Brilliant Ideas for Adding Graphic Pattern to Any Room

If you love the look of bold pattern but worry about commitment here’s a secret: Stick with a neutral color palette, like classic black and white, and simple geometrics, and you’ll find yourself loving the timeless style.
By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Tracey Ayton

Photo By: Ken Vaughan

Photo By: Jason Miller, Pixelate LTD

Photo By: Regan Wood

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson

Photo By: Laure Joliet

Photo By: Michael Hunter

Photo By: Mary Costa Photography

Photo By: Regan Baker Design Inc.

Photo By: Allison Corona Photography

Photo By: Kelly Fondots

Keep it Neutral

To give a modern bedroom a warm and cozy look, designers Jamie Hamilton and Greer Nelson of Oliver Simon Design created a feature wall with a hexagon-patterned wallpaper from Cole & Sons, in a soft taupe colorway. "Wallpaper isn’t as easy to change as, say, a throw pillow or even bedding, so keeping it neutral in color is a good way to make sure it stands the test of time," advises Hamilton.

Create Balance

For a master bath that’s at once luxurious and serene, designer Jenifer Wiley of J Wiley Designs paired a neutral color scheme and fixtures with clean, modern lines with a show-stopping chevron pattern on the floor. "Bold pattern against a subtle backdrop creates drama and visual tension that make the room both an exciting and relaxing retreat for the client. When using vibrant color or pattern in a space, be sure to balance the room with soft details so the room doesn’t become overbearing," says Wiley.

Add Splash to the Backsplash

Backsplash tile is one of the best opportunities to give your kitchen designer flair. Here, the team at the House of L chose tile with a simple, graphic pattern to add energy to a sleek space. The subtle, neutral color of the tile keeps the emphasis on the rich wood tone of the base cabinets.

Go Big

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the best solution for a tight space is a bold design move, like a strong color or a high-contrast pattern. In this narrow hallway designer Allison Lind of LindHesse took the latter approach, choosing a graphic black and white wall covering to make a dramatic impact that visually expands the space.

Pick a Winning Pair

There’s perhaps no color combination as classic and versatile as black and white. The pairing can create an effect that’s timeless and traditional, chic and contemporary, or somewhere in-between, as it does in this striking bedroom, where the team at Rethink Design Studio used a wall of draperies in a bold black and white pattern to create richness and personality in a mostly white space.

Go Au Naturel

Pattern doesn’t have to come via fabric, wall coverings, or accessories: Natural materials have their own patterns, from the veining in marble to the grain of wood. In this kitchen, the team at FLO Design Studio made the most of the rich movement of the stone countertops, keeping the rest of the space restrained in style and the palette a simple black and white.

Try a Monochromatic Scheme

To add pattern to a modern space, consider keeping the color palette simple—or nonexistent. In this contemporary stairwell and hallway, the designers at the Mirador Group used a black-and-white color scheme for a high-contrast look that gains interest from the simple geometric patterns of painted woodwork applied to the ceiling.

Add Style With Tile

To give a small bath a big personality designer Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest lined the upper wall of the shower in a bold chevron pattern. The chic black, gray, and white color palette looks chic but crisp and clean.

Consider the View

When you want to keep the emphasis on the outdoors, the design choices you make inside are particularly important. In this modern master bedroom, designer Regan Baker of Regan Baker Design, incorporated subtle pattern in the bedding and also in the natural wood grain of the ceiling paneling, but kept the color palette neutral so that the eye moves automatically to the lush green framed by the large window.

Mix and Match

Combining two or more bold patterns can be a recipe for design chaos—unless you borrow a trick from experienced designers like Judith Balis, who created the energetic look of this dining room. Working within a very limited color palette, particularly a neutral one like black and white, helps unify and simplify the look for an effect that’s exciting, but not overbearing.

Emphasize the Architecture

Painting the backs of shelves or niches is a great way to show off rich architectural detailing and the collections displayed within; wallpapering those backdrops is an even more effective approach. Here, the design team at 4 Corners paired a black and white patterned wallcovering with floating shelves; choosing to display items in tones of gold, wood, black, and white helps keep the look simple and soothing.

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