Pattern Play: Embracing Bold Upholstery in Your Design

Think Interior
6 min readMar 31, 2023

Patterns can transform a space, bringing it to life and adding personality. Embracing bold upholstery is an effective way to incorporate patterns into your design. It can elevate the design and create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere when done correctly. Bold upholstery is a trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years, with more and more people opting for daring patterns and textures to add a touch of excitement to their interiors.

You can learn about pattern play and incorporating bold upholstery in your design through an interior design course. Many interior design programs offer courses in textile design and upholstery, which cover topics such as pattern selection, mixing and matching patterns, and pairing with solid colors. In this article, we’ll explore the art of pattern play and how to incorporate bold upholstery into your design.

Choosing the Right Pattern

The first step in incorporating bold upholstery into your design is choosing the right pattern. Consider the overall style of your space and choose a pattern that complements it. Consider a classic damask or floral pattern if your design is more traditional. For a more modern space, opt for geometric patterns or abstract designs. When choosing a pattern, pay attention to scale. A large pattern on a small piece of furniture can overwhelm the space, while a small pattern on a large piece of furniture can be lost. Finding the right balance is key.

Choosing the right pattern is crucial when using bold upholstery in interior design. It’s important to consider the overall aesthetic of the room and the other elements that will be incorporated into the space. It’s also important to consider the pattern’s scale concerning the size of the furniture piece it will be applied. Large patterns can overwhelm small pieces and vice versa. It’s also essential to consider the room’s color palette, as the pattern should complement and enhance the other colors in the space.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the space’s function and the upholstery material’s durability. Choosing fabrics that are easy to clean and can withstand wear and tear is best for high-traffic areas. Overall, the right pattern should add interest and depth to the space without overwhelming it.

Mixing and Matching Patterns

Mixing and matching patterns is one of the most important aspects of pattern play. While it may initially seem daunting, it can create a truly unique and personalized space. When mixing patterns, choose patterns with different scales and textures. For example, pair a large-scale floral pattern with a small-scale geometric pattern. Consider incorporating patterns in varying colors to create depth and interest. There are a few key rules to remember when mixing and matching patterns. First, choose patterns with a similar color palette or theme to ensure a cohesive look. You can also vary the scale of patterns, such as pairing a large floral print with a smaller geometric pattern. Another tip is to use a solid neutral color as a buffer between two bold patterns. For example, if you have a bold-striped sofa, consider adding a solid-colored throw pillow before adding another patterned pillow. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with pattern mixing — sometimes unexpected combinations can create the most interesting and dynamic design.

Another way to mix patterns is to use a consistent color scheme throughout the space. It can help tie the patterns together and create a cohesive look. Remember to balance the patterns throughout the space so that no one pattern feels too overwhelming. Finally, mix patterns in your accessories, such as throw pillows or curtains, to bring the whole space together.

Consider the Rest of the Space

When incorporating bold upholstery into your design, it’s important to consider the rest of the space. Choose a pattern that complements the room’s color scheme and design elements. Consider a more subtle pattern to balance the space if the room already has bold patterns or textures. Alternatively, consider a bold pattern to add interest and excitement if the space is relatively neutral.

When embracing bold upholstery and patterns in your design, it’s important to consider the rest of the space. You want the patterned pieces to stand out but not to the point where they clash with other elements in the room. Consider the colors and patterns already present in the space, and aim to complement or contrast them with the bold upholstery you choose.

For example, if you have a neutral color scheme with many beige and cream tones, consider adding a boldly patterned chair in a rich jewel tone or a graphic black and white print. It will add interest and depth to the space without overwhelming it. On the other hand, if your space already has a lot of patterned elements, such as a wallpapered accent wall or a rug with a bold design, consider choosing a solid color for your upholstery to balance out the visual weight in the room.

It’s also important to consider the scale and size of the pattern concerning the rest of the space. If the space is small, a large and bold pattern may be too overwhelming and make the space feel cluttered. Opt for smaller patterns or even a textured solid color fabric in this case. Conversely, a bold and large pattern may be needed in a larger space to make the space feel cohesive and well-designed.

The key is to balance the bold upholstery and the rest of the space, creating a harmonious and visually appealing design.

Pairing with Solid Colors

Another way to incorporate bold upholstery is by pairing it with solid colors. A bold pattern can be overwhelming, but it can create a balanced and cohesive design when paired with solid colors. Choose solid colors that complement the pattern and consider using them in other room areas to create a cohesive look. When it comes to boldly patterned upholstery, it’s important to consider pairing it with solid colors to create a balanced and cohesive look. Solid colors provide a visual break and allow the patterns to stand out even more. If you’re unsure which solid color to use, try picking one from the pattern itself, or go for a neutral, white, beige, or gray, which can complement any pattern. It’s also important to consider the existing color scheme in the room and choose a solid color that can complement or contrast it pleasingly. Pairing boldly patterned upholstery with solid colors can create a visually interesting and harmonious space.

For example, if your patterned upholstery features shades of blue and green, consider pairing it with a solid blue or green accent chair or throw pillows. If the pattern features warm, earthy tones such as brown, rust, and mustard, consider pairing it with a neutral beige or cream solid color.

Another approach is to choose a solid color that contrasts with the dominant color in the pattern. For instance, if your patterned upholstery features shades of pink and purple, consider pairing it with a solid green accent chair or throw pillows. This contrast will make the pattern stand out and create a bold, eye-catching design. It’s also important to consider the texture of the solid fabric. Mixing different textures can add depth and interest to the design. For instance, if the patterned upholstery is smooth and sleek, pair it with a chunky knit or textured solid-color throw blanket.

When pairing patterns and solid colors, it’s best to use a 70% pattern to 30% solid color ratio to ensure a balanced design. Feel free to experiment with combinations once you find one that works well in your space.


Incorporating bold upholstery into your design can be fun and exciting to add personality and interest to your space. When choosing patterns, consider the space’s overall style and find a pattern that complements it. Mix and match patterns with different scales and textures to create a dynamic design. Consider the rest of the space and pair patterns with solid colors to create balance and cohesion. By embracing pattern play, you can create a space that is uniquely yours.

By taking an interior design and decoration course, you can gain valuable skills and knowledge that will help you incorporate bold upholstery into your designs with confidence and creativity.



Think Interior

Think Interior provides you with the highest standards of education in interior design to enhance your ability of creating ideas.