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Guide to using patterned fabrics at home

There is no doubt that patterned fabric can energise and give a room some personality. However, it can be tricky to get right. With help from fabric experts, we've come up with 5 tips that will help you find the right fabric!


(image: E&A Interiors)

#1 Decide what theme or look you want - do you want a tropical or glam look, moroccan inspired or minimalist? Next, take note of existing accent pieces you want the fabric to match, if any.  

#2 Decide what soft furnishing items you'd like to use patterned fabric on. This can be curtains, couches, rugs, lampshades, and pillows.

Kanarien says: "In a small room, avoid using patterns for many small items as it will look cluttered. Instead, choose items like throw cushions. Bigger rooms have the luxury of experimenting, so try small-scaled patterns that create visual texture or bold prints on neutral tones."


(Image: Tatum)

#3 Pick the patterns! Vertical stripes create the illusion of height, so use them for curtains. Southwestern or Indian-influenced geometrics can create a focal point in a rustic space, while florals can appear masculine or modern in moodier hues.

Bode says: "Note that some pattern designs are much stronger than others, so mixing a 'weak' design with a 'strong' pattern will highlight the weaker one. Sit them together to see if it works."

#4 Colours matter. Vibrant pinks, greens and blues will create a lot of energy, whereas darker greys and strong blacks are more contemporary.

E&A Interiors says: "Neutrals work well as a base when using large-scale prints. Start with a neutral hue for the walls and floors, and use bold prints in either a rug or key pieces of furniture. Fill in your space with neutral-coloured sofas, chairs, and ottomans."

#5 Patterns don't have to match. They simply have to complement each other, and the easiest way is with colour. Feel free to mix florals, ikats, or modern motifs as long as they share a common palette.

Danovel says: "Break up the look with solids. If print-on-print is too much for you, layer in some solids or neutrals."

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