Bari J.’s Top Tips On Using Florals in Your Home
Go wild with color, print and florals with the advice of artist and author Bari J. Ackerman.
By Bari J. Ackerman
If you’re like me, you love pattern and color. Maybe you’d like to use it in your home, but you are not sure exactly where to start. I absolutely love to mix and match patterns (especially florals!) in my home and I’m passionate about teaching others how to do it.
I’ve often been called a “maximalist”, but the truth is I call what I do, “Curated Maximalism™”. Maximalism is a trend that is very quickly rising on the décor scene. But it’s a misnomer to think that Maximalism is all about “stuff”. Maximalists aren’t hoarders by any means. This style is about layering colors and patterns in your home with intention to create a space that is filled with personality and joy. In other words, I edit all of my decor down to the most important elements—I curate it. And, naturally, my designs always feature lovely prints and loads of color.
Here are my top tips to get you started using floral patterns, color and other prints in your home. You don’t have to go full on Maximalist to get there because a little goes a long way.
1. Start with a neutral base. If you walk into my home, you’ll notice that most of the walls, minus the feature walls are neutral colors, either pure white or black. This gives me a blank slate to add color and pattern to.
2. Pick one colorful feature piece with a pattern that you are absolutely in love with. Once you have a piece that you know you adore, you can now add elements to go with it. Draw from colors in that piece to decorate the rest of your space.
3. Create contrasts. Say, for instance, you have chosen a feature rug. If the rug is a large floral, you’ll want to pick pillows that have some of the colors of the rug, but in a smaller scale. That could be a smaller floral or a geometric or even a stripe. As long as it contrasts.
4. Play with similar shapes in your space. Repeating a particular shape in a room creates cohesion and interest. If you have a round coffee table, you might want to add a round mirror to the room. Is there a triangle shape in a pillow fabric in the room? Find something that repeats that element in a piece of art.
5. Use a few patterns that are tone on tone. Tone on tone means that it’s the same color in a different shade. In my living room, for example, there are several items that have florals and geometric patterns but are not wildly colorful. These items add a hint of pattern but mostly they add texture. For instance, our coffee table features a bone inlay in shades of white. It doesn’t pounce on the design of the room, but rather it adds a subtle texture while hinting at a pattern. Other elements around the room are carved woods and vases/planters with simple patterns on them all in white tones and woods.
6. Choose art that is abstract or figural. When there’s a lot of floral pattern happening in a room, you might want art that is a bit different than the rest of the space while using the same color scheme. I like abstract art to create a contrasting element. Figural art (art with the human figure) also does the job nicely. I have, of course, been known to throw in another floral for wall art with many patterned florals. However, when I do, it is not necessarily an all over pattern. In this case, I’ll choose a floral bouquet in a vase or urn or a single floral. If I do happen to choose an all-over pattern, I’ll be sure that it’s a different scale than the other features in the room. Again, it is the contrast that makes things interesting.
I hope these tips help you get started using color and pattern in your home. For more inspiration please see my new book, Bloom Wild from Abrams books, now available for pre-order.