HR-031316-CathyWe use strategy when it comes to business or playing games, sometimes even in relationships. Well, thinking strategically is just as important when it comes to design.

Let’s look at how you incorporate patterns. In conceptualizing your space, you need to think about where and how you’ll be placing your patterns — especially if you want to go bold.

This teenage girl’s bedroom is a perfect example. She loved pink, loved the idea of going bold and bright and already had a white headboard that I knew we were going to keep. The rest was up to me.


My strategy was to go bold and graphic: a deep, glam pink on the wall and a dramatic area rug with a charcoal gray pattern on the floor. The strength of the vibrant color would be balanced by the boldness of the pattern, while elements of white and gray would diffuse these big statements with some softness.

Why did I choose the wall and floor for my biggest statements? Since the wall is a large vertical plane, I needed a very large horizontal plane, which left me either the bed or the floor. Putting a bold graphic on the bed would have confined this statement to a space right up against the dramatic wall. Instead, I kept the bed in layered whites and chose the floor for my bold horizontal plane.

Then I repeated the rug’s big pattern with a similar pattern in the window treatment, but in a more muted way with white and soft gray. To echo the pink of the wall — and keep the overall palette from going too neutral — I brought in a third pattern combining pink and neutrals in the pillows on the chair and bed.


Notice that you can have more than one pattern going on, as long as you use them in balance, in different ways and in varying scales. None of these patterns match, by the way. All are made by different companies, but they complement one another. What you can’t see in the photo is the visual texture of the bed’s charcoal gray European shams, which are apparent when you see the real thing. So there’s even more pattern play going on, though subtly.

Next time, I’ll have more design strategies from this edgy, glam teenager’s room.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit