I’m sure it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite parts of designing a project is thinking through the interplay of textiles. I love the hunt for the perfect mix of colors, patterns, and textures in a design scheme. In fact, we rarely repeat a fabric in a room, within a home, or even across clients. There are so many amazing fabric opportunities that we find it easy to spread the love and create a new story each time. And yet, I can acknowledge the harmonizing power of repetition. Creating rhythm in a space by repeating a fabric or pattern offers a grounding visual comfort.
I was reminded of the value of rhythm as we looked back at our Exton project living and dining rooms on the blog last week. We had always intended to use this overscaled ikat fabric on the dining room head chairs.
But it was not our original intention to use it on the living room ottoman as well.
Truth be told, we had selected a different fabric for this ottoman. The original ottoman upholstery selection was a patterned textile available as a custom option through the manufacturer. But when this piece arrived, the upholstery was not working for us. Unfortunately we didn’t have control over how the manufacturer chose to position the repeat, and we just weren’t happy with the resulting quality of the piece. But, when life gives you lemons. . .you reupholster them.
As you’ll remember, the dining room and living room face each other from across the foyer, and we wanted to create distinct personalities in each room while ensuring they related and told a cohesive story.
The ottoman re-upholstery felt like a good opportunity to reinforce the connection between the dining and living rooms, so we offered to have it recovered in the dining room head chair ikat fabric. Initially our client hesitated, and was concerned about the vibe being to matchy, but ultimately trusted our recommendation that it would be a unifying force in the overall scheme.
It was a good lesson in referencing basic design principles when up against an uncertain decision. Rhythm helps to carry the eye around a room and create harmony. We spend a lot of time in the mixing of textiles and patterns, and our clients are often very intent on bringing in just the right mix. But the mix can feel disjointed when a balance isn’t struck, and it can throw the energy of a space out of wack. So, as much as I will continue to revel in pattern play and will undoubtedly be a maximalist at heart for life, I appreciate the reminder to slow down and feel the rhythm.