But nowadays, these hard and fast rules of design are rarely followed or enforced. Today's style is mostly eclectic, and we have the freedom to combine elements to create our own style.
Even so, here are some general guidelines when using patterns:
1. Begin with one pattern to build on. Whether it is a piece of art, fabric or a rug, start with that and find coordinating patterns to suppliment.
3. Consider how each pattern will be used in the room. If an accent pillow fabric doesn't quite perfectly match what is in the area rug, remember that the pillow will be on a sofa and not right ON the rug. It's OK to not be too "matchy", although many home decor fabric lines provide you with coordinating collections that are meant to match in both color and style.
4. Choose bolder patterns for smaller areas. A large stripe sofa is much more difficult to change out than some accent pillows or wall art of a similar pattern. Don't commit yourself to a pattern that will be difficult and/or expensive to change out when you tire of it.
So, I guess the most important rule in using pattern is don't be afraid!
And, on a different but related topic of pattern, my mom just taught this quilt pattern to 15 eager learners at her 7th annual quilt retreat.
Man, does she know how to use pattern! I didn't attempt the quilt (my sisters and I are the resident cooks for the event), but I've finished some long overdue projects while I've been here that I'll share later.