April 10, 2007

Prints & Patterns, or Plain?

I was looking at a piece in the magazine Beautiful Interiors (I think that's what it's called) that featured the home of a friend of my sisters. The house is in Alexandria, Virginia and is just lovely. The predominant colour that you saw when you flipped through the pictures was white. No patterns, no bright cheerful colours, no lushly painted walls. The house was gorgeous, but I couldn't imagine living there.
When I look around my house, it is filled with prints and patterns. My sofa has a bold yellow flower print, and the accent pieces are pale yellow ottomans (ottomen?), a yellow Chinese silk painting and a pale green armchair which echoes the green in the sofa's print. My guest room's twin beds have blue and white toile duvet covers, with white bedskirts and pillowcases. My own bedroom has a green, cream brown and red striped duvet and pillowcovers, with sheer green curtains and a funky print over the bed which pulls out some of the same colours. All of my walls are plain white, mainly because there was so much involved in furnishing the house from scratch, that it was just too much to handle.
Even when I look at my china, which is different blue and white patterns, including assorted pieces of Blue Willow, Cornish ware and other patterns I've collected, there's tons of interest. But I can mix and match the china with white plates and crystal.
I like the spark of pattern. I like the interest that it shows. I like the way patterns and prints catch you eye and add some depth. When you have a print or a pattern, it's easy to play up some of the more subtle colours and bring them out in paint selections or in accent pieces like pillows or vases. You can echo the pattern in a photograph or a frame.

Are you a print and pattern person, or plain?


  1. Prints,prints, prints, and color, color, color! Can't imagine living without them. Although my clothes are plain neutrals!

  2. ditto! Have to have some pattern and always color :)

  3. just found your blog and i really like your book ideas below.. thanks!

  4. What do you do if you're a plain person trying to venture into prints, where do I start?? In the bedroom I'm deciding between the curtains or duvet cover for prints...help!

  5. I like Color, but not so much of the prints. Though I finally got drapes installed in my new house, well in my Bedroom at least and it is an oversized floral print. Chocolate on ivory, by Hinson fabrics, and I love it to death.

  6. Laura... I like the idea of the duvet cover. That way, the rest of the room can be plain and you can switch out the duvet cover with the seasons. A bright cheery one for the warm months, and a darker, warmer one for the colder months (assuming you have those!).

  7. Hey Fairfax,
    I couldn't find an email address for you, so i had to resort to posting in your comments. i know you like writing about local goings on, so when i read this, i thought it was right up your alley. a blog post on MICA's logo redesign... interesting!

  8. Love that Blue Willow brilliant blue and white china... I love to mix and match patterns and colours. Keeps things interesting and fresh.

  9. I also collect blue and white china! My set is not very extensive yet but it's growing... And as you said it's easy to combine with white pieces.

    I love colours and prints. I think it is great when people are not afraid to mix and match patterns. Perhaps you have to put a little more thought to it, but the result is so much more interesting and personal!

    (Oh, and it seems that I'm already the second Laura here...)

  10. Hi Fairfax,
    I looked over the weekend for a nice printed duvet and ended up instead with patterned pillows. Cheaper and less of commitment I suppose, but it's a start! Thanks for the advice though, I'm still keeping my eyes open.


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