5 Designers Share the Patterns They Can’t Decorate Without

With so many stunning patterns to choose from, we had to ask: which are designers’ absolute favorites, and why? We spoke with top designers to gather insights on patterns that are charismatic, sophisticated, and versatile, and the good news is that you’ve likely incorporated at least a few of these into your space already,

A Twist on Toile

Classy dining room with toile wallpaper.
DESIGN: CLARA JUNG; PHOTO: COLIN PRICE

“One of my favorite patterns is a contemporary twist on the traditional toile pattern. The juxtaposition of old and new is one of my favorite ways to inject a space with the unexpected. In this dining room, we used Bay Area Toile wallpaper. It is an homage to toile: a repeat pattern on a white background depicting a fairly complex scene. Here, the toile represents the Bay Area with notable Bay Area people, places, and more, included in the pattern. I love the mashup and unexpected nature of the icons on the wallpaper. For example, Too $hort is included adjacent to Alice Waters as well as Joe Montana and Angela Davis. Toile—whether it is more traditional or an updated version as shown here—is extremely versatile. It brings interest into space, but it can also easily fade into the background and have other design elements pop due to the largely white background.” —Clara Jung, principal at Banner Day Interiors Think Blue-and-White Toile Is Dated? Think Again

Leopard

Eclectic bedroom with printed wallpaper and leopard pillows.
DESIGN: PETI LAU; PHOTO: BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

“I love using leopard print patterns because they bring the old world, global, old-school decorating vibes back, and the best part is that it’s a pattern that I feel is neutral! I love mixing it with florals and stripes. It’s a perfect way to bring a small pattern to space and tie it all together with the other big patterns.” —Peti Lau, founder of Peti Lau Inc.  

Florals

Living room with floral ottoman and pillows.
DESIGN: SARA AND LISA QUEEN; PHOTO: MARY LIZ FILM

“We believe in an artful mixing of patterns, and we tend to gravitate more toward organic shapes, biomimicry, and florals. We tend to steer away from anything too rigid or geometric. In regard to floral print specifically, we like it because of the variation and organic feeling. It’s versatile because it can partner well with other prints like a stripe, check, and more. It can also be a great way to work in multiple colors and carry the color story.” —Sara Queen, senior designer at Lisa Queen Design

Stripes

Neutral beige couch with striped pillows.
DESIGN: JULIA NEWMAN; PHOTO: TESSA NEUSTADT

“Stripes are a great, not-so-secret weapon. No matter the style of the room, you can usually find a stripe that works for it—from the classic ticking stripe to dashed lines to more modern variations. Stripes are also great for mixing patterns; because of the simple pattern they can pair well with something much busier.” —Julia Newman, founder of Julia Adele Design 

“We’d have to say stripes are one of our go-to patterns, as they are so versatile and add that bit of fun that we always like to add to any of our interiors. We tend to use stripes as a neutral and play off that pattern with a mix of other fabrics and a pop of color.” —Rachel Cleaveland and Jody Kennedy, founders of C&K Design

Plaid

Soft bedroom with striped pillows and blanket.
DESIGN: CANDKDESIGN; PHOTO: JOHN MERKL

“I have always strongly gravitated to plaid. In large part, this is from growing up with a father from the UK and spending much time there as well. Plaid to me is so rich and inviting. Just because it is a traditional print doesn’t mean it has to be used in a traditional setting. Half of the fun is creating something unexpected.” —Julia Newman

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