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Interior Design: When To Keep It Simple When To Keep It Busy

Interior Design: When To Keep It Simple When To Keep It Busy

Clashing patterns, simple Scandinavian aesthetic, bold colors: a taste for texture and design can create a house that’s beautifully curated. However, by throwing in too many tastes at once you can accidentally create a home that’s far too busy for anyone’s eye. By being clever and measured about how you decorate your home, you can strike a pleasant balance. Keeping to themes and set patterns in separate rooms will help reduce an overwhelming number of textures and aesthetics. If you want to explore your creativity through interior design, here are a few ways of complementing and contrasting your use of color.

Feature walls

For lovers of busy, complex patterns, feature walls are the ultimate secret weapon. They allow you to make unique patterns the focal point of a room, without completely overwhelming the room. However, feature walls are nothing new: in the same way that 70s patterns often make a room look dated, using a contemporary popular pattern could easily date your room in the future. Instead, choose your wallpaper based on creativity and interest. Choose a pattern because it’s unique and eye-catching – not because everyone has it.

When it comes to choosing colors to paint individual rooms – don’t be shy. If you’re worried about using bold and bright colors, ask what it could add to a room. Would a bright yellow create the summertime feel you want or would it make a box room feel claustrophobic? Would a deep maroon create warmth in your lounge or create a heavy atmosphere? Before you add your dream coat of paint, check that it will work in the space. Otherwise you may find yourself being disappointed with the final product.

Parquet Flooring

Flooring should never be neglected when it comes to style. Of course, you can add all the bright purple tiles you want, and inject a bit of color, but don’t forget the flare that patterns can add. Using a chevron pattern as found in parquet flooring, or creating designs with patterned tiles can create eye-catching prints on the ground you walk on. Using finished woods, such as parquet flooring, can be used to create elegant and geometric herringbone patterns. If you wanted to create an effortless Scandi-chic kitchen, this could be a great foundation or the aesthetic. If you’re worried about walls or decoration overwhelming your room, then choosing the right flooring can pare down the brightness of the room. Choosing natural wooden tones can help to ground the design of the room, and create a neutral base to work on.


If you’re keeping your flooring subtle, then rugs are your secret weapon. Rugs allow you to use blocks of color that will draw the eye just as much as an elaborate center-piece. You can even buy rugs that replicate famous artworks, so you don’t have to just leave the creativity handing on the walls. If you’re planning on putting a rug underneath a coffee table, this could provide an opportunity to mix and match decoration. Choosing a small statue or sculpture that echoes the choice of color of the rug will pull focus into the center of the room. You could even extend this color matching to other items in the room. Rugs are also a way of effortlessly enjoying complex patterns and imagery – particularly on Moroccan carpets.

 Interior Design: When To Keep It Simple When To Keep It Busy


If you can’t quite bring yourself to add a wacky wallpaper pattern to your living room or add a splash of bold color, then furniture could be your key to unique design. Furniture can create the focal-points you’re after in a room, by using their shape, stature and of course, color. If you’ve kept your room in relatively muted, cold tones, then why not add a bold lounge suite set? If your dining room could use a bit of jazzing up, why not bring in a contemporary dining table and chairs?

If you don’t have the finances to buy brand new furniture, then consider upcycling your current possessions. If you have any bookshelves or wooden furniture pieces that have seen better days, consider what color you could paint them. Could you transform a conservative dining room set into a bright, new family dining table? With a pot of paint and some preparation, the possibilities are endless.


If you have an absolute passion for design and creation, ornaments are an easy way to showcase your artistic taste. It’s an opportunity to discover new artists, hunt through charity shops and play with color. In a similar fashion to brightly-colored furniture, ornaments allow you to add variety and texture to your home if you’re too timid to add it to the floors and walls. If you’ve gone for busy wallpaper, or plenty of high-art furniture, you may wish to take a measured approach. If your room is full of loud wallpaper and vibrantly-colored sofas, you may find that any ornaments you’ve picked out will get lost in the room.


If you love to read, meditate or simply spend quiet time in your own thoughts, then you may want to pare down your use of color and patterns. Using subtle, muted designs can benefit rooms that are designed with the sole purpose of relaxing in. Here, you may wish to create focal-points by using subtle artwork and plants.

However, if your idea of relaxing is plenty of patterns and textures, then remember to keep the room enjoyable to be in. Add in plenty of soft and comfortable pieces of furniture, as well as bed throws and cushions. Even if the designs in the room aren’t necessarily relaxing to look at, the furniture should compensate by being something you just want to throw yourself into.

Deliberately play off contrast

One of the easiest ways to get away with bold patterns is to deliberately embrace the contrast between bold and simple. Contrasting vibrant and complex patterns will stop loud designs from overwhelming the room entirely. Not only that, but enhancing and playing-off the contrast will become a design feature in its own right. Sometimes, it’s not even about contrasting bright with calm and bold with muted. Contrasting styles, ages and eras can create a design that feels cleverly and deliberately curated. Drawing up sketches of the room layout and applying color with allow you to experiment with unique color combinations. If you’re unsure about your pairing of a yellow sofa with a navy feature wall, then Photoshopping or sketching a design of what it will look like will give you some ideas of what the final product will look like.

If you’re feeling particularly risky, you may even want to deliberately clash certain colors. Using small instances of contrasting and conflicting color use can create a look that’s daring but confined. Being selective about clashing color use will stop your house from feeling overwhelming.

If your love of design comes from an interest in a particular type of pattern or artwork, then a gallery wall can enable you to indulge in a wall that’s busy with vibrancy. Hanging lots of separate frames up to create a mini and compact gallery will help contain patterns to a limited area. However, by picking out lots of frames, you are containing them in a way that’s style-driven, and a feature in its own right.

 Interior Design: When To Keep It Simple When To Keep It Busy


One way to play with color and pattern that you might not expect is to re-order your bookshelves. The way you do this is by pulling out all of the books and sorting them by color. Once you have them all arranged into colors and patterns, start re-assembling on your bookshelves. However, instead of lining them up conventionally, try and experiment with how you stack them. Piling them horizontally in a pyramid shape on one shelf, while assembling the other in height order will create shelve that are visually intriguing to look at.


If you want to add vibrant colors, but don’t want to constantly shell out on pots of paint, then plants are a clever way of adding hues of green. Adding lots of plants to your room can be a statement in its own right. Creating a jungle atmosphere can bring a little bit of paradise to the interior of your home. You can even use the color of the plants to contrast against the walls in your home. Have a think about what colors would pair well with green, or perhaps even contrast boldly. It’s not just the leaves and flowers you should be considering – the pots you keep them in can be a design feature in their own right. If the color scheme in the room is relatively neutral, use large pots to create bursts of cheerful color among all the plants.

Vases and flower pots are also great for holding fresh flowers, which can be used to add color to a room. However, did you know that fresh flowers can come with a pricey air-fare? Some exotic flowers have to be grown in countries overseas, which means they have quite an impressive carbon footprint. Searching online will find a number of professional bouquets that are not arranged using fresh flowers, but dried ones instead. You might be surprised by just how much boldness, and color can be achieved with preserved flowers. These will not only spare you a large carbon footprint, but also the hassle of having to re-fill and chuck-out stagnant water.

 Interior Design: When To Keep It Simple When To Keep It Busy

Big and bold entrances

If your personal style involves big and bold patterns, but you don’t want to necessarily implement them in every room of your home, then you could focus on the presentation of your entrance hall. Some interior designers have used their entrance hall as a way of making a statement about their taste. It will provide you with an instant lift as soon as you walk through the door. If you’re lucky enough to open to have a wide and open entrance hall, then you can use the vast expanse of space to get away with much wilder and exotic patterns. Using the space behind the staircase as a feature wall can look both creative and impressive.

Go double

Sometimes, it’s possible to get away with busy and vibrant patterns be echoing them throughout the room. If the idea of clashing feels too chaotic for you, then using the same pattern multiple times will create uniformity. For example, matching your furniture to a feature wall will create a theme that is tastefully executed. It will stop the pattern from sitting singularly in the room, and help to incorporate it throughout. If you choose upholstery that has creative patterns on it, you may want to select imagery from the fabric. For example, if you chose a sofa with palm-print or flowers, you could choose artwork that features the same greenery. Picking large picture hangings or ornaments will make your room look chic and pulled together.


As mentioned before, one easy way to contain lots of bold color is to give it structure. Color blockingdoes this by creating patterns with sectioned-off color. Picking features with blocks and layers of color will imply a color scheme. You can then choose upholstery and linens to match these features. Choosing colors that are on opposite ends of the color wheel will ensure that all the colors you use go together and will complement each other throughout the room.

Choosing bold colors needn’t come with an element of risk. It’s absolutely possible to enjoy vibrant tropical tones while also leave space for some neutral Scandinavian chic. Personal style shouldn’t be constrained by fear: all you need to do is learn how to offset loud and busy design with calmer, and more muted color schemes. If you’re worried about how your final interior design plan will look, draw out a sketch of what you intend for the final product to look like. This way, you can get a sense of what your pattern will look like in the scale of a full room filled with furniture. One of the most exciting aspects of designing your property is getting to enjoy color and creativity: make the most of it.