Choosing a Theme
Tile is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of pattern in the bathroom but the theory of pattern usage in interior design is a much more integral part of the overall effect of a room than most people realize. Pattern is a visual design element closely related to texture and can be defined as the appearance of an organized design on a surface. When using this design treatment in your bath first decide on a main theme then repeat it throughout the room. Repetition, rhythm and pattern are all elements that combine to inspire us by increasing surface interest and enriching the visual excitement of the room.
Managing Multiple Designs
When more than one patterned print is used in a decorating scheme, select the dominant one first. Then you can choose the other prints to coordinate with the central one. As a general rule, the secondary print should pick up a color from the primary one. Moreover, you should try to tone down the secondary print so it’s not directly competing with the main configuration. Whether you are decorating a small powder room or expansive master bath, be sure to unite your patterns with a common color and repeat the treatment around your room. This will tie your room’s decor together and keep your space from feeling divided.
How to Use Repetition
Designing the interior of your bath involves more than just mixing and matching colors. Patterns are easily visible on fabrics but most people overlook the inherent patterns in fixture shapes and their placement. A round sink, round tub, round mirror and round toilet repeat the shape to create unity in your washroom. When elements are repeated, alternated, or otherwise arranged, the intervals between them or how they overlap can create rhythm and a sense of movement. Similarly a pattern may be formed by laying down tiles or wood strips in different designs and at different angles. To be used effectively these elements must harmonize with the structural and other existing patterns already in your bathing space.
The Proper Ratio
It’s easy to overpower a small bathroom with too much color and pattern. It’s important to take into account the sizes of your patterns in relation to the overall size of the room in which they are to be used. If you choose small designs for a tiny space, try to avoid little patterns that have lots of things going on in them because the human eye will be unable to recognize the smaller elements and unexpected blotchy forms will emerge from the optical illusion. When using patterns in a small bathing area, stick with the ratio of 2:1 – two small-scaled patterns or textures with one sparsely used bold design to add interest and pop to your bath decor.
Nothing is written in stone and if you do have a love affair with intricate prints don’t fret because you can use your smaller patterns almost like textures. The approach, while fearless, can stay within the bounds of visual comfort by using a soothing color scheme of neutrals such as brown, gold, gray, white and black. Small, repetitive prints work well for this. Remember that patterns have an optical quality to them so for example you can add smaller 4″x4″ stone tiles in a lighter shade to add visual texture to the room. Also installing the smaller tiles in a grid pattern will accentuate the difference with your other larger tiles. Likewise you can add distinction to your bathroom by mixing textures. An illustration of this is if you combine smooth glass mosaic tiles with rough 6″x6″ stone tiles to create a definitive but interesting contrast.
A small pattern in a large room, for example, won’t have the impact that a large pattern will have in a smaller room. To achieve the desired effect, consider the size of the room in relation to the size of the print based upon what you want. The direction of your arrangement also comes into play for example you can organize your tiles on a diagonal to make your bathroom appear larger. This illusion is created because diagonal grout lines create longer lines for the eye to follow. One notable idea for decorating a small bath is to add a bold pattern or texture on an accent wall then decorate the rest of the room in neutrals. To create visual unity, be sure to incorporate small amounts of the colors from your accent wall throughout your space in the form of small accessories or fabrics.
Consider patterns that are appropriate to the style of your home. Strong colorful geometric arrangements would look out of place in a cottage styled bath. For a smooth design transition, repeat the patterns present in your home’s architectural elements to achieve a winning look of restrained richness and focused energy. Mind you if you do prefer bold, contemporary patterns in your fabrics, tile and decor, choose designs that have a lot of white space in them because this will create a “visual break” that allows your eyes to rest from the barrage of colors and prints.