The Pattern Trends That May Have Overstayed Their Welcome

published Oct 3, 2017
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Before getting down to business, I would like to say no disrespect to any of the prints featured in this article. They are all wonderful motifs in their own right, but for reasons ranging from over saturation to too many knock-off versions, 2017 may be the year to put down the palms. What do you think?

I reached out to a couple of well-known designers to get their take on prints they think are too trendy or tired.

First up, Summer Thornton of Summer Thornton Design, who fully embraces all things pattern. I had a feeling she would have some clear ideas on what prints we should consider retiring and which ones are a bit fresher and more exciting. The following are three examples of motifs Summer would consider moving away from:

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


I do think damask is a classically pretty print, but also agree with Summer that it feels pretty tired in 2017, which I would attribute to its ubiquity. What reads as an elegant pattern that you might expect to see in reserve is now widely used across the decor market (i.e., you’re just as likely to see damask pencil holders as you are to see damask wallpaper). But still, it’s so pretty. Maybe if we let damask lie fallow for a few years, we can all enjoy it again with fresh eyes in, say, 2022?

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Greek key

The current Greek key print situation reminds me a lot of the chevron scene a few years ago. Like the ubiquitous zig zag, a lot of us fell in love with the Greek key print for its structured design, but also like chevron, maybe too many of us fell for it at the same time, causing it to lose its specialness. A little bit of this design goes a long way, so if you love it no matter what trends say, make sure to keep yourself in check when using it.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)


The oh-so popular ikat print is actually rooted in an ancient textile dying technique in which threads are individually dyed prior to weaving. In fact, we wrote up a great history of ikat post, which delves into the origin story of this pattern. The overly trendy aspect, at least for me, stems from all the ways ikat is reproduced (and it’s a lot of ways) to appear traditional when it is usually an “ikat looking print” stamped onto fabric. In other words, so much of what is called “ikat” is really just ikat knockoffs.

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Palm prints

I also reached out to Bree Schaap of Drop it Modern, as they specialize in wallpapers and fabrics, so I figured Bree would definitely have some insight into what prints may have reached their over saturation point. Her take? The explosion of palm prints that have popped up everywhere in the last couple of years, which are actually derivative of the Martinique Beverly Hills Palms design, seen below.

(Image credit: Designer Wall Coverings)

According to Bree Schaap: “I do think the iconic ‘Martinique’ print is tough to top and will always be in style, and with that said, I very much appreciate how some designers were able to play with the pattern to create a few really beautiful additions to this style. But the trend is definitely on its way out.”

And finally, I’m throwing in a print style that I personally think has jumped the shark:

(Image credit: Home Depot)


I think the version of the trellis print shown above, in particular, has just been so popular for so long that it’s time to move towards fresher styles of trellis or lattice, of which there are many. This version of trellis (this might technically be a quatrefoil) had a long reign (applause all around on a job well done), but now it’s time to give a new kid a shot, right?