As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Brit Abigail Ahern and her bold, unconventional interior style, which tends to break every rule in the book, with gusto! I’m delighted she’s written these tips for Interiors Addict and shared photos from her home, and her sister Gemma’s, with us. “Pattern and texture are the herbs and spices of the decorating world,” she says. “They add instant pizzazz to a room, turning if from drab to fab in a second, and I am the hugest fan. The trick is to ditch everything you’ve ever been taught about combining. You won’t need to bring anything to the table other than the ability to think a little differently.”
Abigail’s pattern and texture tips
1. You can never (repeat never) overdose on texture. The more you add the more intriguing a room becomes. The key is to create as much friction as you can (bad in relationships, fundamental in interiors)! Mix rough with smooth, slubby with polished; it will never feel too much.
2. You can mix as many patterns as you want (forget all that mumbo jumbo about combining small scale motifs mixed with large scale patterns). The game changer is to reign in the colour palette. Do that and you can mix to your heart’s content.
3. Add something shiny. Like magpies, we are all drawn to something shiny; a lacquered table or vessel, you name it, it will bounce and reflect the light around beautifully. (The high gloss neon pink coffee table below is in Abigail’s sister’s house. It famously made the cover of her first book, A Girl’s Guide to Decorating.)
4. If you’re scared of pattern, start small and add a few textiles like throws and cushions to your space and just watch it change. Rugs are a game changer. In fact, in my book, all rugs, no matter how small, should have some element of pattern as it enlivens floors like nothing else I know.
5. Think outside the box when it comes to texture. Panel walls in a fab wood, or paper them, or skim them with concrete, the list is endless.
6. Lastly, adding a serious dose of pattern and texture has got nothing to do with money. You can find the most fabulous things at flea markets and auction houses. I’ve picked up rugs for a song, and remnants of rugs that I’ve turned into cushions for clients. I’ll search out cool fabric and get them made up into cushions (half the price of buying in store), I’ll turn sheepskins into cushions, bits of old carpet into ottomans. I seek out brown furniture and then take it to the garage to get it car sprayed so that it looks like lacquer! The only limitation is the mind, I reckon!
Read Abigail’s own, award-winning blog, for daily inspiration, Ahern style! (It’s incredible, she sometimes blogs several times a day on top of everything else she has going on! She is definitely keeping decorating real and I LOVE that!)