Tips for decorating with patterns from Kristin Nicholas, author of Crafting a Patterned Home

Kristin Nicholas is author of Crafting a Patterned Home, and she is also a wonderful textile designer. To get your hands on some of her original pattern designs, visit her page on Spoonflower, a digital printing company that prints custom fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap.

Spoonflower recently an blog post excerpt from the book titled "Master the Art of Mix & Match with These 8 Tips." You can find the first three tips below! Visit the Spoonflower blog for the full post.

1 Start with a feeling.

What do you want the room to feel like? How is the room going to be used? Is it a high-traffic hallway that is a conduit from one place to another? Is it going to be comfy and cozy? Is it going to be used just for good—for entertaining and show? Is it going to be used for eating and drinking and for throwing a party? Is it going to be used for sleeping? Is it a room for peace and perhaps meditation?

Think about the people who will be living in the space and using the room. Ask them what they like and don’t like. Think about what they do and how they live and work.

2 Choose a color or a patterned textile as a starting point.

Whichever one you chose, use it to guide the design of the rest of the room. If you begin with a color, look for fabrics that you can use that will match the color, have the same color story, or have some of the color in it. Begin collecting fabrics and then decide on the color of the walls and the woodwork. Think about how the floors will be treated—covered with rugs, tiled, painted, or left as bare wood? Designing a room is an evolving process. A room will morph and change over the years as you add and subtract objects, but that is the fun of it.

3. Find a swatch of fabric that you really love, love, love.

We’ll call this the “love fabric”. Look for a bold print, a world textile, a patterned rug, or a colorful wallpaper. Bold and complex patterns will present more possibilities when you choose coordinating patterns. The piece of fabric does not have to be large; it could be an exotic textile from a faraway land that will become a pillow. NOTE: Most fabric retailers will give you small samples of fabrics that are helpful when designing a space. I find it helpful to purchase a half yard of a fabric that catches my eye and “live with it” in my space. That way I know if I really do love the fabric. A half yard is not a waste — it is enough for a pillow or two.

Read more on the Spoonflower blog.