By: Courtney Klinger – DAS Interior Designer
Utilizing a variety of patterns within a space can be tricky at times. It takes an educated sense of know how to execute it properly. Pattern and color are often times associated with a maximalist approach, but in reality, this concept has the ability to create a calming atmosphere. It’s all about balance. In order to achieve this aesthetic, there are a few key factors to consider: scale, color, shape, and abundance.
Scale: How large is the scale of the pattern? Does that pattern repeat multiple times within a few inches or is it more expansive? When working with patterns you want to be sure to mix a wide variety of scales so the formats do not compete. For a more mathematical approach, The Fibonacci Series explains one scale in relation to another creating what is known as the golden spiral. This sequence in scale is also found within the fruit sprouts of a pineapple and the flowering of an artichoke to name a few.
Color: Do the colors chosen complement each other? When choosing multiple patterns similar hues can help streamline the design. Sticking with a limited palette allows for more freedom when selecting contrasting patterns. Consider the overall saturation and range of temperature. Consult the color wheel to determine if your combination is monochrome, complementary, or analogous. Start small, once the core selections are chosen it is much easier to pull small hints of color from each pattern to complete your scheme.
Shape: Is the fabric or architectural finish geometric, organic or a textural solid? There is no rule defining how pattern must be used. Graphic patterns can play well with organic shapes, yet graphics can also pair well with each other. For example, a large rose motif may resemble antiquity but in the right color and paired with a streamlined stripe the overall feel becomes more modern.
Abundance: How much of this pattern will be displayed within the space. Will the pattern show up on a pillow or is it a wallcovering that spans the envelope of the room? The amount in which certain patterns are used can change the look of the space drastically. In a room where you would like a softer approach, the wallcovering could be a tone on tone pattern while the pillows contrast in color for a more vibrant impact.
Two recent DAS interior design projects include The Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, a luxury waterfront venue in Stevensville MD, and The Tidewater Inn, an independently-owned hotel in Easton, MD originally built in 1891.
The Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club has a homegrown atmosphere and is situated on Maryland’s eastern shore. We picked up cues from their farm to table hospitality approach and incorporated elements from their local surroundings to create texture. Pattern is most prevalent in the lobby area of the hotel. Here the back of the lounge chairs are upholstered in a plaid fabric that introduces an unexpected punch in the rustic space. The area rug placed below pulls in the warm tone of the plaid yet contrasts it in pattern with an organic quality. This project was heavily layered with local accessories and artwork to create a dense and comfortable lived in feel.
For The Tidewater Inn, we wanted to celebrate the historic elements of the property yet bring a fresh and edgy approach to the lobby space using pattern. Working with the client’s existing antique area rug helped define the color range and palette. The coral tones led us to pull in more warm analogous colors and neutrals. Smaller scaled textures and larger scaled soft patterns complement the variation in the existing carpet. The space, in turn, possesses a pop color and a wide variety of movement while still holding a sense of serenity.
These are just two examples of pattern orchestration but the exploration of pattern in any environment will add a long lasting layering of visual and emotional responses that will keep your space alive and relevant for many years.