If lots of colour isn’t your thing, try creating a graphic mountain like design - you can use just one colour, and keep the top half of the wall white by focusing your design to the lower half. Any colour will work brilliantly, but grey and blue shades are particularly effective for this design.
- Hang a pom pom garland
Add an eclectic edge to your otherwise minimal interiors, with a pretty and colourful pom pom garland. Try hanging at the top of the wall on your chimney breast, or above your sofa or bed. You can create your own garland in colours that perfectly compliment your scheme - for a contemporary feel, try two shades of grey and white pom poms, or for a more eclectic feel, mix and match bright colours.
- Mix and match prints
For a modern feel, mix and match prints within your home. Pairing and matching prints creates a more formal and traditional feel, while introducing more than one print in a room will create a more contemporary and laidback edge.
Try introducing three different prints to one room. You can keep the look cohesive by using the same colour palette, or by tying any colours within the patterns into your overall colour scheme. For your living room or bedroom, try a patterned rug, printed cushions and a patterned throw to create interest.
- Create a panel effect
Narrow hallways can be tricky spaces to style, but it’s important to put the extra effort in, as first impressions count. Many traditional Victorian and Edwardian homes would have had beautiful panelling in the entrance hall and up the stairs to create that wow factor.
Often expensive to install, why not try a more modern way of creating this look? Instead of adding detailed paneling, simply paint the lower half of the wall in a darker shade. You can use tape to mark out a straight line, running from your front door right the way up your staircase. Dark colours work well on the bottom, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t choose something bold, such as teal or mustard.
- Add a bohemian edge
This year is all about bohemian style. Try introducing contemporary colour and pattern with a boho theme into your interiors. A Moroccan rug, leather pouf with intricate stitching and a couple of textured cushions are all you need to pull this look together.
- Dress a bed or sofa with patterned throws
Layering is a great way to add interest and texture to your home, and the most simple and effective way to do this is with patterned throws, bedspreads and even sheepskins.
Nail this look by using different textures and introducing a pattern or two to create a cosy and stylish look. On your bed, try layering a couple of blankets - a waffle bedspread in a single colour, with the addition of a patterned blanket works perfectly. In the living room, dress an armchair with a soft white sheepskin, and add the finishing touch by draping a patterned throw over the arm.
- Create focus around large pieces of furniture
When we walk into a room our eye naturally searches for a focal point, while taking in all of the smaller details. Too much focus on the smaller details can create a confusing scheme, with no real focal point or clear design.
The easiest way to create a focal point is to single out one piece of furniture, and use two clever design tricks using lighting and rugs. Using the dining room as an example, create a focal point around the dining table, by using pendant lighting directly above the centre of the table, and a large rug placed under the table.
The same trick can also be used in open plan spaces to zone each area. In an open plan living and dining room, try using pendant lighting directly over the coffee table and dining table, and a different rug under each too. If you want to draw the eye to one space over the over, try a patterned rug under this area, and a plain rug under the other space.
- Hang an oversized contemporary piece of art
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Add a dramatic splash of colour, with a single large piece of contemporary artwork. If you have created a colour scheme in your room, pull the whole look together with a piece of art in the same colour. Choose a simple and slim frame to avoid distracting from the piece, allowing the picture to become the focal point. A large piece of art is ideal for hanging above a mantle piece, above the sofa, dining table or headboard. A bold piece of art will also be a real statement piece in the hallway.
- Choose a patterned lamp shade
Lighting doesn’t have to be plain and simple. Fabric shades are really on-trend, and can be made from all sorts of materials in different colours and patterns. Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty easy to update an old shade with a new fabric. Try modern prints such as geometrics or colour block styles to add both pattern and colour in one go - perfect for that old table lamp you’ve been meaning to breathe new life into.
- Add a pop of colour with a rug
If you’re a little colour shy, a great way to introduce a little colour is with a rug. Sometimes all you need is a little splash, rather than painting walls or adding lots of soft furnishings in bright shades. If a bold block colour isn’t your thing, a patterned rug that incorporates colour is the best way to go.
- Swap plain tiles for patterned tiles
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If your bathroom or kitchen is lacking that wow factor, the most simple way to fix the problem is by introducing patterned tiles. Available in a range of styles and colours, patterned tiles can work in both modern and period homes. For those that prefer a neutral colour palette, try Moroccan style tiles in grey and white, or if you want to add a pop of colour too, try a style that uses blue or terracotta tones.
Floor tiles are best when it comes to introducing pattern, but there’s no reason why you can’t choose patterned wall tiles - just stick to pattern on either the floor or the walls, not both. Patterned floor tiles can also be used in the entrance hall, to add character and that all important wow factor when you walk through the door.
- Paint the ceiling
If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, why not paint your ceiling and focus your colour above instead of on the walls? This quirky approach to adding colour to your home is unexpected, and is sure to make you and any guests smile as soon as you step into the room. Keep walls white or pale grey and simple, and add drama above with a dark or bright shade. Tie in the rest of your scheme by including a few key accent pieces, such as a piece of art and cushions in the same tone, to create a cohesive finish.
- Introduce an oversized pattern wallpaper
Wallpaper is another option that many of us are unsure of. While you have to be committed to your choice, if you take the time to consider and source the exact style you want to achieve, wallpaper can be a really effective way of creating a unique scheme.
For a contemporary style, choose large prints rather than smaller more fussy styles. Geometrics, leaf prints, Moroccan and Tribal patterns are all on-trend and with various colours available, you can use wallpaper to add another element to your scheme. Try wallpapering a feature wall paired with otherwise plain and neutral walls to create a bright and airy room with a unique finish.
- Add interest to a minimalist style
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Introducing colour and pattern doesn’t have to mean moving away from minimalist style, it’s all about how you use them and your choices. In selecting specific patterns and taking a careful approach to colour, you can maintain your simple style, while adding warmth and interest.
In an all-white room, try painting a single wall a pale shade such as a light warm grey, or pale sage green. Introduce just one element of pattern to your room, such as a modern shaggy rug for pattern and texture, or a pair of geometric patterned curtains. If you want to keep things minimal, go for just one large element of colour and pattern, and keep everything else simple.
- Be brave in your choices
We all have predetermined ideas of the colours that we like and the patterns we are comfortable with, but this can result in very safe choices that don’t really push your creative boundaries. Staying within your comfort zone can result with a very samey scheme, and while it’s nice for your home to be cohesive throughout, you might be surprised with the results when you start to look outside of what you think you like.
Turn to interior design magazines and the likes of Pinterest to gain some much needed inspiration. Lots of pattern and colour isn’t for everyone, but in pushing yourself that little bit further, you’ll quickly see the joy in experimenting with prints and shades you might not have considered previously.
- Swap white bedding for a colour or pattern
While white bedding is chic and timeless, our bedding can often be a missed opportunity to add a touch of colour or a little pattern. In an otherwise understated room, try swapping your plain bedding for something with a modern print. There are loads of playful styles out there, as well as more grown up options. Finish the look with a pair of matching cushions in the same colour - patterned duvet covers can often look quite busy, so balance the look with a simple bedspread and cushions. Finally, display two large prints side by side above your headboard, selecting artwork that ties in with the colour of your bedding.
- Dress up your dining table with geometric patterned crockery
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Patterns aren’t just for soft furnishings - consider swapping your plain crockery for something with a bit more interest this year, to create the perfect and unique dinner setting.
For a laid back style, go for shades of plaster pink or deep blue and choose dinnerware with an organic and rustic feel. For something sharper, try a set with geometric colour blocking and pair with stylish cutlery in gold or copper.
With so many wonderful ways to add colour and pattern to your home, there’s no excuse not to experiment with your interiors this year. Both colour and pattern can really bring your home to life, lifting your schemes and adding that all important interest and personality as well as making the space larger or smaller with the colours you choose. The best ways to introduce this into your home is through paint colours, soft furnishings such as rugs and cushions, and details such as lighting and artwork. Make this year the year you have fun with colour and patterns.