interior designer melbourne

Working with multiple patterns

I’m currently working on a house renovation project in Moonee Ponds. The client likes pattern and colour. A lot of pattern and colour. Working with multiple patterns such as abstracts, and geometrics may seem daunting or busy. But the bottom line aim of interior design is to create a space that is cohesive, even when working with multiple patterns. There is a trick to working with multiple patterns which lies in having an interior design strategy.

Interior design strategy

They key to successfully working with multiple patterns is having a good interior design strategy. What this means is that I usually confirm my client’s interior style goal and colour scheme at the beginning of the project. The style goal and colour scheme make up the design strategy.

Your preferred interior style goal could be an existing well known interior style such as Scandinavian or Hamptons. Or your style goal might be a hybrid that is unique to you. For example, with a client I’m working with in Southbank, part of his style goal is ‘masculine chic’.

Understanding what certain words mean to each individual client is part of the process in understanding and defining an interior design strategy. This is important because everyone attaches different meaning to certain words.

For example, if a client says they want a ‘beautiful’ space, I need to work out what ‘beautiful’ means to them. As interior design is a visual communication language this means looking at a few different inspo pics. By looking at a range of inspiration pics I start to observe patterns in my client’s likes and dislikes and what certain things mean to them.

It’s important for me to get on the same page as my clients, so to speak, early in the project, just so the client feels understood and I can deliver a design the client wants and loves.

Colour Scheme

I’m having a conversation with a client now who wants bright blue in their kitchen. First she said she wanted duck egg blue. But when I showed her what is conventionally understood as duck egg blue, she said she wanted a ‘bright blue’.

So now we try to understand what ‘bright’ blue means to this client? She associates bright with happy. A happy blue. While deciphering particular colours with clients, coming up with a cohesive colour scheme is critical to a successful interior design.

You may already know that a good colour scheme starts with three colours. A fourth colour or material can be added for interest and depth.

Sometimes a client’s interior style preference directs a colour scheme, sometimes it’s their favourite colour. Either way knowing the colour scheme at the outset of the project helps with when working with multiple patterns because colour is one way to make many patterns work.

interior designer melbourne
Working with multiple pattern, bathroom refurb, Moonee Ponds

For example in this bathroom you can see that grey is the base colour that connects the vertical line pattern in the panelling, the hexagon shaped tiles in the shower, the diamond shaped pattern in the wallpaper and the marble pattern in the floor.

Working with multiple patterns

On a bathroom refurbishment project I was working on last year, the client wanted a Moroccan influenced bathroom and she showed me this inspo pic.

This pic is the home of Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech. My client loved the deep purple colour and the range of patterns. So many patterns all brought together by colour.

Colour is one way to work with multiple patterns but so are lines. For example, you might like to mix different patterns with a straight line. Which means you can have a geometric pattern working with a check pattern because the lines are straight.

Another way to make multiple patterns work is style. In the example above all the patterns are Moroccan inspired. So if you like a style such as Scandinavian, you could work with a range of patterns from this style.

While not many clients request such an eclectic choice as multiple patterns there are three key ways to make patterns work, that is colour, line and style.

Cohesion and balance

I once described my client’s love of varied patterns as chaotic. She thought I was being negative or critical. I wasn’t. Because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chaos. But it needs to be organised so that cohesion in the space can be achieved.

What is organised chaos? A market is organised chaos, some cities are too. It’s when there’s lots going on but all this activity is underpinned by certain rules or an unspoken understanding of how things work.

Patterns are like this too. They can be simple or chaotic but it’s the underlying order than makes them work. In my most recent project colour was the order I needed to be comfortable with working with multiple patterns.

When you walk into a space you want the eye to rest, in the bathroom example above, the eye rests on the colour grey. So the bathroom doesn’t feel busy, it’s balanced, with the right number of patterns and colour.

We love neutral whites in Australia. As well as neutral interior styles such as Scandinavian. But pattern is such a dynamic way to add interest and depth to a space. If you’re not comfortable working with multiple patterns, then simplify your choice of pattern and still enjoy the addition of this interior design element into your space.