How to choose colour + pattern for your home.

Two’s company. Choosing colour + pattern for your home.

Words by
James Dunlop Textiles
Photography James Dunlop Textiles

“Think about texture, tactility + scale of the print to provide dimension and interest.”

— James Dunlop Textiles

Colour and pattern is all around us, creating the mood and ambience of a space. The opportunity to play with colour and pattern is huge ultimately transforming a room, producing multi-faceted interiors that are alive and inviting.


Colour affects the play on light working to reflect or retract light. It can create dark intimate spaces or light and airy rooms.

For some, selecting colour for the home can be a daunting process – choosing the right shade and complementary colours can be difficult. Then there is pattern – combining patterns together can make decision making complex.


Let’s help you decide by going through the following two elements of design and the things you need to consider:



Colour creates an overall mood in a space, and when used well results in a harmonious room that can be either warm or cool.

Colour is one of the six elements* of design and along with these elements can achieve a different result depending on how the colour is used.

If you are starting with a blank canvas you need to decide how you want the space to feel before selecting your colour palette.


Neutral and lighter shades give the feeling of a larger space and provide the perfect backdrop to showcase furniture, artwork or accessories. On the other hand, darker walls create a moody more intimate atmosphere providing drama.  Darker shades will also make a space appear smaller and cosier.


Colour can also be brought to life through your curtain fabric. Choose to have more subtle coloured walls and let your Curtains take centre stage, or opt for vibrant upholstery fabric for your couch and arm chairs. Colour trends come and go, so you need to consider whether you will be happy with your colour decision a few years down the track. To help form your colour decisions it’s helpful to look at nature to see the natural pairing of colours, look at fallen leaves or the shades of petals, fashion magazines are a great place for colour inspiration as well as social media tools like Pinterest where others share photos of their home décor.


*The Six Elements of Design are: Colour, Pattern, Line, Texture, Shape + Light.


“A ‘pattern’ is a repeated form or design especially used to decorate something. The regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done. Something that happens in a regular and repeated way” (2016). Merriam-Webster Dictionary


To get a feel for patterns you like, take clippings or make a mood board of inspirational patterns so that you can get a visual idea of what patterns will work well together. Think about texture, tactility and scale of the print to provide dimension and interest.


Always consider the size and scale of the design. Smaller pieces like dining chairs or stools won’t show the full potential of a fabric where a large scale pattern would work well on a 3-seater couch for example. Larger spaces like a grand entrance way or a spacious room with a high stud would suit a larger pattern than a small intricate pattern.


To mix and match pattern with confidence, pick a colour from one of the fabrics and ensure that this colour is included in the contrasting fabric in some way. Keeping that consistency whether it be colour, line or scale will result in a harmonious pairing.


Pattern or plain?

Consider the vintage and character of the furniture and the style of your home. A vintage piece of furniture can be modernised with a more contemporary fabric be it pattern or plain if this is the look you are seeking.


A child’s bedroom is a great place to have fun with a mix of colour and pattern as it creates a cheerful and inviting feeling. Curtains, bed linen, walls, art and accessories are all opportunities to get creative.


The benefits of a patterned fabric over plain is that it has the ability to hide any imperfections like stains or wear and tear which is quite common in a child’s space or high traffic area.


dollar curtains + blinds has specialised in crafting custom made window coverings in Melbourne for over 50 years. Contact us today, visit a store or book a free design, measure and quote. Our Interior Consultants can help you to make the perfect choice.

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