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Pattern Ideas For People Who Are Scared Of Pattern (We Promise It’s Easy!)

Like many of you (I’m assuming “you” since you clicked on this post and probably relate), I struggle with committing to “BIG pattern” in my home (like wallpaper). I adore looking at it in photos but once I dream up my own room with lots of pattern, I freeze, afraid the patterns might actually come alive and eat me whole. I recognize that’s ridiculous. However, I am currently dealing with this as I pick out the final details for my living room. I want to expand the color palette a little and create a greater sense of “coziness”. What is an easy way to achieve that?? Pattern! But, to not overwhelm the space and still make it feel like “me,” I’m finding smaller ways to bring it in — floor pillows, vases, a throw blanket, etc. It’s kind of incredible the effect a little bit of pattern can have on a space. You don’t have to spend tons of money on wallpaper or a huge rug. You can start smaller (like me) and I promise you’ll be amazed.

I decided that I would have a little Photoshop fun to show you eight different types of home decor accessories that can truly transform a space. Plus some pretty cute shoppable picks should you want to add some pattern to your home right this second:)


Since I was just talking about it (well the side you can’t see), let’s start here in my office/living room. I was lucky enough to get to borrow this incredible black and white striped ceramic lamp from Ceramicah for the reveal. As you can see in the non-photoshopped photo on the left, that subtle pattern has such a powerful impact without it being overpowering. But even for me, I didn’t realize the full impact until I blacked out the base and saw what a solid color would have looked like. It’s still a stunning lamp, but because everything else in the shot is solid, it doesn’t create the same interest as the patterned option. While I had to give that lamp back, I did replace it with a vintage striped glass one because I loved the stripes and thought this area needed that pattern. It just feels more alive. (FIY I know that the photoshopped items lack real texture but I still think it gets the point across:))

Now you can totally go for a lamp with a patterned base like I did, OR you can make potentially less of a financial commitment and just add a fun shade! One is not better than the other but a shade is a little easier to swap out if you want to change up your room’s style.

1. Black & White Stripe Ceiling Lampshade: A classic pattern in a fun, tall shade shape!
2. Lampshade Reina Moss Navy: Not only will this pattern add a bold moment in a room, but the shade is also an oval shape!
3. Floral Lamp Shade: A moody but fun color scheme in a great classic shade style.
4. Geometric Indigo Blue Lamp Shade: The large-scale pattern and colors are awesome.
5. Lamp Shade-Beige Navy Floral Pleated: Not interested in color? This is a perfect neutral option that’s both classic and on-trend.
6. Lampshade Thalassa Classic Blue: This one is just insanely cool! Less of a pattern and more of a piece of art. And that fringe? Get outta here.
7. House of Hackney Scalloped Lamp Shade: We LOVE House of Hackney and Anthro has a ton of beautiful options like this one.
8. Vintage Pleated Table Lamp: I still adore a pleated paper shade and this is giving modern ’00s shabby chic.
9. Leighton Pleated Lamp Shade: Another classic shade and pattern in such a happy blue.


Vases are even less of a commitment than a lampshade (more easily added and removed) but still pack a pattern punch. Is the solid black photoshopped vase pretty? Of course. Does the space feel happier and more playful with the stripes? Yes. Here are some really pretty options for you:

1. Hermosa Vase: Ooooh baby I LOVE this vase. It’s colorful but not loud and you can see it in action in Bowser’s recent reveal (the wide shot from the living room into the dining nook).
2. Mari Glass Vase: I love that this pattern feels really organic and that there’s a touch of color.
3. Ziggy Double Vase: Perfect for someone who wants to make a statement without color.
4. Lorena Planter: This is such a good pattern with a ton of great detail.
5. Diamond Planter: A patterned take on a traditional terracotta planter.
6. So Nouveau Vase: The colors, shape, and abstract pattern is a 10/10 for me.
7. Kaya Striped Ceramic Cup: Small and simple but would bring a perfect splash color and pattern.
8. Papillion Vase: I’d call this “colorful romance” 🙂
9. Terrafirma Vessel: A great option for a neutral-toned lover!


This example is admittedly subtle but that’s also kinda the point of this whole post. Now I know I also photoshopped the striped pillow to be solid too but notice how the tray and that pillow in the unedited photo add such a nice layer! I know I’m biased given this is my old living room but don’t you agree?? If a patterned tray is something you might want to add to your home, here are my picks:

1. Sama Blue Color Blocked Tray: Pretty colors, chic pattern, and those natural woven fibers give it that added texture to make it a knockout!
2. Handpainted Oval Floral Tray: Great pops of color, fun pattern, and handpainted.
3. Pattern Enamel Trays (Set of 2): Can’t beat the price, great neutral colors, and a 2-for-1.
4. Large Graphic Printed Tray: Definitely a trendy option but such a great color and perfect for a fun, modern style.
5. Coffered Inlay Tray: I have always loved these. Not cheap but if it’s in your budget, SO pretty.
6. Terrafirma 9″ Canape: In my early days at EHD Emily owned a version of this tray/plate and I’ve honestly never forgotten it. I’ll love it forever.
7. Chaz Tray: I recently almost bought this and still might! It also comes in wood and red.
8. Famille Rose Tray: Orante, colorful, and so pretty. Plus those handles make it even more functional.
9. Angelica Natural Patterned Tray: Loud and quiet all at the same time! This piece would work with so many styles.


Ok, so I don’t have a visual example of this but you get the point by now, right? What’s great about patterned candles is that you can seasonally switch them out, they can be super affordable (I actually made some using a DIY from this post), they aren’t large so they don’t take up a lot of visual real estate, and if you get sick of them you can’t literally burn them! I’m absolutely considering some of these for the candelabra in my living room.

1. Striped Candles: LOVE the colors and the stripe pattern.
2. Etnic Pattern Taper Candle (Set of 2): SO sweet and delicate.
3. Stripe Candle: The ones I made were in this color scheme so I have a soft spot for these:)
4. Striped Candle (Set of 2): Such a great pop of color.
5. Bands Dinner Candles (Set of 2): Bold, classic, and simply cool.
6. Yellow Tapers With Brown Flowers: Love these colors and design! I believe Mallory just bought these too:)


Back to Photoshop! As in all of these examples, there’s nothing “wrong” with the photoshopped version on the right…BUT isn’t the real photo SO MUCH BETTER??? The whole space is more alive with the three patterned pillows (and a patterned vase:)) Here are some other great pillows if you’re in the market:

1. Woven Silas Indoor/Outdoor Pillow: Colorful, fun, feels very “happy modern farmhouse”.
2. Tiger Round Pillow: New pillows from Lulu and Georgia x Sarah Sherman Samuel! Great print and pretty color. Also always love a round pillow:)
3. Textured Tufted Square Throw Pillow: Super textured with great colors. Will absolutely make a statement.
4. Striped Linen-blend Cushion Cover: A classic pattern in an on-trend color. Great! That price is also pretty great.
5. Anaconda Velvet Pillow: If you want a saturated color but not a solid, this is a perfect option for you.
6. Nayali Stretch Yello Throw Pillow: Gorgeous color with a good but subtle pattern.
7. Block Print Lumbar Throw Pillow: Another classic (but on-trend) pattern in a fun color combo.
8. Multicolor Abstract Checkered Lumbar Pillow: Colorful but not too bright and in a super versatile pattern.
9. Stonewalk Pillow: Organic, beautiful, and colorful but still neutral.


If you know Emily you know she loves a patterned throw blanket. They are so versatile, functional, and since they are large, can create a heavy jolt of visual pattern interest. See what I mean from the example above? And yes, the photoshopped version would be more interesting if it had texture but it’s so clear that the patterned blanket brings this beautiful but quiet room a little more to life (oh, and the patterned pillow in the corner too:)) Here are nine great options for you:

1. Clipped Stripe Dobby Throw Blanket: You simply can’t go wrong with a blue striped throw blanket. So pretty and versatile!
2. Eleanor Pritchard Dovetail Throw: Oh I love this moody, modern beaut! Definitely not cheap but Schoolhouse doesn’t mess around when it comes to quality.
3. Louise Throw: It’s a little hard to see in the graphic but there’s a faint blue stripe in that pattern and it’s sooooo pretty.
4. Nomad Throw: Warm brown tones bring me so much comfort and this broken stripe blanket is perfect.
5. Abstract Throw Indigo: Beautiful, fun, and on-trend but I think this blanket will be cool for a long time:)
6. Geometric Patterned Chunky Woven Throw Blanket: Love the bold jewel tone color and large-scale print.
7. Double Cloth Plaid Throw: If there was ever a spring/summer throw it would be this one.
8. Lineage Woven Striped Throw Blanket: Love that this feels very mid-century modern.
9. Square Square Knit Throw: Perfect if you love color and really want to make a visual statement with your throw.


To be honest, we don’t have a ton of examples of patterned curtains but if you look at social media that is not the case on the internet. Patterned curtains, whether bold or quiet are a great option if you want to create a bigger moment with pattern that isn’t more permanent. It can be a little more expensive depending on which curtains you want and how many windows you have. But as proven in the example above, it can be more than worth it:)

1. Hadley Curtain: A really beautiful option and one that isn’t a huge pattern commitment.
2. Blackout Palm Frond Chenille Jacquard Window Curtain Panel: This one is a pattern commitment that when done right would be so worth it.
3. Striped Ikat Curtain: Subtle but great organic lines that make it feel more organic.
4. Light Filtering Charade Floral Window Curtain Panel: Love this on-trend, classic pattern and that color is so happy!
5. Jacquard-Woven Burke Curtain: A great “bolder” pattern but the light natural color makes it look much softer.
6. Rowena Curtain: A little moody in the best way but aren’t blackout curtains so they don’t look heavy and harsh.
7. Blackout Window Curtain Panel: Classic: Check! Classic but fun pattern: Check!
8. Striped Velvet Curtain Panel: Another product from the new Lulu and Georgia x Sarah Sherman Samuel collection. So rich and beautiful! The pattern is subtle but adds a ton of depth.
9. Textured Luxe Stripe Linen Curtain: Super versatile and has the impact of a bold pattern without being one.

Are you thinking of how you can add pattern to your home now? I hope this helped! See it’s not that hard:) I say that as I stare intently at my living room dreaming up what my best options are. We can do it together <3

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Jess Bunge | Styled by Emily Bowser | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Moto Reveal: Jess’ Home Office

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nancy sherman
1 year ago

OMG – thank you for opening up my world to the lampshades on Etsy. I’m always on the hunt for a good lampshade but Target doesn’t always fit the bill 😉 I can’t wait to go home and start measuring to figure the sizes I need!

1 year ago

What a fun exercise, Jess! In every instance the pattern adds life that would not otherwise be there. I have quite a bit of pattern with fabrics, mainly. However, this post makes me want to investigate a vase or tray!

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago

“…the patterns might actually come alive and eat me whole.” Haha!, Jess🤣🤣
I lurve pattern. Not zany pattern so much, but a little is fine.
I seem to be a chicken with curtains though, and stick to plain colours, with a woven ‘pattern’.
I think texture is more my thing, but pattern can add so much!

1 year ago

well written, well illustrated, and attainable = well done!

1 year ago

I loved this article. Your examples were great and sublte too. I love pattern and graphic but don’t think consciously of using them in small amounts. I am thinking of putting striped candles in my brass candlesticks now.

1 year ago

Great examples! I’m a renter so wallpaper is out of the question. Pillows and other small things are all I’ve got.

Heads up though, there is an offensive term used in the first lampshade linked.

Katie A.
1 year ago

Oh, the power of a side-by-side illustration! Bravo!

1 year ago

Lampshades can get expensive. I’ve added pattern to one of mine years ago by covering with fabric using a Martha Stewart tutorial. I’m not able to find that tutorial, but I did find this video on customizing lampshades from Martha Stewart:

Grit & Polish also did a post not too long ago:

1 year ago

Lovely and helpful post. 🙂

1 year ago

Hooray for adding pattern in baby steps. Thank you for the reminders (and Photoshop pics!).

1 year ago

This is a great post! I don’t always think “this room is missing pattern”, but I can feel it is better with one, and I will be able to say why now! Love!

E.R. Anderson
1 year ago

This was so simple, but so helpful and easy to understand! Thank you! Excited to experiment with my own side by sides.

1 year ago

This reminded me of those puzzles where you are presented with tow seemingly identical pictures and have to find x number of differences!! 😅
I think you either love pattern or you don’t. I’m drawn to pattern and colour like moth to a flame and you could come to my house for plenty of examples of patterned curtains, in rooms which I still consider ‘quiet’. Florals are an all time favourite, or any botanical, but I also love stripes, abstract, geometricals and I adore artisanal textiles picked up on travels like batik etc. Love, love. In clothing and in the home. My biggest challenge is buying enough solids to offset but luckily I also love a lot of white and brown. And red! And pink…