Easy Ways to Incorporate Patterns Into Your Home

patterns in the Living Room

What is the best way to introduce an additional pattern (or two) to a room?

For fabrics, I generally like the large upholstered pieces to be a solid and the pillows to bring the punch. This way the accent color can be easily changed depending on mood and season. I have an embarrassingly large collection of pillows for my living room that I frequently rotate.

Geometric Patterns

Is there a pattern that is easier to work with?

Quiet, soft florals are very easy to mix with various solids in the same shades. Geometrics tend to be bolder and more modern. It just depends on the look you are going for.

family room with patterns

What is a mistake people tend to make when trying to introduce a new pattern?

I would say a typical mistake would be in the scale. Patterns that are slightly different but too close in scale with no unifying color connection just look muddy and confused. You have to take a point of view and have the courage of your convictions!

What is the best piece to add patterns with (wallpaper/pillows/drapes, etc.)?

My favorite way to add pattern is to use wallpaper in a room that you don’t live in all the time. I love a really bold paper in a foyer, powder room or dining room. These are the perfect spaces to add drama and excitement! Once you’ve chosen a paper with big impact, your work is done…the balance of the fabrics and furnishings can be very simple!

Design with Patterns

How do you introduce a new color into the home without creating a frantic/busy feel?

Usually it is best to carry over at least one color from pattern to pattern. For example, use a little orange in the small scale repeating pattern to go w/ the orange in the larger geometric pattern.

What would you say to a perhaps ultra conservative client who shies away from mixing patterns in a room?

For someone very shy about mixing pattern, start small. Contrasting gimp band on a window treatment, or an accent pillow or two. At the end of a job I often bring in a few pillows to try that the client didn’t see coming, and I find that works. Seeing is believing!

Anything else to add?

 I do my level best to encourage clients to try a dramatic pattern and once they take the plunge…honestly no one has ever looked back!

2018 Award-winning interior designer Carey Karlan is the principal of design firm Last Detail, located in Darien, CT. Since founding her firm 20 years ago Carey has been creating timeless interiors throughout Fairfield and Westchester Counties extending to Manhattan, San Francisco, Florida, the Cape, Nantucket and the Hamptons. Carey’s approach to design embraces the concept of flexibility. She listens intently to her clients and prides herself on having the ability to envision and create interiors to suit any size or style of home and any lifestyle. 

Originally from Oklahoma, from a line of southern women who loved to decorate and always had fresh flowers on the table, Carey developed an enduring love for decorating at a young age. A graduate of Trinity College, Carey’ s background includes a decade of being an executive in the advertising world. After raising five children, she completed studies at the New York School of Interior Design and worked in interiors in Fairfield County before opening her own firm.