education, home inspo

How to mix patterns sans overkill

This here is my geeking out post, so if you will indulge me, here goes.

As you can see from my Pinterest account, I’ve amassed quite a lot of photos of great home and interior photos. Sometimes I think I’ve seen ’em all, but there still are photos that make my jaw drop with the sheer genius that went into the design. While I was perusing one of my materials for school, I fell in love with this beautiful white and blue bedroom designed by Catherine Cleare, one of NYIAD’s resource designers.

Catherine Cleare bedroom

Now I love blue and white combinations. I always have and I always will. But I’m a bit pattern-shy. I often feel repulsed by interiors that use so many patterns—I’m the type of person who wants to live in a space that relaxes me, allows me to rest. Patterns normally excite my senses, and I cannot rest in a space that employs too many.

But this Catherine Cleare bedroom! It’s just delicately, exquisitely, gracefully, and tastefully done.

Why so?

Can we take a look at it again? I love it that much.

Catherine Cleare bedroom

One thing I’ve learned from another online course I signed up for (Jackie Hernandez’s School of Decorating) is that there are generally three types of fabrics:

  1. Geometric,
  2. Organic, and
  3. Neutral.

As you can clearly see from the photo, all three pattern types are well-represented in the bedroom. You have the geometric polygons on the area rug, as well as on the Ikat-print wallpaper. Then you have the organic florals on the curtain fabric, as well as on the pillows. There’s also a large Suzani-printed pillow on the chairs by the window. And lastly, you have the neutrals represented via the textured upholstery on the bench at the foot of the bed, and on the white bed sheets. Solids are also considered a neutral pattern, here shown in the blue duvet.

One reason why all the patterns don’t clash in this peaceful bedroom is because they all employ a similar shade of blue, and all in relaxing intensities. The white background surely helps let the eye rest despite everything going on in this room.

Another trick that this designer utilized is by having a good mix of small and large prints. If all the patterns were of the same size (all large, or all tiny), the effect wouldn’t have been as balanced. And balance, as you’ll notice in design, establishes stability. Stability establishes restfulness.

Notice also how Ms Cleare kept each piece of furniture light and dainty. Even the bed, which takes up most of the real estate (as with any bedroom), is made to blend in the background. The headboard and footboard both echo the geometric prints in the room, but because it is white, it doesn’t feel as heavy and imposing.

Check out the vanity and the chairs too. The legs all have either tapered or curved silhouettes, and are in white, a soft silver, and even Lucite. These do so much in calming down all the activity from the patterns, and even make the furniture recede, so as not to add visual clutter. Even the lamp bases are done up in glass!

While I understand some people may not be able to stand as many prints and patterns in one room, I absolutely love the fact that the designer was able to create such a relaxing retreat even while going all out with her pattern picks.

Hey if you ever see photos that are worthy of attention, do share them by pasting the link in the comments section! I’m always on the lookout for great design inspirations. 😉

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