Go big and go home

Su­per­size pat­terns for a brave new look

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

‘Do all the walls, and the ceil­ing too, if you are feel­ing brave’

In­te­rior de­sign­ers like to scale things up. It’s the sign of a con­fi­dent dec­o­ra­tor – some­one who isn’t afraid to make a state­ment and has an as­sured sense of pro­por­tion. For those that re­ally want to go for it, ex­tralarge prints and pat­terns are the per­fect way to cre­ate an ex­tralarge im­pact.

Chris­tine Van der Hurd, whose com­pany Van­der­hurd makes car­pets and tex­tiles for top in­te­rior de­sign­ers, says her clients of­ten want to take her de­signs and su­per­size them. “Peo­ple are get­ting bolder, blow­ing up a smaller de­sign so that it’s not sym­met­ri­cal or it might get cut off at the edge,” she says.

“These off-cen­tre de­signs can work in­cred­i­bly well, and they are of­ten very colour­ful.” If it all sounds a bit too strong and graphic, she points out that hard out­lines can be off­set by the man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nique. For a re­cent rug for the Whitby Ho­tel in New York, nat­u­ral wools were overdyed to give a much softer out­line to the scheme, “so even though the de­sign is bold, it gets soft­ened by the tex­ture.”

Van der Hurd doesn’t agree that big pat­terns can only work in big rooms. An over­scaled de­sign on the floor “can make a small room like a lit­tle jewel. If you’re us­ing a strong pat­tern, you can bal­ance it out by bring­ing in solid cush­ions, maybe have a smaller print on the cur­tains or blinds, or us­ing more tex­tures in­stead.”

Suc­cess­fully mix­ing huge prints with other ob­jects in the room is eas­ier if you fol­low the ad­vice of the ex­perts. “You have to be very care­ful, as it’s easy to make mis­takes,” says Ed Go­drich, cre­ative di­rec­tor of Go­drich In­te­ri­ors. “We quite of­ten use a pat­terned fab­ric in a room mul­ti­ple times, but in dif­fer­ent colour­ways. It’s a safer way to ap­proach this idea.”

Go­drich’s over­ar­ch­ing ad­vice is: “If you are con­sid­er­ing a big print, then you need not be shy with it. What­ever you do, don’t just do one wall. Do all the walls, and the ceil­ing too, if you are feel­ing re­ally brave. Em­brace the de­sign and see it like art.”

If you are only coura­geous enough for one wall, a large-pat­terned mu­ral might be suit­able. Wall­pa­per com­pany Gra­ham & Brown has in­tro­duced some bud­get-friendly mu­rals that give mas­sive im­pact. Its Vene­tian pat­tern, a blowsy flo­ral on a dark back­ground, was based on a de­sign from the ar­chives; dra­mat­i­cally chang­ing the scale takes it from tra­di­tional to on­trend, bring­ing a sense of play­ful­ness to a scheme.

When in­stalling a mu­ral, “con­sider where your at­ten­tion is drawn when y you en­ter a room, and try to avoid any w win­dows or doors that could break up the de­sign,” sug­gests Gra­ham & B Brown’s stylist Paula Tay­lor. “Also, t think about your fur­ni­ture and how t this will in­ter­act with the wall. A fea­ture mu­ral or over­sized pat­tern can act as a bril­liant back­drop, and colours can be co­or­di­nated with ac­ces­sories to cre­ate a co­he­sive en­sem­ble.”

As for other pat­tern op­tions, this sum­mer’s trend for lush trop­i­cal prints is an ob­vi­ous place to start: life-size ba­nana leaf mo­tifs are ubiq­ui­tous, and a cush­ion or two is an easy up­date for the sun­nier months. A fur­ther emerg­ing style is large Sev­en­ties-in­spired bold graph­ics with a deco twist. Kirkby De­sign has worked with south Lon­don de­sign­ers Eley Kishomoto to launch a range that in­cludes Spot on Waves, a wall­pa­per with rip­pling stripes punc­tu­ated by big flocked dots, which sums up the trend.

For vin­tage de­sign with a Scan­di­na­vian look, in­vest in Josef Frank’s mid-cen­tury de­signs for Swedish com­pany Svenst Tenn, which are still man­u­fac­tured. Frank’s work was re­cently put in the spot­light in an ex­hi­bi­tion at Lon­don’s Fash­ion & Tex­tile Mu­seum, in­tro­duc­ing his psychedel­i­cally colour­ful fab­rics to a wider au­di­ence.

The de­vel­op­ment of wide-width wall­pa­per has meant that pat­tern re­peats are get­ting big­ger, open­ing up lots of bold pos­si­bil­i­ties. Dec­o­rat­ing firm Lewis & Wood, which pi­o­neered wider wall­pa­pers more than a decade ago, works with dec­o­ra­tive artists to re­ally ful­fil the po­ten­tial of this larger medium. Melissa White’s Bac­chus de­sign, for ex­am­ple, was in­spired by an El­iz­a­bethan wall paint­ing, with painterly scrolls of fruits and fo­liage, but the scale gives it an un­ex­pected edgi­ness.

Be­yond fab­rics and wall­pa­pers, there are plenty of other ways to in­tro­duce some super-size pat­tern into the home, from plates to bed linen. Go­drich likes to use mar­ble that has large pat­terns of vein­ing within it, not just on walls and floors in the bath­room but as table­tops else­where. Tiles are a bril­liant way to get some pat­tern into the home; look for de­signs that make an even larger mo­tif once they are laid to­gether, or make up your own, such as a thick zigzag, by block­ing to­gether dif­fer­ent coloured tiles. What­ever hap­pens, don’t be shy: for­tune favours the brave dec­o­ra­tor.

Blowsy: Gra­ham & Brown’s Vene­tian wall mu­ral, above; Graphic wall­pa­per, be­low, by Feather

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