Pattern or Solid: Yay or Nay

You read my blog because colour really and truly affects the way you feel every single day in your home. When I am hired for a consultation, many times I’m clear it’s because it’s not easy to decide what there is to change because each change then creates another change. It opens a can of worms.

Just like renovations to your home. You change the carpet and suddenly the tile that connects to it looks old and dated. You move into a new home that seems 10 times better than your last one but then the kitchen starts looking old and you start thinking about a new one.

Sometimes a client will call me because they need validation that their colours and the direction they are going with their decorating is working.

Photos by Maria Killam

 My lovely client Lisa in Seattle has a beautiful, brand new home with a lovely private drive leading up to it. The exterior colour is Pratt & Lambert Wendigo. It’s 3 years old but Lisa and her husband are still installing the finishing touches.

She had found so many stunning chandeliers and light fixtures on eBay for a song (which I now wish I had photographed). I seriously need to figure out how to do that; I have never shopped on eBay!

Sorry the picture is dark, the light from the windows always creates that with a snap and point camera!

Lisa’s primary concern was the great room. She had a sectional and antique chairs that carried the theme from the rest of the house. Since one of the main focal points was the great room which you could see from the entry, I suggested changing the simple contemporary sofa table for one of her antiques (below).

We carried it down and I tweaked the great tablescape she already had by adding some framed photos and filling in the area below the desk.

I also recommended switching out the existing solid, cut and bound rug for an oriental one that would tie in the green chairs and gold/yellow sectional. The room needed a unifying element. Lisa confessed that she gets tired of pattern easily which is why she doesn’t readily purchase it for her home.


Here’s an example of a room with three solid colours in the upholstery which are unified by the area rug. If you decide pattern really isn’t for you, then you need to reduce the number of colours in the space to one or two maximum.

Barbara Barry

 Here (above) we have a monochromatic palette which works well without pattern.

In the above photo, the charcoal sofa and cream area rug and drapes act as a neutral along the pale blue chairs and ottoman.


Lisa’s living and dining room which flanked the entry were painted in Pratt & Lambert Raven and the main colour which carried into the great room and the ceilings are Pratt & Lambert Petaluma.

The ceiling in the entry was separate which allowed for a different colour and she had it painted the same colour as her living/dining room which added high drama to the space.

Since all the ceilings were the same colour as the walls throughout the main areas of the house I suggested repainting them a lighter colour since the same colour goes darker on the ceiling. She liked this plan over changing the colour in the dining room to reflect the accent colour which was also one of my suggestions.

I had to snap a photo of how she displayed her kitchen utensils! Such a great idea for a large kitchen, it looks like a bouquet of flowers! Thank you Lisa for allowing me to show your beautiful home!

What about you? How do you feel about pattern? How much is too much?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

Are your Colours Married?

Does your Home have Colour Flow? Take the Toss cushion Test

2 Questions to ask before you Renovate/Decorate

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leave aREPLY

  1. love what you did with switching out the sofa table! Looks beautiful and so loved.

    i'm a pattern-lover but love to be able to switch up my patterns… i find the constant patterns in my home (rugs, upholstery, curtains) and are much harder to decide upon than things like pillows, artowkr, etc.

    great job on the house!!

  2. Hi Maria, I really enjoyed this post. The house you showed us and the colors are gorgeous! I really think the changes you suggested added some energy to the room that was needed though.

    I was getting tired of too much color in the livingroom myself, but the gold accents were a great idea! And I got brave and tried a really obvious pattern in the area rug. I do wish it was bigger. We really want a cowhide rug someday.

    I think pattern is great if the rest of the decor is quieter and vice versa.

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  3. Urgent help request! My fire damaged shake cedar cottage, very similar in lines to this house is under construction. I love the roof and exterior colors. Any chance you might know the manufacture and color of the shingles. Which white did you use for the trim with the Wendingo house body color? THANKS A BILLON!

  4. The exterior color is NOT P&L Wendigo. P&L Wendigo is a deep and quite displeasing brown. Can you double check?

    • Hi Stephanie, This was the colour the client gave me once I posted this house and everyone wanted the colour and it is a brown/gray. Maria

  5. I love the external colors used for this house. My hubby and I are on a search for the exterior of our house and would love to know what colors were used???? TIA