Patio how ­to balance bold patterns

Pattern is tricky. Like color, it has the ability to transform a space. It can bring life to a space, draw the eye to a certain area, convey emotions, and showcase the tastes of the homeowner. The proper use of pattern can differentiate different spaces from each other and add interest to the overall design. The list could go on and on.


However, while pattern certainly can do all of the above, it also has the ability to create confusion and make a space appear jumbled. Improper use of pattern causes confusion and even may make it difficult to find the focal point in a room. And, while it has the power to create a space that looks as if it were styled by a pro, it also has the ability to create a space that says the decorator didn’t know what he/she was doing.

Your patio, while an extension of your home, is different from other rooms in the house. The bright natural light calls for bold patterns and colors. Without them, your patio space will just fall flat. As with most aspects of the decorating world, a fine line separates pattern applied to a patio in good taste and pattern used in bad taste. However, that’s not to say you should shy away from pattern altogether.

In fact, when you know how to balance bold patterns, you will pull off a Pin­worthy patio! Your friends and family will ask for your secrets, and you’ll want to show off your awesome patio all summer long.

Below you’ll find the ultimate how­to in balancing bold pattern.


Choose Carefully

We get it. Bold patterns are daunting; scary, even. However, out of fear of overkill, many people end up with plain patio décor. But that’s just no fun. The first part of smartly using bold pattern throughout your patio space is to choose carefully.

For starters, you should choose a print that you absolutely love! This is your space, after all, and when you use a bold, eye­grabbing pattern, it’s a must that you like it. Think about your overall theme of the patio also. This will help you select a print that’s right for you.

For a chic, sophisticated outdoor space, a red and white damask print may be the bold pattern for you. On the other hand, if your decorating style is more bohemian, a turquoise and gold ikat pattern is one that can’t be missed. For those with an electric taste, a bright yellow and white leopard print may be just the statement you want to make.

Lastly, there are two more things to keep in mind that will help you with balance later. First, be sure to aim for a large­scale print. When you go with small, the pattern will look washed out from a distance – which is the exact opposite from bold. Also, be sure the pattern includes the colors you want to use throughout the patio and on other patterns. That way, the bold print will not only look cohesive, but will also draw the eye there first.

Think of Texture

Pattern is definitely the fun part. However, to create a balanced look with your bold prints, you can’t forget texture. Texture is important to any space because it adds depth. Adding texture to a space is easier than it might sound. Here are few ideas on where/how to add texture to your patio:

  • Wicker furniture
  • Woven baskets
  • Navajo style throw blanket (also consider this a pattern!)
  • Woven outdoor rug
  • Exposed stitching on fabric
  • Wood grain furniture
  • Tile

Rule of Three’s

Using three patterns in a space might make it sound like print overload, but when you strategically use one bold print, with two complementing patterns, this is the key to a balanced yet bold patio. However, to make it work, you have to vary the scale and size of each pattern. Here’s how:

o   Pattern 1

Your first pattern should be large scale, and it is supposed to make the strongest statement in your space. This is your bold pattern. It will set the tone for the other patterns throughout the space.


o   Pattern 2

Next, select a pattern that is about half the scale and size of your first pattern. For example, if you chose a large­scale suzani print, you might opt for a smaller geometric as your second choice.

o   Pattern 3

Your third pattern is similar to either of the other patterns. Just be sure to incorporate the same colors to tie all the patterns together. For example, a small­scale gingham or plaid might complement large floral and geometric patterns in the space.

Keep in mind that you have creative free range here. Whether you choose a chaise lounge to represent your bold pattern or you want your outdoor sofa’s throw pillows to draw the eye in with a jolt of pattern, just make sure you stick with the rule of threes. Vary the scale, size, and pattern for an expert look.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Lastly, it does take a small amount of trial and error to find that perfect balance for your bold patterns. You aren’t decorating if you aren’t experimenting. Maybe you’ve always wanted to experiment with the coral and navy color palette.

Start with a bright, tropical coral print. Once you have that in place and where you want it on the patio, gradually add bits of navy or stripes into the space. You might be surprised what comes about when you experiment.

At Pillow Perfect, bold pattern play is encouraged! We want you to show off your creative best in your gorgeous patio spaces. It’s not too late to give that bland or long ignored patio space a fresh new look for summer.

Along with stressing the importance of using pattern correctly, we also strive to cater to everyone’s needs and tastes. From our extensive collection of outdoor cushions, throw pillows, and fabric by the yard, to our patio umbrellas, you are sure to find all the bold patterns and bright colors you could hope for. Happy decorating!

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