8 Reasons to Use Pattern in Your Room

A bold patterned bench creates a focal point in an entrywayPatterns are an important decorating tool, and whether you prefer quiet patterns or bold patterns, every room should include a few. We use them strategically for all sorts of reasons, so we thought we’d share why you need to work them into your design plan.

Pattern brings personality to a room | Ballard Designs1. Personality

One of the more obvious reasons to use a pattern is that you can use them to express your personality. The colors, the type of pattern, and the application of the pattern all say something different about you, your family, and your home. We’re big believers that your home should represent who you are, so we encourage you to find a print that speaks to you and have fun with it!

Floral patterns help you change your look up for the seasons2. Change with the Seasons

Patterns evoke a certain feel, and if you like the idea of switching things up from season to season, a pattern can certainly help you do that. Perhaps you use throw pillows in vibrant florals during the summer, then switch to plaid pillows during the fall.

3. Hides Stains

A pattern on a piece of upholstery or rug is the perfect way to camouflage stains in busy rooms of the house. The floral print on the chairs around this breakfast table will help mask any ‘oops’ moments you may have, and this vibrant coral rug can keep spills or paw prints from being obvious.

4. Draws Attention

We’ve talked before about how important focal points are — every room should have at least one — and a pattern is a great way to create a focal point in a room. Take this canopy for example. In every bedroom, the bed should really be the first thing to draw you in, and a brightly pattern canopy (or headboard) does just that in this space.

Mix together a floral and an animal print to create tension and contrast in your room | Ballard Designs5. Contrast and Tension

Miles Redd is always talking about how important it is to work tension into your room. Choose a couple of disparate elements that can blend together, and you’ll make your space more interesting. We love mixing together patterns that feel like opposites, like we’ve done in the family room above. The orange floral print and bold cheetah contrast one another, but together, they liven up a white sectional and give the room a sense of fun.

6. Perks Up Neutrals

Neutrals are an important element in a room. After all, not every item in your space can be a pattern. But together, patterns help perk up neutral elements, working together to create a balanced space. In the bedroom above, we chose a simple neutral performance fabric for our club chair, but a more colorful bench at the end of the bed helps bring life to the bedroom. A neutral bench wouldn’t have had the same effect. These two pieces work together to make the room practical and also packed with personality.

A palm printed pattern transports you to a tropical local in this poolside space | Ballard Designs7. Transport You

Use fabrics to transport you to another place, like your favorite vacation spot. A great floral or palm print, like we used in this poolside space, can have a strong personality that speak volumes on its own. 

Use a bold patterned rug to anchor your room | Ballard Designs8. Anchors a Room

Every room needs at least one big piece that anchors the space. In most cases, a rug or one big piece of furniture (like a sectional or media unit) do this beautifully. It’s got a bold presence and it’s the jumping off point for everything else in the space. Here, we’ve used a patterned rug to help bring some weight to the floor, allowing us to keep everything else light and neutral. Patterned drapes are another great way to do this!


Browse our all of our fabrics, learn to mix patterns, or find more inspiration in the Get Inspired section of our website.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    June 15, 2018

    Thanks for the inspiration! Could you do a one day makeover using some of the items already owned? Love those to make me rethink how I use things.