Bold is beautiful … but a little bit goes a long way |

Bold is beautiful … but a little bit goes a long way

By MARY CAROL GARRITYScripps Howard News Service Everywhere you turn these days, big, bold patterns are shouting out with gusto, and I love what I’m hearing.Whether it is textiles exploding with shape and color, wall coverings that make you take notice or tableware that’s adding extra sizzle to dinner, I’m crazy about the new trend to amp up the color and pattern in our home interiors.If you want to spice up your life a little, consider weaving a few of today’s eye-popping patterns into your home decor. Here’s how:FURNISHINGS WITH A FLOURISHI’ve always been a big advocate of sofas upholstered in neutrals or patterns that are so benign you won’t grow tired of them. But since the strong geometric patterns have hit the textile market, I’ve broken out of my box. Many of today’s fabrics offer the best of both worlds: They’re loaded with drama, but they aren’t overly busy. The artists have ingeniously incorporated “negative space” into the designs so the patterns don’t wear out their welcome.When my friend Marsee’s club chairs started to look a little worn, she decided this was the perfect chance to bring her neutral room up a notch by recovering the chairs in stronger colors and bolder patterns. She selected a sensational fabric in two tones of dirty gold, which harmonized perfectly with her gold sofa. To further tie the pieces together, she made a large pillow for her sofa from the same fabric used in her club chairs.Then Marsee went one step further and covered two ottomans in a peppy red geometric print. I loved her living room before, but now I’m wowed by how updated and fresh the space is with the introduction of the perky patterns and colors.BOLD BEDDINGAt the country’s biggest fabric markets I’m seeing a resurgence of some of the popular patterns from the 1920s and 1930s, including the breezy ferns and botanicals. Manufacturers are going to their archives and reviving some of the best looks of yesteryear.Judy, a Nell Hill’s textile designer who pulls together the most amazing bedding combinations you’ll ever see, is having a blast with the vintage and retro looks, especially those featuring flora like ferns, pineapples and hydrangeas.To make yours a bed for all seasons, Judy suggests picking a pattern you like that comes in several different colors, then making your accent pillows or duvet cover two-sided, one featuring a light spring/summer look and the reverse a warmer fall/winter feel. That way, when the seasons change, you can remake the mood of your room just by flipping over your cushions.WALL COVERING Wallpaper is big again, and today’s wall coverings will scream for your attention. Whether you go for mirrored geometric shapes reminiscent of the ’70s or a bold toile pattern in red, blue or gold, bringing in color, texture and pattern through your wall coverings is a fun way to pep up a boring room.AMPED-UP ACCENTSIf you prefer a more serene home interior but want to add just a splash of bold pattern, why not do so with a few accents? I’ve clustered some pillows in a chunky red-and-cream pattern on my living room sofa to add a charge to the space. To perk up my table, I had a black-and-white damask tablecloth made. I think I get as many compliments on it as anything in my home. Or I set my table in my new retro ceramic plates that feature black and navy florals.But, a few words of caution – first, a little bit goes a long way. Pick a few places to make a statement, then keep the rest of your home more subdued. Second, only pick patterns you love and that will have lasting power. Trends are fun, but they come and go like the wind. Modify the popular look to fit your tastes and your home.Mary Carol Garrity is the proprietor of three successful home furnishings stores in Atchison, Kan., and the author of several best-selling books on home decorating. Write to Mary Carol at For more stories visit

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