Sunday, August 8, 2021

Don't be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Designing a Vintage Room

Don't Be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Decorating

Using color in home decor can terrify some people.

There's a difference between 'not liking pattern and color' and being afraid to try it. 

If your decorating nature leans toward neutral colors and very few patterns, then this article isn't for you. 

I prefer color, patterns, texture, interest, and depth when I decorate a space. I'm not one to walk into a furniture showroom and head towards the modern pieces. However, I have several people in my family who absolutely prefer a neutral decor that focuses on clean lines, fewer pieces, and basic shapes and patterns.

A Step Back Into the 1800s 

Our family room isn't exactly the epitome of the 1800s. However, I added pieces to that space over the years to further enhance its vintage feel. The only two parts that are modern are the TV and the gas fireplace. 

The recent addition of my mother's personal, high-quality needlepoint work, with their ornate frames, became the finishing touch this space needed. I'm blessed to have six pieces of my mother's personal creations in my home. They fit our decor perfectly.

Don't Be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Decorating
An Old Meets New Family Room Decor Theme

Choose a Rug with a Pattern

In this article, I explain how to select a patterned rug to go with a patterned sofa. Essentially, it states that if you plan a lot of color and pattern in your room, keep the pattern on the rug fairly minimal and keep it to the edge of the carpet. Let the center part of the rug have larger neutral sections, with bits of patterned items spread sporadically throughout.

Don't choose a geometric, contemporary, or modern rug to go into a space where you want the feel to be old-world. Although you may like to mix and match modern with vintage, you need to approach that particular design with intention. Intention involves thinking about each piece you have, the balance of each piece, and how they contribute to the final look.

In our case, we wanted the family room to have a rich, deep, hotel-lobby feel that crossed into the realm of vintage and old world.

Ultimately for us, the room's emotion was about coziness, warmth, and depth; vintage decor ticks many of those boxes.

Art Work With a Vintage Feel - Not Just the Art Work, But Also the Frames

Admittedly we just added my mother's personal artwork to the room. The three places we added her personally crafted needlework was above two lamps and above a chair. The vintage look to the frames, along with her incredible needlepoint, completes the space.

My mom created these pieces nearly 50 years ago, in the 1970s. The three pieces are now part of our family room; Blue Boy, Red Boy, and Pink Lady. The photos below don't do it justice! They look outstanding in our color-rich family room.

Here are Mom's Handcrafted Pieces

Don't Be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Decorating
Blue Boy - Handcrafted by Georgette Tremblay

Don't Be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Decorating
Pink Lady - Handcrafted by Georgette Tremblay

Don't Be Afraid of Color and Patterns When Decorating
Red Boy - Handcrafted by Georgette Tremblay

Ultimately color choices for a room are a personal choice. However, don't let fear of decorating with color, 'color' your decorating bravery. 

Quick Summary of What to Consider When Decorating with Color

  1. Keep the room balanced - especially if you're fearful of decorating with color. 
  2. Choose a few areas with patterns (such as the drapes, pillows, and rugs) and go with solid tones for the rest (the walls, the furniture, and lamps/lighting) - This is the easy way to take that leap into color.
  3. For the Batman-Brave, put a bit of pattern in everything BUT keep certain accessories solid in color, such as the lamps, the drapes, and the tables. Take your color and pattern bravery out on the sofa, the rug, the pillows, and the art.
  4. Keep the family of colors complimentary. Here's an excellent article explaining complementary colors.
  5. Decide upon the mood you want for your room; comfortable, airy, lush, cheerful, cool, warm - whatever you want. Check out this article for more on that topic.
If you like funky, creative decor, be sure to check out

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  1. Oh Barbara, you certainly have that knack for getting things right! I tend to be minimalist but have a few pieces of an antique nature as well. Sometimes just that one piece sets off everything else. You know I love your mom's handiwork and you showcase it beautifully. You have some really good tips in here for people that are afraid to take that color jump! Thanks for that!

    1. Minimalist spaces look pretty outstanding as well, thank you

  2. Your mom's artwork is lovely, Barbara, and you have fit it seamlessly into your family room with your excellent color and design sense.

  3. Barbara, your mother's needlework is gorgeous and what a treasure! When it comes to needlework, I always think of the hours spent on a piece and the love that is stitched into it. Pinkie & Blue Boy are perfect in your cozy room. I would have thought you decorated the rest of the room around them had I not read that you recently brought them home. I can tell by the close up photo of The Red Boy that your mother's work is flawless. Not only are the beautiful in your room, but they are exquisite examples of a mother's perfect touch.

    Your room is lovely and I love all of the wonderful advice (especially the area rug advice) for combining patterns, colors & textures to make a welcoming & warm room. I would feel right at home in your den.

    1. Sylvestermouse thanks so much. I have to say, it's as if that room had been waiting for those pieces of art, versus being the last items added decades later lol

  4. Barbara, as I wrote when I was privileged to see the close-up photos of your mom’s exquisite needlepoint pieces of these three iconic paintings, you are so lucky that she gifted them to you. I’m sure you have shared the photos of these ornately framed gems in your living room, and she must be thrilled to be able to see them taking “pride of place” in your beautiful home. I, too, was gifted several pieces of my late mom’s extraordinary framed needlework, which I cherish and display proudly in our living room and other rooms.

    I so admire your ability to mix colors and patterns to create exactly the rich, bold, vintage, upscale “hotel lobby” ambiance you wanted. You have a real gift for home décor, my talented friend! The next time we think about redecorating or freshening up one of our rooms, I will definitely revisit this post, since we tend to go for more neutral colors, subtle patterns, and just a pop of color here and there, with the exception of our living room, where we painted the longest interior wall a vibrant Caribbean or deep, bright turquoise/teal blue. 😊

    1. Margaret, you did such a gorgeous job of your living room. It has such a fresh, inviting feeling to it - I love the turquoise/teal blue color scheme as well. Another family member has her place decorated in those colors and there's such a calming, airy, almost windy feel to it (windy, but yah that's what blues/teals/turquoise reminds me of - kind of like a a walk on the beach. Beautiful job on that room.

  5. Barbara, your mother's art work is amazing, and you have fit it so well into your décor. You have a fantastic talent for decorating with mixing ang matching. Your room is beautiful.

  6. Your Mom's artwork is so beautiful and really works so well with your decor. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I love your beautiful room and decorating style.You clearly have a talent for decorating and putting a room together. I really like the look and the individuality. Your Mum's artwork is gorgeous, she is a very talented lady! It is lovely that you choose to display it in your home. Thank you for all your wonderful advice :)


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