The Case for Using Pattern in Small Spaces

The Case for Using Pattern in Small Spaces

Adrienne Breaux
Apr 4, 2012

It seems like the last thing you want to do: add a bunch of busy visual clutter by way of bringing pattern into your limited-in-square-feet place. But believe us when we say that sort of thinking will lead to a potentially boring, tiny space. To have a small space really shine, we argue on the side of pattern, always!

We've seen it time and time again, wallpaper or a paint design in a small room like a powder room or entryway always creates a potent mix of graphic boldness and very rarely seems too cluttered. There's something about not having a lot of wall space to begin with, and using that wall space so effectively with a really fun pattern that you love.

Pattern doesn't have to be a huge commitment like wallpaper; if you're dealing with a small bedroom or perhaps even a small, oddly-shaped nook of space, using a fun pattern on furniture upholstery, curtains, blankets and other upholstery will do just find, too. You'll see how it infuses a tiny space with energy and doesn't overwhelm at all. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it; you'll find plenty of inspiration in previous Apartment Therapy posts, and they can be very visually persuasive. If you're thinking about dipping your toes into the waters of small space pattern usage, just heed these few tips:

• It stands to reason, but only use a pattern you really love (anything else and it might feel overwhelming!)

• Try playing around with scale. In other words, using a really tiny pattern or a really big pattern and see how that affects the feel of a tiny room (you might be surprised to see it tends to make a space feel bigger).

• Use color to help form the feel you want by going for a bold pattern background for spaces you want to be energetic, but calming, soft colors for rooms you want to feel more relaxing.

• Don't forget that texture is a sort of pattern, and can be a nice compromise if you or a partner just can't decide on how bold of a pattern to get.

What are your pattern in small space tips? What are your experiences with using pattern in small spaces? We're looking for your success and horror stories!

Little Room, Big Impact: Bold Paper in the Powder Room
Small Bedroom Inspiration
Using Scale To Make A Statement
Small-Scale Pattern in the Bedroom
Powerful Patterns for Bold Bedrooms
Wallpapered & Hand-Painted Hallways
From Readers: Tim's DIY Graphic Hallway
Hand-Painted Wallpaper from de Gournay

(Images: As credited above)

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