It’s been a big trend story for 2016, but how to incorporate the graphics trend into your home in a way that is beautiful as well as bold can be daunting. Follow our advice on how to make it work to striking effect.
Small Effort, Big Results
Whether inspired by stylised natural shapes, 60s Op Art or classic geometrics, graphic prints and shapes can add arresting contemporary punch to even the most bland of rooms. They can deliver a great ‘wow’ impact in an entrance way or make a plain dining room seem glamorous and decadent. However, making the look seem refined rather than riotous can take some careful handling.
Graphic designs can add instant impact but for the design elements to work you need to make sure that they can stand out. Butting a geometric black and white tiled floor against a neutral, bare bricked wall offsets the beauty of each and maximizes the effect of both. It’s tempting to see a black or white wall as a break from a pattern but in reality, they can seem like an extension of it and give the room a ‘floating’ feel when everything seems too ‘samey’. If you aren’t sure how to incorporate the trend, try starting with small accents like decorative wall hung plates and tiles, or throw cushions to understand how the effect will take hold in your space.
Balance the Scales
It’s key of course, to consider the size of your room before you start looking at eye-catching prints. Keep the scale proportionate (a medium size print works on most walls if you’re uncertain): you can use a large print on a small wall but the repeat of the pattern will be reduced, so the effect can be lost. It’s also essential to make sure you change your scale up: make patterns on accessories larger or smaller than those in curtains or wallpaper to create a layered effect; if prints are all the same size, the eye isn’t sure what it’s meant to be focusing on.
Adding layers, such as a photo frame on a wall or objects on side tables is what keeps a room from being dull and feeling empty or flat. It may be that in a small guest cloakroom you choose to create graphic wall art with prints and pictures in bold frames, the black edges lending strong, graphic shapes. If you are using pattern in a small room, keep details such as skirting and ceiling plain to stop it from becoming overwhelming.
Not just Walls
Tiles and wood finishes (such as creating a chevron pattern from different coloured blocks of flooring) can be a hugely effective way of adding in graphic pattern. Patterned tiles in encaustic, cement, or porcelain are having a huge revival and can add a classical elegance to a scheme even when very modern in design. Patterned, decorative geometric tiles, whatever the finish, can age beautifully, so make sure you choose something that has staying power.
But also Walls…
The most obvious place to use graphic prints is on walls. Wallpaper is a natural choice, but also try graphic decals (easy to put up and also easy to remove) or for those handy with a stencil try quotes within a mural. To keep the effect graphic, keep the colour palette limited (three tones is a good start). In this instance, treat curtains and blinds almost as walls, as they will have a strong visual impact. Try a roller blind with a strong print that looks bold when closed, or a shade that has graphics in its make up, such as a fabric blind with strong stripes.
Break it Up
Add in some texture; even if you decide to keep the palette very tight, perhaps just black, white and grey, adding in some texture like unglazed porcelain, linen or high gloss lacquer will keep the design more interesting and stop it being ‘one note’. Little details such as rugs, place mats and even mugs can add a richness and warmth, for a look that is soft as well as strong.