Kelly Wearstler's 6 Favourite Places to Use Pattern at Home
My clients’ tastes run the gamut from minimal and refined to boisterous and avant-garde. My job as a designer is to run their vision through my filter, calling upon my knowledge of art history and vintage and contemporary sources to channel a vibe that is personally resonant and one of a kind. Pattern and colour often evoke strong feelings. Art that elicits a strong reaction in the viewer is my favourite. I have always been drawn to pattern, be it a beautifully tiled floor, a hand-painted wall covering, or an iconic rug. When it comes to pattern in a space, one adage applies: The dose makes the poison.
I adore stones and tile. I visit stone yards and private gem dealers monthly in Los Angeles, and am constantly sourcing from artisanal tile factories and stone boutiques all around the world. On a recent visit to Turkey this summer, I was inspired by the remarkable, ornate tile work in traditional Turkish homes and mosques. Electric blue hues and vibrant patterns were all around.
I often skin walls in stone or marble. When selecting a stone pattern to be used as a wall covering, I tend to gravitate toward pieces with a lot of movement and depth. Thoughtful metal detailing and geometric patterns are the perfect foil to decadent, organic stone.
Nothing adds soul to a space like a distinctive wall covering. It envelops the room in such a unique spirit. Small spaces such as closets and bathrooms offer the opportunity to experiment with a bolder print. A pattern such as my Channels Wallpaper design is ideal for tight quarters. Designs that may read as too loud in larger quantities are a great choice to accentuate in moderation, such as on a ceiling or one wall. In smaller doses, they evoke just the right amount of drama. A quiet wall covering creates quiet texture and adds dimension to a space.
Choosing patterns and textures for furnishings is a cool way to give vintage pieces new soul or quickly update the vibe of a space. I love highly textured materials in solid colours to ground prints—lush tweeds, weathered vintage leather, cut mohair velvets. Throw pillows are a tried-and-true way of updating any interior. There should be a hierarchy when mixing prints that includes scale changes and colour value changes. Patterns with movement and colour add new life.
My collection for The Rug Company is so close to my heart. The perfect rug can really tie a room together. Printed and textured fabrics paired with rich colorways that add dimension are the foundation of my collection. I love a statement rug. If the floor is the focal point of the room, I will ground the overall look with furnishings that have a quieter voice. If the pattern is adventurous and large, a neutral colorway will enable it to exist without fighting for attention amidst brighter colours.
A motif that runs throughout my collections is repetition. Stripes, perforation, organic shapes, and geometric patterns carry a predictability and natural symmetry that make the overall designs balanced—even when covering a substantial surface area. A complicated stair railing can be dramatic and evocative; the repetition adds harmony and texture to this space.
For this closet, I created an Art Deco-inspired pattern in the wall using burnished white gold leaf over wood paneling. The result is an iconic jewel box of a room that feels glamorous and artisanal. It reminds me a bit of one of Gustav Klimt’s incredible golden canvases.
Many times a fantastic work of art can embody the entire theme of a room. When working from a bold piece of art, I love to pair abstract shapes with stripes, or juxtapose super-organic, feminine curves with more angular lines. The tension between opposites is sexy to me. A pop of pastel can balance out deep masculine hues such as navy or black.
Think of your space as a conversation. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind!
Love colour. Take risks. Stay curious. Xk
For more pattern inspiration, follow Kelly on Instagram @kellywearstler.
Where have you used pattern in your home? Tell us in the comments below!