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Pattern Play

Adding Designer Flair with Form

Funny how some of the things that frighten us in life, are the things that ultimately provide the most exhilaration and satisfaction.

Take making design project selections for example. In the world of interior design, I find that few things create more client anxiety than being faced with having to commit to a pattern. And let’s face it, there are lots of patterns to choose from. From structured geometric grids to global motifs, the options can be overwhelming. Thing is–patterns, whether in the form of upholstery fabrics, wall-coverings or flooring, bring texture, color and movement into our lives.

For those of you who have trouble making a commitment, I have assembled a list of my “Top Five Faves”—patterns that when introduced into a space create excitement, energy and flair.



Historically classic yet decidedly modern, this structured pattern evokes form and symmetry that has stood the test of time. Let’s face it–this pattern dates back to BC. And yes, there is a reason that Greek Key is number on my list, it is one of my all-time-faves. Hands down. A Greek Key pattern translates beautifully to carpets in an oversized form, all the way to wall coverings and textiles. It is stunning in any color, scale or proportion.



Another structured pattern on my list is Trellis. This open, airy design can be found in varying levels of intricicy—from simple criss-crossed lines to ornate detail. What probably attracts me most to Trellis patterns would be their ability to expand a space. Especially when introduced as a wall-covering, Trellis has the ability to visually erase the corners of a room and trick the eye into thinking the space is larger than it really is.



​Chinoiserie (or in plain English, patterns with an Asian motif) take the number three spot on my top five list for their ability to make a bold statement…elegantly. Much like the timeless beauty of a blue and white oriental jar, Asian motifs mix beautifully into nearly any traditional, eclectic and in some cases, even contemporary spaces. This is one of those patterns where more is more. This can be layered on walls, draperies, upholstery—all at the same time in one single room. Bold. Timeless. Beautiful. It’s hard to make a mistake when you commit to Chinoiserie.  

NOTE: Chinoiserie room scene photo



When it comes to stripes, my philosophy is “go big or go home.” Small-scale stripes can often lose their impact in a room and from a distance read as a flat and muddled, especially in soft or light tones. On the other side, if you implement a bold stripe in rich saturated color, the results can be unparalleled. Bold stripes are a fave, as they have a wonderful way of creating a sense of order.
Do you have a room that never seems to feel organized? Add a stripe.
Even a room in disarray feels less chaotic with a large bold stripe in the picture.



There is something to be said for adding visual movement to a space. Since walls, windows and doorways tend to be rectilinear and static, why not shake things up a bit?
Anything but shy, the addition of a wave pattern will have your room bursting with graphic intensity and excitement. For a hip look, go lush and saturated in a deep moody velvet. Or, for a more organic look, go for a screen printed cotton in natural, earthy tones. Either way—ride the wave.  


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