Monday, March 10, 2014

Decorating With The Quatrefoil Motif

In art, architecture, and traditional Christian symbolism, the quatrefoil is a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially overlapping circles of the same diameter. The word quatrefoil means "four leaves", from Latin quattuor, four, plus folium, a leaf.The quatrefoil enjoyed its peak popularity during the Gothic and Renaissance eras.

Quatrefoil decor has been trendy for the past few years and in some parts of the country is just catching on. To be honest I have a love/hate relationship with the current use of this design motif. I love the bright colors if used in the Preppy "Lily Pulitzer" style where the whole look is bright and flamboyant. It works for them because they have the accessories and furnishing to pull off a look this dramatic. However it doesn't work so well in homes where one whole bedroom is papered in bright quatrefoil and then left by itself with no supporting cast. This is an element that if not used with restraint and finesse can become harsh and garish very quickly and this is what I see most of the time. It is a hard design for do-it-yourselfers to pull off and is one that I recommend the assistance of a decorator. In my opinion quatrefoil is best used in small doses in most homes,and as subtly applied as possible so it remains pleasant to the eye. The modern wallpapers in bright colors, while exciting at first glance, is not something most people will find they want to live with for long. 

That said , I do like this element if it is well designed and eye pleasing. Below are some images that I hope you will find helpful if decorating with quatrefoil is in your design plans.

Though trendy at present, the quatrefoil is an old world motif. Details of quatrefoil on St. Marks Cathedral by Trystkeeper on Flicker


The motif on the windows of a balcony in Venice.

These are the common quatrefoil patterns. Left - With less overlap. Center - Barbed quatrefoil, pierced at the angles by the points of an inscribed square. Right - With more overlap.

My favorite way to use the quatrefoil pattern is in bits and pieces, Here on an antique table, there on an antique picture frame. It can give a room instant old world flair.

Kelly Harmons Designs

This is a classical element that you should incorporate into the very architecture of your home whenever possible!

If you want to add a touch of quatrefoil without getting too trendy, try a piece of furniture designed with the pattern.

via pinterest

A headboard is another great place to start.

Alexandra quatrefoil side chair from Hickory Chair

Blue Tile by Lorin, other images via Pinterest

Quatrefoil designs have been showing up everywhere lately.

A pretty bedroom with a subtle touch of quatrefoil to make it trendy. If you wanted more you could add some pillows.

Quatrefoil mirrors have become a very popular design element. 

via Pinterest

Brewster Home Fashions

Please use caution with wallpapers in this pattern. They can go South on you rather quickly. Some of the worst mistakes I have seen have been in the use of quatrefoil wallpapers.

I love this room with it's quatrefoils designed into the windows. If you are fortunate enough to have customized windows by all means add some of this motif.

via pinterest

This bed features a soft, subtle blend of  patterns that include quatrefoil.

In this lovely space the quatrefoil motif comes across as soft and feminine.

There are many beautiful fabrics in quatrefoil patterns to choose from today.

Also many accessories today feature this trendy pattern.

via pinterest

Quatrefoil print works well in combination with other patterns. Here it holds it's own against a bold, orange, zebra like fabric.

While the trendy patterns of quatrefoil are bright and vibrant, I still prefer this design element in a more old world style interior.

Here it is used subtly on a stylish headboard for surefire sophistication.

Console built on top of quatrafoil windows. I love the more authentic look this brings.

Quatrefoil is a great pattern for stenciling. Look what it did to refresh this piece of furniture.

Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs

Oh my! These patio pieces with quatrefoil design are stunning!!

Upholstery in a great way to incorporate the pattern into your room for a fresh look.

That one quatrefoil pillow packs a punch in this lovely room proving that you don't have to saturate with this design.

Gabby Home Edward Ottoman
Henry Link Quatrefoil Chairside Table

Again just one quatrefoil, but what energy it brings to this room.

Suzanne Kelly Designs

The chair and the light fixture use two different patterns of quatrefoil for one great look.

The eclectic Palu Hemsworth headboard featuring a quatrefoil cutout insures a global influence for this interior.

Click here to see the previous post!

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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