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Decorating With Pattern
by Nikki Willhite -

Description: Tips for using different patterns in your home decor.

Do you find some rooms in your home a little on the bland side? Do you find yourself appreciative of the rooms you see in magazines and television, and wish you could achieve the same effect? The problem may be that you do not have enough pattern in your home.

In a previous issue we talked about texture:

Texture is often overlooked. Pattern is not so much overlooked, as feared! Many people are afraid to use pattern. They don't know how to mix and match patterns, so they avoid them all together.

This can often result in a very bland, and uninspiring room. This is a shame, because as a general rule it doesn't cost any more to buy a fabric with pattern than a solid color. With pattern you get a lot more impact for your money.

The frugal decorator is conservative with pattern only in the large pieces, such as overstuffed furniture. Pattern does become dated faster than solid colors. It is best to use it on items like pillows, throws, and even area rugs, which can be moved, and wear out sooner.

There are a few basic rules to follow when mixing and matching pattern. Keep these I mind, and you shouldn't have any trouble. Skilled decorators are able to violate these rules and get away with it, but for most of us we need to keep within these parameters.

Here are the basics:

*All the patterns in the room should be easily distinguished from each other. None of them should be similar to the point they look alike. For instance, you do not want to use two large floral prints of similar color near each other.

*Use a variety of prints, including floral prints, stripes, and geometric shapes.

*Contrast the size of the design in the patterns. If you are using a LARGE floral, add a fabric with a SMALL stripe or geometric print.

*Have a similar color in each piece of fabric. If one of the main colors in your room is sage green and you want to bring out this color, make sure this color is in each fabric piece that you add.

*Be aware that your eye CANNOT retain color. This is why decorators ALWAYS work with swatches of color. Do what you can to have samples with you of patterns and colors in your room when you go to buy coordinating items.

Sometimes you can snip little pieces of the fabrics and attach to a card. Perhaps you can bring in a cushion. Even a picture helps.

*Save the receipt of the items you buy, and do not pull off any tags. If it doesn't match, take it back. Give yourself a few days to decide, especially if you like it. If your first impression is that you made a mistake, you can take it back right away. If you like it, give yourself a couple days to make sure. It is very common to change your mind.

Pattern makes a room more exciting, and gives it more character. You can't go wrong with mixing three patterns, but most rooms will easily take six or seven. This is why accessories make our homes look so good. Think of the array of colors and patterns that paintings and quilts bring into our home.

Be a little more adventurous with pattern. It is a good tool for the frugal decorator.

Reprinted with permission from:
All Things Frugal

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