Passion For Pattern In The Home

Posted on | February 25, 2013 | No Comments

If you look in my closet, you can tell that I love color. I am drawn to things that make a beautiful splash. While I recognize that not everyone is drawn to bright colors, I believe that patterns have the ability to put the personality in a wardrobe – or an interior. Today we hear from Anita Oates, principal of the Raleigh interior design firm, Otrada L.L.C., concerning pattern as an integral aspect of design.

Quatrefoil Pattern

Pattern is a design element that has been used to decorate faces, clothing, homes, furniture, and art since the beginning of man. Symbols often had meaning and displayed position, family heritage, or cultural distinctions around the globe. Today, pattern still plays an important role in our daily lives to evoke excitement and visual drama. It creates tension on the eye which translates to the brain as making a statement. We understand the need for pattern when selecting an outfit, but what about your home? Are you aware of the pattern in your rugs, wall coverings, artwork, and fabrics? Do you know what it is saying to the unconscious mind? Here are 5 characteristics to evaluate pattern the next time you’re out shopping with your designer.

Organic Woven Zebra Pattern

Organic Pattern – Organic patterns often mimic the imperfect shapes and lines of nature. They may have curvilinear lines like the waves of the ocean washing ashore or the “stripes” of a zebra hide. Floral motifs are also common in organic patterns. Feelings evoked by these patterns are: Fluidity, movement, nature, and change.

Symmetrical Hexagonal Pattern

Symmetrical Patterns – These patterns are exactly the same when cut down the middle. They can be repeated over and over again with distinct accuracy. They may include straight, curved, or broken lines, as well as circles. Feelings associated are: Rigidity, balance and harmony.

Geometric Square Pattern

Geometric Patterns – These include patterns that incorporate the geometric shapes: square, diamond, rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, pentagon, hexagon, octagon. The scale of the repeated pattern may be small or large. It may even have several patterns within an overall pattern. Terms associated with geometric patterns: traditional, historic and familiar.

Organic Zebra High Contrast Pattern

High Contrast Patterns – These patterns use light and dark hues to make the pattern pronounced. They tend to be more dramatic and demand your attention. It’s a great pattern choice if you want to make a bold statement.

Pattern Within Pattern

Small scale vs. Large Scale patterns – Small scale patterns tend to read as a single color when viewed from across a room. For example, a blue and gray geometric pattern up close may also read as a duller gray solid from far away. Beware of viewing patterns from 2′ AND 10′! Large scale patterns are wonderful to use on walls, sofas, and drapery as long as you have enough space to make the repeat work. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a cut off pattern and the look will be incomplete.

Plaid Pattern
Images Courtesy of Otrada L.L.C.

Common patterns today include: herringbone, chevron, ikat ( pronounced e-kot), tie-dye, wood grain, stripe, plaid, medallion, basket weave, running bond, zig zag, houndstooth, and quatrefoil to name a few. Are there any patterns that you see and love? Could you incorporate any into your next design project? Hopefully, you can talk with your designer in more specific terms about patterns that you enjoy.

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