Taking cues from nature, fabrics printed with large-scale botanical themes can energize a room with a big, bold spark of color. Or, depending on the theme, they can add a sense of spa-like serenity. Or…they can simply take over! Often adding a sense of fun to a room, the trick to using these prints is in the application. Your goal is to give your room a touch of whimsy without looking like you have jungle fever.
Traditionally relegated to sunrooms or the screened-in porch, these fabrics are making themselves at home throughout the rest of the house. Such patterns can bring a woman’s touch to an otherwise masculine leather-and-wood library or study—without being out of context or “girly.” When used in the kitchen, these patterns can offer a refreshing, clean vibe, evoking feelings of purity and fresh air. In the bedroom suite, large-scale botanical prints can make fabulous headboards and duvet covers, bringing the restorative touch of nature to that relaxing place.
If you’d like to incorporate some of these attention-grabbing patterns to your home, allow them to be the star. Add them in limited doses so you can enjoy them without any other bold patterns competing for your attention. “The key to working with these prints is to make them the focal point of the room,” advises Kathy Potts of Decorating Den. One of Potts’ favorite ways to use large botanical prints is through floor coverings. “A bold rug with sleek, contemporary furniture makes a big statement and the furnishings on top of the rug help soften the pattern,” she says.
Moyanne Harding of Interiors by Moyanne likes to use botanicals as artwork. Framing a portion of the pattern and drawing out that detail that attracted you to the fabric in the first place can accent an otherwise drab space such as a stairwell without overwhelming it. A contemporary oversized design can mix in very well with furnishings that are more traditional. Harding says, “Monotone shades lend a new, modern look to a space.” Potts adds that muted prints, especially in sepia tones, give a fresh new look to botanicals.
Feeling more adventurous and willing to make a big splash with these bold prints?
When used as drapes, a stationary panel of pleated drapes can make a large print appear smaller. Paint your walls the same color as your fabric’s background color to help the drapes blend in and become the backdrop for the rest of the room. Another way to use these prints at a window is on a valance, elevating the eye and adding height to a room that may have lower ceilings.
A big print on a wing chair becomes a statement piece, adding drama and an element of surprise. Likewise, a collection of oversized throw pillows in a tropical print set against the backdrop of a neutral sofa can bring the fun into your room that you can easily change with the seasons.
Mix It Up!
Don’t be shy in combining other patterns with large botanical prints, which come in a wide range of colors and shades. Anything goes when it comes to pattern mixing—stripes, plaids, lattices, ikats, paisleys, even other florals can work together wonderfully. Do, however, pay attention to scale; it’s best to avoid using patterns that are the same size.
Pull colors and shapes out of the base print when coordinating fabrics to tie the look together. Another approach is to pull the color from the background of one fabric and choose a coordinating fabric featuring that color in its foreground.
When working with these special patterns and selecting coordinating fabrics, it is important to keep the designs in context without letting one design overpower the other. “The key to mixing and matching patterns is to select patterns that are complementary in color while ensuring the prints don’t compete,” says Potts.
Adding different textures to go with botanical prints is another way to add depth and interest to your room. For instance, you could add a lumbar pillow in a tactile fabric like velvet or chenille and feature your family’s monogram on it in colors pulled from the botanical print. Or a silky fringed throw draped over an ottoman that’s been covered in a tropical pattern presents a nice contrast of elements.
Try It On For Size
Bring home large samples to try out in your space before committing to them. In fact, ask if you can bring home the entire bolt so that you can really get a sense of what it will be like to see large swaths of the fabric in your room. A small swatch in a print like this just isn’t going to give you an honest answer. Seeing the colors and prints in your room allows you to see what your room (and you) can handle, before you commit to yards of fabric
Don’t be afraid to try large-scale botanical prints. They’re not as difficult to work with as it may seem. Break the rules if you love the look. Offering small doses of large-scale botanical prints can make any room feel more at ease and give it a slight sense of flair and playful eccentricity.
In the end, you and your family are the ones who live in the space. Creating a look and atmosphere that you love is part of what makes your home…well, your home. Expressing yourself through these beautiful fabrics lends a casual, resort-like feeling to your home all year-round.