Proof Adding a Bold Pattern Can Actually Enlarge a Space

published Jul 24, 2018
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

If you’ve always abided by the textbook rule of avoiding bold patterns for fear of visually shrinking your room, we’re here to show you that it’s not only incorrect, but doing so can actually make a much brighter impact than you might think. Take a look at these inspiration pictures below and see how they can apply to your home.

Adding a graphic pattern in the form of watercolor drapes, artwork, pillows, and rugs can maximize pattern—without overwhelming. Choose a lighter hue (as seen in this chartreuse chair) in a contrasting color to complement rather than clash.

Hanging a bold tapestry high on a brightly colored wall can do wonders for opening up the space, as the higher height naturally draws the eye upwards. Matching fabric on the side chair and pillow bring a touch of continuity to the room, helping the pattern blend into the contrasting sofa.

Sometimes, less is more in the case of bold patterns being corralled to contrasting bed linens rather than the entire room. Choose three colors, like Mary Helen Peters did above, and incorporate a mix of solids along with your chosen pattern(s) to add dimension and texture to the look.

The key to pulling off bold, large-scale wallpaper is to keep the rest of the space and palette minimal with only one or two colors—preferably in the same color family. Here, touches of light and dark salmon keep things fresh and airy.

Tilton Fenwick’s use of wavy, sea-inspired tiles makes a dramatic impact when showcased behind clear glass shower doors. The continuation of the pattern as backsplash against a crisp white wall accents, rather than overwhelms.