blue & white interior design planning

Patterns in Home Design and Décor (1 of 2)

This blog began innocently enough. It was going to be a “how to”…specifically about how to mix patterns. Mixing patterns is an intimidating design task that strikes fear into most homeowner’s hearts.

But in explaining how, we started to list the actual types of patterns and it became clear faster than you could say “open house”, we needed to take a deep dive and cover the types of patterns first. So here goes. How many of these are you familiar with?

Buffalo Check

Not to be confused with the other 6 Types of Plaid, Buffalo Check is considered the “winter plaid”. Buffalo Plaid consists of big checks in two alternating colors, iconic red and black. It’s bold, oversized and plaid. Warms up a space adding instant cozy and casual.


Defined as an arrangement of rectangles, and named for its resemblance to the bones of a fish such as a herring. Really. Blocks can be rectangles or parallelograms. The block edge length ratios are usually 2:1, and sometimes 3:1, but need not be even ratios. Used most commonly in a pattern for floor tiles and wall coverings, herringbone brings both dimension, texture and visual interest. Also a popular fabric choice to use in upholstery, pillows, window treatments or throws.


Chinoiserie has been around forever…17 th Century forever. This charming pattern derived from the word “chinois” (French for Chinese) is traditionally the blue and white classic pattern but now can be ruby red and other colors as well.

Moody Florals

Take what you imagine with florals in terms of colors, and turn it on its head. Dark florals are huge and the effect can be powerful. Modern and moody blacks are the perfect modernization of this classic.


Toile is defined as pastoral scenery. Like Chinoiserie, Toile is often thought of as the classic blue and white but is now available in reds, browns, blacks and greens. Toile has evolved and we love it.

Art Deco Fan

Glamorous and sophisticated, but decidedly graphic. Art Deco Fan motifs are characterized by themes and patterns that are repeated themes in a very symmetrical fashion.


Super symmetrical and geometrical. Windowpane is a classic design that creates a very clean and classic aesthetic.


The small check, Gingham is a beautiful simple pattern to mix with others. Especially flattering in soft, neutral hues.

Please check back next time for PART TWO of the list of commonly and not so commonly used patterns. In the meantime, if you have questions, are preparing to list or buy, please contact Lee.

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