12 Popular Interior Design Patterns
A glossary of modern and timeless looks.
Prints and patterns are key elements in the interior design world. From textiles to wall coverings to flooring, a pattern can convey your personal style and set the tone for your space. With inspiration from across the globe, one can appreciate the intricacies of Indonesian dyeing techniques, the boldness of American designs and the beauty of French weaving. From splashes of color and pops of print to completely embracing a pattern, the use of prints will add depth, character and atmosphere to your home. Here are some of the most popular home-décor prints.
Wooden blocks are carved in relief, painted in color and pressed against textiles to create a pattern or image. Block printing originated in China as a form of artwork or text on fabric and, later, paper. For a current example, think of hand-stamped greeting cards or canvas totes. Here’s a great idea for DIYers: Create your own print with a unique design carved into a block of wood (or individually picked items to hot glue to said block), paint, and stamp away for personalized fabric wall art. Not feeling crafty? Head to your favorite décor shop and pick up a set of beautifully handcrafted block-print kitchen linens.
This reversible pattern gained popularity during the Renaissance, giving us the floral and botanical style we associate with damask today. Think of damask as a sophisticated and traditional option for wallpaper and bed linens. If you want just a pop of print, a statement chair with damask upholstery in a living room adds an elegant and eye-catching touch.
Think Dorothy’s checked dress in The Wizard of Oz. Gingham inspires thoughts of sunny days in the country and picnics in the park. A gingham print in yellow is perfect for a set of curtains to brighten up any kitchen. For a subtle Americana vibe, opt for gingham throw pillows in navy blue.
Take your travels and incorporate them into your home as you embrace the culture of the countries you’ve visited and let each room in your home tell their stories. Allow the bright whites and vivid blues of the Greek key to take center stage on your tablescape via statement glasses or a table runner. Incorporate vivid serape blankets for a bold pop of color in your living room, or use hand-woven baskets for beautifully visible storage space.
This pattern is made of parallel lines in two columns sloping toward each other, resembling the bones of a fish. Seen often in sports coats or blazers, this print is gaining traction in home design projects. A popular décor piece is a beautiful wood herringbone coffee table for an organic feel in your living space—or a herringbone area rug for an easy way to bring texture into a room.
This checked pattern has jagged edges to give it the look of a canine tooth. Another print steeped in fashion history, it’s most often seen in black and white and offers an interesting and detailed take on the average checked décor. Choose an ottoman in houndstooth as an accent piece, or go all-out and embrace it as a tile floor in your home’s entryway.
For this intricate technique, the threads are tie-dyed before weaving, then realigned and woven together to form a design in the textile. Ikat can best be described as using fading lines and fused colors. Incorporate this beautiful pattern into your home via decorative throws or as a bold area rug. For a statement piece, choose an ikat-patterned dresser to accent your guest room.
Characterized by earth-tone colors, geometric shapes, terra cotta, turquoise and woven fabrics, this bold style can be used throughout the entire home or as an accent in a few select rooms. There are a few ways to embrace this design—go for light desert neutrals, choose vivid colors, or mix the two. For a subtle look, pair a light sand wall with pops of turquoise in the form of serving dishes and throw pillows. Or go big and opt for a Southwest-themed nursery complete with a bright, woven area rug and cactus wall art.
In a word, plaid. Warm, traditional and not just for flannel shirts. Decorate with tartan as a way to balance several complementary colors in one space. Use a navy-and-forest-green tartan table cloth in your dining room or as the pattern for your cushioned bar stools. For an unexpected pop, display wall art in a red tartan frame.
Chips of marble, granite, glass and quartz embedded in the surface of a concrete floor, counter or outside patio. Feeling gutsy? Make terrazzo the pattern of your new shower wall. Celebrities like Mandy Moore are embracing this intricate look in their homes via fireplace benches and staircases. If you’re not ready for a major renovation, add terrazzo to accent pieces like candle votives and decorative bowls.
Here, the images tell a story or create a landscape of a specific place, like a rural scene in the French countryside. Prints are usually composed of soft colors against a white backdrop. Popular for wallpaper, bedding and upholstery, toile adds striking and intricate detail to a room. For just a hint, considering using a toile pattern as the backdrop to built-in shelving for a noteworthy bookcase.
Think large palm leaves and pineapples. Images of lush green plants and bold flowers bring about an air of ease and summon an island vibe. To embrace this print, adorn your sunroom in tropical themed décor, choose a bright fuchsia couch set against a rich green wall, and accessorize with big leafy plants.