How to Be Bold

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It seems like you might be either a pattern person or not. But I’m here to say that it can be for everyone! Yes, you! I, for one, would be quite content to live in a house with pattern upon pattern upon pattern, but as a former teacher of mine commented on a space I was designing, “wouldn’t you go crazy in that?” and the answer is, NO! I love patterns! The trick to living with patterns, especially bold patterns, is the rest of the space you’re working with. A bold pattern can act as a focal point to the room, which means that most everything else will be toned down. The same goes for fashion. Let’s take a look:

Living with feminine patterns

Living with Feminine Patterns
Image:(Left) Pinterest; (Right) Pinterest

Ahhh, some lovely pastels and florals—ain’t nothin’ better for a lady. The interior space on the right is quite busy with floral wallpaper upon floral paper upon floral carpet. I’m going to venture to say that most people would think this is a bit much, am I right? Although I think it would be great fun, to make it more liveable, I would create more relief to the space by adding in more neutral tones with the furniture choices. Rather than a bright red chair, I’d possible add in a neutral linen upholstered piece. I would also tone it down with the carpet choice by going with a more peaceful selection, perhaps a dhurrie rug. The fashion choice on the right works well with a solid pink jacket, but what really makes it work is the tan, leather belt. Create these more neutral balances with bold pattern choices.

Living with black and white bold patterns

Living with Black and White
Image:(Left) Scandinavian Design; (Right) Ensuus

Black and white is a classic choice for making a statement in fashion and home. However, I find that in the home it can come across as cold and sterile. I would warm it up with some rich wood tones to make it more liveable. Marimekko’s kaftan, left, on it’s own, is clearly is for a brave woman. I say, go for it!

Living with bold florals

Living with Floral Patterns
Image:(Left) Pinterest; (Right) Pinterest

Florals! Florals continue to stay on trend, and I couldn’t be more pleased. In fashion, layering florals in maxi dresses or pairing it with a solid are two great ways to incoporate it into your wardrobe. In the home, a bold floral pattern on one wall is fun, without over doing it. To make it more liveable, don’t over do it with a whole room.

Living with bold graphics

Living with Bold Graphic Patterns
Image: (Left) Alwaysmod; (Right) Alwaysmod

And finally, graphics! Again, Marimekko, the legendary Finnish textile company, reigns king. These classic choices are liveable because they are used as a focal point for the rooms. In the bedroom, the bedspread takes center stage, with all the other pieces more muted. In the dining room, the fabric hanging on the wall acts as a poppy canvas to an otherwise toned down room.

What do you think? Can you do a bold pattern for a room?

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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.