The Art of Patterns: How To Liven Up Your Nursery
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The Art of Patterns: How To Liven Up Your Nursery

By Chantal Maddocks

Working with fabric patterns can be very intimidating. There are literally endless varieties of designs to choose from that can make your nursery look spectacular or like a deranged train wreck. If you are looking to test out your design skills and take your nursery to the next level, try working with patterns to give your baby room just the right touch. Here are some pattern basics to help guide you in the right direction.

Types of Patterns
Lets go over different types of patterns that can add more personality to your nursery theme. To start, you can generally place patterns in two categories:

Contemporary: bold, clean, simple patterns with minimal colors that are designed to add contrast and make a statement. Examples are stripes, checks, chevron, geometric shapes, whimsical, animal prints, and more.

Traditional: more details and colors that often represent a time, period or region. Examples include French toile, damask, floral, paisley, pictorial, and anything that represents a specific culture or era.

How To Choose
There is no cookie-cutter method of choosing the right pattern. You can narrow down your selection by choosing the nursery theme and color you prefer. Then do your research and search the internet and Pinterest, interior decorating magazines, and home decor and baby furniture stores that have professional displays to help inspire you.

Testing 1, 2, 3
A great way to apply your ideas is to visit a fabric store and collect different swatches of patterns to see how it would work with your nursery. If you have a color printer, you can even print out images of patterns and test them out. Just like testing out different paint colors, get a handful of pattern swatches and see which combinations look the best. And donít forget to throw in neutral and solid colors to add contrast and balance.

Playing It Safe or Hard

You can always play it safe and go with the most popular method by choosing one pattern that you absolutely love and skillfully placing it throughout your nursery. Itís a wonderful way to liven up your baby room and can be applied to any contemporary or traditional theme. But if you are feeling adventurous and want to mix and match patterns like the big shots, here are some useful tips that will help you work with multiple patterns:

Contrast is king. Mix and match patterns that are of similar size, but completely different styles. Try Greek keys and whimsical floral, animals print and stripes, checks and solids.

Try using a large-scaled pattern with small-scaled patterns. Having a cluster of different sized patterns will look chaotic and disjointed. Practice consistency with similar sized patterns, with one large pattern to lead the pack.

5 patterns or less is a good amount to work with. As a closet minimalist, I think less means more. So donít go overboard with the number of patterns or your nursery will look like a cluttered mess.

Layering your patterns is a great method of showcasing your patterns in a selected area and highlights the contrast in designs. Again, donít forget to throw in neutrals and solids to help balance your designs.

Find aunifying theme and colors that will tie all your patterns and designs together. It will give your nursery design structure and much more pleasing than cramming a bunch of patterns together that donít make sense.

Expand your pattern options from decor to baby bedding, blankets, pillows, walls, carpet or flooring, drapes, ceiling and more. Go with your gut and see which areas need more umph.

So there is your crash course in using patterns to liven up your nursery and give it a unique touch that you will completely love. Patterns can add personality to your nursery theme, or you can combine several different patterns to create an eclectic theme of your own. Always plan ahead and test out all the wonderful varieties to turn your baby room into a work of art.

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