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How to use curtain patterns in your home

Using patterns in your home doesn't need to be difficult with this easy to follow guide.

When decorating a room, some people avoid using patterned fabrics or wallpapers for fear of getting the look wrong. Plain or simple patterns seem a safer choice. But there is no reason to be scared of patterns and even mixing and matching different patterns that you might not think go together.

Pattern as a focal point

Pattern as a focal point

Pattern can be a focal point for a room, to draw your attention to an area or item. You can use patterned wallpaper for a feature wall or even for the latest trend: a feature ceiling. You could cover a chair or sofa in a statement pattern fabric. Or have patterns limited to your curtains. All of these when paired with plain curtains will act a as a focal point.


Designers have made it easy by designing collections of fabrics and wallpapers that are meant to go together. Within these collections you will find patterns and colours grouped around a theme, the colours complement each other and there may also be plains that use the same colours. Such ILIV's Enchanted Gardens collection. Choosing all of your fabrics and wallpapers from the same collection can sometimes create a show home look or feel.

Use the % rule

You could use the 60% 30% 10% rule, decorate the room using a favourite pattern in 60% of your room, 30% of a second pattern and 10% for an accent.

Using patterns in the same colours

Using patterns in the same colours

Choose patterns that use the same colours, pick out a colour in a favourite pattern and find that colour within another pattern. For example the Khiva fabric in Spruce with the Kamakura Spruce fabric. Choose patterns that are in tones of the same colour or that are from the same colour family. Use patterns that invert the same two colours. Even a textured fabric that is in a single colour adds another pattern.

Vary the scale

Pair a pattern print that has a small print with one that has a larger print, just remember that some larger prints won’t work on small scale items such as cushions or lampshades because of pattern repeats.

Mix and match

Mix and match

The best rooms that use pattern successfully manage to create a sense of balance between patterns but with an element that knocks it slightly off balance. The look is one that has evolved over time, which gives an authentic homey, lived-in feel. Using fabrics such as the Ashiki or an Ikat that speaks of travel alongside a floral or geometric may not seem like an obvious choice but used well it will avoid the matchy-matchy feel.

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