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Jan 09 2019

Comeback of patterns and decors in interior design

Simple beauties writhe in front of the animated background: patterns and motifs alternate from the sofa to the wall and floor. Skilfully combined, the result is always a good motif.

Patterns don't have it easy in our homes right now. One looks for them in vain in many wall elements, upholstered furniture, shelves or carpets. Popular in interior design are full-surface, modern colours or colour harmonies, both in the living room and in the kitchen and bathroom. Really? A trend toward the pattern is already evident.

The use of patterns is a challenge. Patterns are considered decorative, and are thus per se nice to look at, according to the mass-compatible misconception of entire generations. That it's possible to do a lot wrong is proven by countless living rooms, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. With the advance of digitalisation, and of flat areas on the floor, ceiling and wall, it is primarily a sense of modernity that should be created.

Aside from the showers of stars of motif-loving vintage fans and ethnically inspired textiles, patterns could hardly assert themselves in recent years. At the latest with the abating of the country style wave, even home textiles radiate with homogeneous simplicity.

However, when one looks more closely, it is evident that designers also utilise patterns and textures quite cleverly even in times of full-surface, plain colours. Sofas are given a subtle floral pattern, armchairs score points with geometric basic forms and kitchens look both modern and rustic at the same time with an emphatically rough concrete look.

Haptic experiences: the well-being of 3D textures

Fabrics for upholstered furniture are often mixed fabrics with a special, deliberately irregular yarn texture. Visually, the material surface seems voluminous and three-dimensional. Rayon lends the fabric a gentle gloss, colour depth and softness. And although the sofa is monotone at first glance, the pattern woven into the fabric is very pronounced.

Many upholstered furniture manufacturers work with innovative woven fabric – such as the German design label Cor. A sofa can also be given a pattern with stitching – such as the Bonnie seating furniture from Ligne Roset. The regular sequencing of imprinting can be used not only for ergonomic shaping, but also to ensure the imperishable patterning of a surface.

Both imitation and inspiration: nature as the number one idea supplier

Many patterns and textures can be found in nature that currently serve designers and product developers as sources of inspiration. They are realised not only as imitations, but also as abstraction, and can be found in many organic or geometric patterns.

In times in which a sustainable lifestyle is becoming increasingly important, nature is both the role model and the ideal. And when the use of wood or natural materials isn't practicable, like wooden floors in the bathroom or kitchen, nature is simply imitated and combined with the positive features of proven materials.

The new, enormously successful classic in this segment is tiles with a wood visual. Thanks to modern production processes, our brain can be fooled with regard to the actual materiality and interprets colour, pattern and surface textures embossed in a way true to the material as the original.

Of course, the use of solid wood in interior design is currently just as much in demand – whether as expressive oak parquet, as specially treated single items of furniture with an individual wooden surface (just fine with signs of use or an impressive patina) or as a table made of centuries-old wine barrels. Like skin, which is unique for every person, the natural material is the DNA of a piece of furniture, a floor covering or a work surface.

Wall elements and floors are once again becoming patterned

While pieces of furniture make a decidedly subtle impression, there is a clear trend developing with regard to wall elements: patterned wallpaper is coming back in force. While in recent years it tended to be seating or storage furniture that had the interesting surfaces that shone against a neutral background, the more simple seeming sofas of today can hold their own very well against wall elements with stimulating patterns.

Whether striped wallpaper, wallpaper embossed in a luxurious Baroque style or printed with conspicuous Pop Art motifs, wall elements covered in detailed or more generously dimensioned repeat patterns or cool photo wallpaper with floral, watercolour-like "painted" motifs or motifs imitating construction materials – the selection is literally limitless.

Many designers are currently rediscovering the wallpaper pattern. Especially geometric patterns stand for a modern, elegant lifestyle. Like algorithms following the laws of nature, they play with the DNA of modern design and a modern attitude towards life. In the process, the motifs are becoming bolder and/or larger in scale. The more conspicuous the pattern, the more likely the wallpaper won't be used to clad an entire room, but instead as an eye-catcher on one wall.

The wall element then becomes a picture, a statement on the contemporary way of living. Patterns and colours happily recur in the overall concept of the styling, resulting in an interesting and harmonious interior. The wallpaper industry has done its homework, is scoring points with innovative patterns and design ideas and creatively uses new production processes for embossing and surface refinements.

The floor is also being covered again. Carpeting as wall-to-wall carpeting has long since stopped being en vogue, but rugs are part of the current repertoire of any self-respecting home: they are placed under tables, lamps or armchairs as original and unique items or as fashionable design elements.

The patterns used thereby often tell a story, for example, like in the case of the Common Threads collection of Jan Kath: embroidery works from young women of the 18th and early 19th centuries functioned as a template for the latest rug collection. The motifs are modern, tasteful and subtle – like all new patterns in the interiors segment.

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