Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Decorating With Mixed Patterns

For  success in your home decor, be sure to incorporate pattern and texture with your color. The goal is to artfully mix patterns, colors, and styles for an effect that's just right. Many homeowners are terribly shy when it comes to the use of multiple mixed patterns in the design of their decor.  However, introducing pattern to a room instantly energizes and adds interest. These could be patterns printed on wallpaper, painted on walls, in tiles, woven into fabrics, in tapestries and wallhangings, the possibilities are endless.

Have you ever wanted to bring new life to a tired room without having to start all over? The answer might be as simple as adding a new mix of pattern! Today we have such a great variety of wonderful patterns available to us that it’s fun and easy to improve any room’s personality in a matter of hours by mixing and layering lovely patterns. By changing even a few small items, you can create a big impact on a room. 

I like mixing multiple patterns because of the interest it brings to a room. Some of the images I have posted below may be too layered for some tastes but you can still use them to learn from. After all you can always take away a pattern or two. Maybe just a punch of mixed, colorful, pattern in a room is all you need to breathe new life into your living space. Keep scrolling, there are mixes for everyone's taste including the tone on tone pattern mix. If you have considered using patterns and pretty prints in your decor but are afraid of your interiors looking like one big kaleidoscope, here are some useful interior design tips to help to make your decision a confident one.

Henri Samuel

Designer Henri Samuel creates a feast for the eyes in this wonderful room. Layering patterns can be challenging, but when done right, the payoff is well worth the effort. If this is too much for you practice on it by taking away elements and deciding on at least 2 other patterns you would like to continue to use against the green marbled effect background. Maybe just the rug, the red tufted ottoman and the leafy patterned chairs.

Jacque Garcia

Whether or not you have the kind of wonderful high-ceilinged spaces that predominate here, you can learn much from how the patterns are mixed.

Geoffrey Bennison

European style pattern mixes include florals, chintz, toile, chinoiserie, checks, plaid and stripes which provide lots of ideas for combining all kinds of prints in striking and unusual ways.

Ralph Lauren's country house. He uses lots of pattern against a solid background of white walls. The solid sofa also allows the patterns to take center stage. Most people find it easier and more comfortable to mix this way using the patterns on accent pieces, accessories and pillows.

Cowtan & Tout fabrics

Patterns with themes of flowers and nature accented with candy colors are romantic yet whimsical, and appeal to feminine sensibilities!

A general rule of thumb for mixing pattern in interior design is to use large patterns on large furnishings, medium on medium, and small prints on small things such as accent pieces. However, as you can see in this picture the small print is on the medium sized sofa and the large stripes on on small pillows. So basically you can throw the rule out the window. It is best if you can learn to trust your eye, It will tell you if it looks right.

A lovely mix of florals and plaid and the quilt brings the "pop". Choose a very different pattern that's half the scale or size of the first pattern. If your first pattern is a large floral, the second pattern could be a plaid or geometric shape that has some of the same colors. Then add one more, usually  a small scale. Always select at least 3 patterns. In decorating think in terms of odd numbers.

The plaid window treatment with several small scale prints on the chair and sofa and some large decorative printed pillows for energy. The whole room is anchored by the rug. This is a great example of the use of color and  mixed pattern.

Wall coverings are also a way to introduce pattern into a room and it can be the leading star or a supporting actor. It is important that you maintain balance when working with pattern.

Generally, there are four types of pattern, namely floral, geometric, motif and pictorial. Here you have it all. When mixing and matching pattern, always select a recurring color or theme. Avoid using more than one pattern of a similar scale; pair a large motif with a small print. 

The scale of each pattern is different from the others so they don't compete with each other. There should be plenty of solid colors too, like in this room, so the mixed patterns don't overwhelm the room.

Every room needs a dominant pattern and smaller supporting patterns.

The Dorthy Draper style of bold colors and  mixed patterns.

Mario Buatta

The rug is the center of attention here with a softer subtle mixing of patterns supporting it at eye level.

Denning and Fourcade

If you like English interiors, then you must learn to be comfortable with multiple layers of pattern.

Pattern mixing today is easier since companies manufacture companion fabrics. If you don't trust your own eye you can always decorate with these.

If the largest scale pattern is not very bold you may want to use stronger patterns in pillows or accent pieces. This background wallpaper has a large pattern but it doesn't overwhelm, it just sets the stage for bolder pillows.

Lot's of pattern but all in keeping with the same color palette.

Michelle Nussbaumer

Similar color ways is also another way to unify different patterns. These pillows are all different designs but the colors are all the same..Sometimes you may find a fabric that is reversible or comes in two versions of the same design - the negative and positive forms of the design. That's a very effective way to mix patterns also.

Abstract and geometric patterns mixed together bring a more contemporary feel to a room.

Here is an example of mixing small pattern on the background with bolder on accents and draperies.

Pattern can also be introduced through artwork. This room has a successful mix of pattern.

source unknown

Modern, chic, and layered with pattern.

A solid sofa is the ideal place to be bold with pattern! Toss on some lovely mixed patterned pillows.

I love to bring pattern in by way of furniture. I like it painted or carved .... just subtle touches of pattern throughout. There are at least 10 patterns in this room but they are subdued  and well mixed so that they accent instead of overwhelm the room.

source unknown

Another lovely mixing of pattern. Tone on tone pattern is more subtle and perhaps a better choice for those of you who just aren't interested in going bold.

You don't have to use colored patterns in a room - neutrals work very well too. There are many different patterns  in this room but it has a very cohesive feeling.

 With neutrals the most important thing to remember is make sure you stay with the same family whether it is cream, taupe, beige, white. They don't mix well together and your room will be a disaster.

Tobi Fairley

Gold tone on tone with great pattern and texture.

 Mixed pattern and texture are crucial to the neutral room's success. Without it you simply have a beige room.

It is hard to explain how to mix pattern because so much depends on the eye and there are so many combinations to choose from. Have fun with pattern and remember almost anything goes in today's interior design.I hope this post has been of some help to you.

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Lisa Farmer

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Interiors Of Chateau de Malmaison

Château de Malmaison was a country home of Napoléon and Joséphine, purchased by her before her husband became emperor and crowned her empress in 1804. Malmaison is a little jewel box filled with furniture, sculpture, portraits, porcelain and other personal treasures. It’s small, but it is elegant and beautifully decorated. 

As any royal would do she enlisted the top architects of the day, Percier and Fontaine, to provide luxurious details and sumptuous décor – all the efforts of which blew her budget. Upon his return from Egypt, Napoléon clearly forgave his wife for her extravagant decorating venture. 

The property achieved enduring fame for its rose garden. She created an extensive collection of roses, gathering plants from her native Martinique and from other places around the world. She grew some 250 varieties of roses.Birds and animals of all sorts began to enrich her garden, where they were allowed to roam free among the grounds. At the height of her days at Malmaison, Joséphine had the company of kangaroos, emus, black swans, zebras, gazelles, ostriches, chamois, seals, antelopes and llamas to name a few.Most of the extensive grounds have returned to their natural state, but there are a few rose and flower gardens.

Napoléon later divorced Joséphine, as she was unable to provide a male heir, and she resided at Malmaison until her death in 1814.

Italian, Gaspare Luigi Pacifico Spontini was Empress Josephine's favorite composer so I thought it would be nice to listen to the music she loved while you visit her home.

Reception at Malmaison in 1802 Painting

From 1800 to 1802 this small castle became, together with the Tuileries, the seat of the French government, and frequently hosted the ministers of the Consulate.

The entrance to the Chateau was designed to look like a Military Tent.

According to his secretary, Malmaison was "the only place next to the battlefield where he was truly himself".

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Chateau Malmaison is the presence of the Empress Josephine that is sensed there. It was after all she who selected and decorated this residence, and after the divorce Napoleon ceded the chateau to her, where she was to live out her days. She and Napoleon had a very stormy relationship. He met her while his star was rising during the Revolution, and fell deeply in love with her.

On the ground floor, their first task was the vestibule: rather than replacing two broken beams on the first floor, the architects supported them with four wooden posts transformed into stucco columns, giving the overall appearance of the atrium of a Roman villa. To open the vestibule onto the adjoining rooms during receptions, a mechanism was installed enabling the mirrors to slide into the walls, thus transforming the billiards room and dining room into reception rooms,

The dining room with its harmony of subtle colors, is a perfect illustration of Pompeian style.

The rounded end of the Dining Room leading out to the stairwell.

Among the existing instruments in the Music Room, the most precious is certainly the harp (from mahogany, golden bronze and pearl), which belonged to Empress. 

The harp belonging to the Empress Josephine.

Another of the Music Room's lovely instruments.

Looking towards Josephines music room - Picture of Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison

This photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Beautiful torcheres adorn the Music Room.

The Consulate Chamber is designed to look like a military tent.

The Emperor's chair in the Consulate Chambers.

The Library whose magnificent original decoration has been preserved - contains furniture which was mainly brought from the Tuileries. A secret staircase led Napoleon directly to his rooms on the first floor.

Emperor Napoleon's desk. Sphinxes, winged lions and creatures with heads of eagles were employed as table legs and armrests on chairs. These symbols of power made a direct visual connection between his regime and the glory and authority of the ancient Roman emperors.

In this picture you can see that the room was beautifully decorated from top to bottom. The ceiling is exquisite and notice the stunning rug.

Another image of the Library ceiling.

This portion of the library also has a fabulous ceiling.

The Salon doré  features two big paintings on the theme of Ossian, six armchairs decorated with Egyptian heads and the fireplace of white marble offered by pope Pie VII in 1802. Salon doré was remodelled to the taste of empress Joséphine by her architect Louis-Martin Berthault.

A close up of the beautiful chairs in the Salon doré. 

Josephine's apartments feature velvet covered, gold leafed chairs flanked by painted swans whose image of power is reflected in a coordinating, round, Aubusson carpet indicating that the riches continued to flow at this glorious home. Although Napoleon and Josephine had separate bedrooms, they are believed to have slept together quite often. It was normal in those days for husband and wife to each have their own bedrooms, and even their own suite of rooms if they could afford it.

An image of the room shot from a different angle.

The richest of Malmaison’s decor is found in The Empress’s tented bedroom. While traveling in Milan during the summer of 1812, Josephine decided to have her old bedroom freshened up a bit by architect Louis-Martin Berthault. 

I am a fan of the decorated ceiling.....and this one is stunning.

Imagine the delight she must have experienced upon discovering her new bed created by acclaimed furniture maker Jacob-Desmalter – one watched over by golden imperial eagles and flanked on either side by romantic swans and abundant cornucopias.

A more modest space, this is The Emperor’s Bedroom. The regal bed originally came from the Tuileries Palace.  Once again crafted by Jacob-Desmalter, the busts of a lovely ladies realized in bronze and decorated in gold, must have kept the emperor in feminine company each night.

Caryatids were a big design element of the Empire style and were used on chairs, tables, and other furniture. This style was influenced by ideas Napoleon brought back from his time spent in Egypt.

The Austerlitz Table, inlaid with Sevres plaques commemorating Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz, 1808-10

The drawing room in the Emperor's apartments. 

The Drawing Room contains many portraits of members of the imperial family.

The pièce de résistance of the artwork at Malmaison is located in Napoleon's chambers. It is Jacques-Louis David’s painting “Napoleon Crossing the Alps.” The big oil on canvas, 8'6"x7'3", is the original canvas of this famous painting (subsequently, David painted four more versions, which are found in museums throughout France).

The Billiard Room

Napoleon was an avid pool player.

In her garden at the Chateau de Malmaison, Josephine  possessed one of the largest collections of roses in Europe.

Looking towards Josephines music room - Picture of Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison

If you have been to Chateau de Malmaison, I would love to hear comments about your visit.

As you can see many of the images came from, a lovely site and worth a visit!

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Lisa Farmer
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