Despite the design options they bring, prints and patterns don’t receive nearly enough recognition as colour when it comes to trend predictions.
There is nothing quite like a decorative print or repetitive pattern to enhance a space, add interest, enrich colours or delight a design market following a gloomy economic period.
A pattern itself can be recognised in a structural form where furniture and décor is placed in a patterned fashion or can actually have a design motif applied directly to its surface.
Today, patterns and prints still feature the floral, chevron, baroque and classic patterns and prints of times past but modern time have brought about crisper geometric prints. However, the most authoritative pattern inspiration continues to be attributed to the ever-changing landscape of nature.
According to global trend analyst Milou Ket, patterns and prints have become very important and versatile.
“Think of patterned wallpaper and textiles such as cushions, but also curtains and furniture,” she said. “Carpets and rugs have become very important over the last few seasons and we will continue to see foundations such as walls and floors complemented by smaller items including lamp shades and printed tableware."
Ket revealed that 2014 will pan out to be colourful, pattern-inspired and customised by designers – whether those designers are contracted professionals or inhabitants of the spaces themselves.
Through her extensive global research, Ket has revealed six distinguishable pattern and print trends for the year ahead:
1. Opposites Attract will see accents applied to neutral colours with a Nordic atmosphere. Here the patterns could actually be defined as textures, wilderness and landscapes.
2. Home Sweet Home is a romantic theme that features a fresh pastel colour palette where the emphasis will be on feminine and romantic dreamy prints in which old and new are combined.
3. Sweet and Sour explores faded neon colours that reflect more functional, contemporary design. Cultural techniques in contemporary colour will be explored through ikat and tie-dye finishes, while other subtle effects will be seen through hand painted and water colour prints.
4. Full Colour, as the name suggests, will see bright colours dominate and strong combinations, often in black and white. The theme will have a geometric focus through the application of overlapping shapes, graphic effects and triangles.
5. Ethnic and Nomadic will explore the warmest of colour palettes in patterns such as kilims, spots and stains, tie-dye and some of the most original patterns from all over the world.
6. Historic and Luxurious will place an emphasis on dark colours in rather large baroque, traditional patterns. Like Full Colour, this motif will place a focused importance on black and white. Metallics will also play a strong role in this theme, particularly with gold and copper, where patterns featuring subtle matte and shine contrasts will be observed.
While Ket’s forecast reveals patterns for the year ahead, she doesn’t recommend that they be taken as gospel.
“I think you should choose the patterns that you feel at home with, not what fashion dictates – then you will never go wrong,” she said. “Floral such as cretonnes are an example of longeviry but also patterns like paisleys can stand the test of time."
Ket added that the in order to maximise the impact of patterns, it is important not to overdo it. It is crucial that large dominant prints do not clash with the rest of the interior, which gives an overcrowded effect.
“Use the colours from the print to be repeated in the coloured walls, in the textiles such as cushions, and the colours for the carpet and other objects, so a certain unity is created,” she said.