How To Style Clashing Patterns

July 17, 2014
How To Style Clashing Patterns

Never combine red with pink, or navy with black, or brown with black. Style with one metallic, not a multiple metal palette. Only use one type of timber in a room. Make sure all furniture items match one another. And most importantly, never, never mix prints. Right? So, so wrong…!

These are old-school rules that have stifled way too many creative spirits and knock-out interior looks. We make sure we don’t fall victim to convention – welcome to pattern clash, where rule break-aways are brilliant. Pattern clashing is pretty self-explanatory and involves interior pieces, or a series of pieces, that deliberately un-mix and un-match. So for example you might see a floral armchair sitting alongside a striped blind, or some pastel print cushions scattered on a bold, primary coloured couch.

It’s unexpected, it shakes things up; it’s fresh.

1: Look to the masters

The likes of Kare Design have perfected the art of pattern clash, as we’ve seen at this year’s Maison d’Objet. Metallic office desks with a different pattern on each drawer face, signature armchairs that combine block velvets with animal print upholstery… These look-at-me pieces are fresh, fun and dramatic, not at all gaudy or tacky. Love!

kare design desk

kare design zebra pattern chair 1

2: Pattern clash is not predictable

Pattern clashing doesn’t play it safe, but nor does it compromise good taste. Be bold and brave to make decisions you wouldn’t normally make, but always go back to what you like. If it’s just too crazy and clashy for you, then don’t do it. That said, once you dip you’re toe in the pattern clashing waters, you might surprise yourself…! A great way to do just that is looking at something like this Alska armchair. It manages to bridge the divide between pattern clash and contemporary sensibilities – and it’s just such an incredibly stylish armchair.

alska lindberg blue chair

Pattern clash perfection above, by Alska

3: A taste rather than a whole-room approach

Pattern clashing works best when it happens in bursts, or ‘vignettes’ throughout the home. Applying a pattern clash approach to the whole house could end up as sensory overload. Our personal preference is to just start with small steps. A great example might be introducing a Dare Gallery patchwork armchair into an otherwise pattern-clean lounge. It’s an instant attraction – not only for its colourful meshwork of design, but because it looks so inviting. Especially on a cold winter’s day!

dare gallery patchwork armchair

Ibsen Patchwork Armchair, by Dare Gallery.

4: That look is everywhere… until now

By its very definition, fashion is popular. Interior fashion is no different to our wardrobe fashion – looks and styles come, and they go. When they’re here though, they tend to stay for quite some time (thankfully – a lounge room is probably more expensive to update than a wardrobe… We hope!). Pattern clashing can be a way to avoid fashion fatigue – instead of buying the same chair everyone else is coveting, why not get that armchair, but with a quirky pattern clash twist? We love the idea of freshening up our space with a pop of pattern clash.

interior secrets replica eames armchair

Replica Eames Chair, by Interior Secrets.

When it comes to interior styling, we’re a big believer in actively bending the rules. Have fun!