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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mixing Colors and Patterns

Do you ever feel like you are hopeless at mixing colors and patterns?  Choosing coordinating fabrics can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when many different patterns are needed.  Here are a few tips from NR Interiors to help.

1.  Vary the scale of the patterns.  This helps patterns to fit together and not compete against each other. Instead, they will compliment and let each pattern have a portion of the spot light.
In this setting, we used a large scale pattern on the French pleated drapery, a medium scale pattern
 on the carved wood chair upholstery, and a small scale pattern, more of a textured
solid fabric, for the accent pillow.  This demonstrates well how fabrics with such different
patterns can compliment one another and let each shine in their own respect.
Here is a close up of these patterns.  Note that the different textures of the fabrics also help
 to distinguish them from one another.
2.  Do not use too many colors or the combination of patterns will not look unified.  To create interest with color, add accents like our lime green and robins egg blue, but make sure that the majority of the pattern mixing is done in your main color.  Always create a way to connect colors you add back to main color.  (Notice the green branch vase with orange flowers which ties lime green pillows back to orange color scheme.)
In this Master Suite, we kept all patterns in this corner in the same color range, from a golden-rod yellow on
the walls to varying shades of orange on the upholstery and rug.  Note that these patterns are also varied in scale,
allowing them to enhance each other rather than compete.
     3.  Be aware of the fabric type. Some fabrics are inherently more formal than others.  You always want to mix formal and informal fabrics with other fabrics that are respectively of the similar type.  Prints, linens, and bright, playful patterned fabrics tend to be more informal, while velvets, satins, silks, embroidered silks and any shinier fabrics gravitate toward looking more formal.  Fabrics can also be dressed up further with trimmings.  Not only do you want your fabrics to look fantastic but they must also wear well for the purpose they will serve.  Selecting the appropriate fabric fiber for your furnishings is very important. 

4.  Understand what kind of attention is drawn to patterns. Large scale patterns can tie a room together and set a theme, while a smaller pattern tends to be a focal point.
In this Master Suite the large-scale Morris pattern on the ceiling and repeating motif rug create an enchanting backdrop.  The smaller patterns, like the duvet cover, accent pillows on the bed and chairs, serve as points of added interest within the room.
      5.  Think about the room function.  Do you want bright colors with intense and busy patterns or muted colors and soft flowing designs?  The color and pattern design will greatly effect the feel of the space.  Below is a home office I designed for a Therapist, an appropriately elegant, calming space to work and reflect.
I recently overhauled this Office in a remodel removing the burgundy floral wallpaper and painting over the pickled Pine bookshelves and oak shutters to create a newly updated elegant space.  The pattern in the wallpaper creates a subtle yet distinctive feel for the room without being overpowering.

6.  Use your resources.  Look for spaces that you like that have been designed by professionals and use these images as a guide for your own personal space.  Also, some fabric companies create groups of patterned fabrics that are meant to work together in a space.  Refer to these when you find yourself in need of help, as the coordination work has already been completed for you.  For a one-of-a-kind space that is uniquely yours, call NR Interiors to custom design a space to enhance your life.

       7.  Most importantly, be true to your own style.  Be bold and try new things, but always make sure that your design embodies who you are.  You will always be most comfortable in a space that reflects your personality, suits your lifestyle, and welcomes your guests.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carefully Concentrated Color

Popular colors are becoming bolder and more saturated. Since these colors are harder to use in large quantities, using them as an accent works well. By using a neutral background such as white, beige, or gray, color can become the focus of an interior and give your space the energy it needs.

For example, the picture below shows a contemporary home we recently finished for a client.  The walls are a very light cream color, while the back of the Dining Room niche is faux finished in a deep oxblood, with hints of plum.  On top of this, we placed a fine piece of original art by Tess Muth, a predominantly teal painting with oxblood, silver and gold accents.  This bold use of color creates a phenomenal focal point in the Dining area of this Great Room.

Another example of this is demonstrated in a model home we completed for a builder.  In this space, we used a bold color to accent the barrel vault ceiling, employing just the right shade of aqua with a custom large scale champagne colored metallic hand-painted design, it does not overpower the space or feel heavy, but is enough elegant interest to draw you eyes and take your breath.

Another way to accent your life with color is to have neutral walls and neutral furniture but introduce many different flares of color throughout the home.  Selecting different textures also helps to create a more interesting view.  We used this technique in a client's Sante Fe style home.

In the Sante Fe style home Dining Room niche, we used a deep eggplant to bring an unexpected surprise to this cozy space.  Since the color tones used here have the same intensity, this stunningly impassioned shade of purple completes this room, even though there are no other purple items in this space, above.


Bright, engaging patterns help to liven the space.  These Kitchen barstools have an exciting stripe while the Living Room chair in the background introduces a classsic pattern from the Museum of New Mexico, a geometric with historic reference and modern appeal.  

Art, rugs and accessories play an important role in the character of a room.  Art is a strong expression of the home owner's personality and interests, a vital part of any interior.  The pillows emphasize the style of the home and compliment the Sante Fe rug, while the largest furniture in the space remains timeless in a neutral fabric.

Used in strategic ways, color can enhance the experience of living.  However, color without a specific purpose can often lead to distracting and non-cohesive spaces.  To learn how to mix color and pattern, watch for our next post.