Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magic of Colour (part 3)

Using Pattern

Like colour, pattern tends to intimidate those who are not used to working with it. For creating interest, depth and sheer visual richness, however, there are few design tools more potent. If you are equally tempted and dismayed by the possibilities on offer, there are two main tactics you can employ t reduce the risk of failure: either choose all your patterns from a range of coordinated fabrics, wallpapers and accessories, or begin in a low-key way with one or two small areas of pattern, then add more as your confidence and style sense develop. The first option is certainly the safest one, but the result often has a sterile, showroom feel and inevitably lacks the originality and sparkle of a scheme that you have sourced and put together yourself.

Guidelines for Success

Also in common with colour, patterns can grouped according to type: formal and elegant, cheerful and cosy, bold and graphic, opulent and exotic, or simple and fresh. To put together a successful mix, choose several examples with a similar feeling classic gingham checks and artless country florals, for example, rich paisley weaves and oriental rugs, African motifs and modern geometric shapes, or period stripes and traditional chintzes.

When you're using fabric and wallpaper samples to experiment with different combinations, you'll get a much more accurate idea of how they'll look if you approximate the comparative size of each one to its intended purpose in the finished room. If, for example, you are looking at a collection of patterns-some for the wallpaper, some for the sofa and some for throw cushions - arranging sizable lengths of paper with medium-sized squares of sofa fabric and small swatches of cushion material will give you a much clearer idea of the final effect than playing with same-size cuttings of all the design under consideration.

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