Art and Design House

Read Living with Pattern

Read Living with Pattern

If you focus on pattern, from texture and color to furniture and textiles, everything else will fall into place.

Pattern is the strongest element in any room. In Living with Pattern, Rebecca Atwood demystifies how to use that element, a design concept that often confounds and confuses, demonstrating how to seamlessly mix and layer prints throughout a house. She covers pattern usage you probably already have, such as on your duvet cover or in the living room rug, and she also reveals the unexpected places you might not have thought to add it: bathroom tiles, an arrangement of book spines in a reading nook, or windowpane gridding in your entryway. In this stunning book, beautiful photography showcases distinct uses of pattern in homes all over the country to inspire you to realize that an injection of pattern can enliven any space, helping to make it uniquely yours.

Not to my taste visually, and the opening chapters were pretty vague and generic if you know anything about color theory. The type was also unhelpfully small for my bad eyes.


  • Use large scale pattern for focal points to draw the eye
  • Use small scale pattern to recede or hide
  • Larger spaces can handle larger patterns
  • Pattern 40-60% of a room: three patterns at 60/30/10 or five patterns at 40/30/20/5/5 (one large hero pattern)
  • Foundation patterns = stripes, dots, geos, “no print”
  • Vary finishes and scales
  • Scale = physical size of pattern
  • Proportion = how much of a pattern is used
  • Texture is a monochromatic pattern


Spread from book with instructions and sample of India ink monotone prints

Overdying old napkins or shibori dying them

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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