Sometimes the biggest challenge in searching for the perfect “something” is not knowing the correct name for the picture you have in your mind. To help solve that challenge, we’ve gathered 15 of the most common home decor patterns. Several, such as stripes and polka dots are familiar, but we also show examples of trending patterns, such as chevron and ikat, and explain the differences between similar patterns, such as plaid and argyle. In the home, these patterns are primarily used in fabrics (bedding, upholstery, window treatments, etc.), but can also be found on everything from rugs to dinnerware.
Stripes are parallel bands or lines on a contrasting background. Pinstripes are very thin stipes that are reminiscent of menswear fabric.
Chevron is a V-shaped, zigzag pattern, primarily of two colors.
Ikat is an Indonesian, woven pattern that can vary widely. Its signature intricate design is often created by tie-dyeing.
A scale design features overlapping arcs. This pattern is also sometimes called clamshells.
Geometric is a broad category that includes all patterns depicting graphic shapes. Most patterns that are not organic, abstract, floral, or natural are geometric.
A floral pattern describes any print that is decorated with flowers, including abstract representations.
Damask is a woven, repeating pattern that typically features a very ornate, decorate look.
Plaid is a checkered, tartan pattern of different colors woven in a cross-barred style.
Houndstooth is a two-tone pattern characterized by broken checks. The abstract four-pointed shapes resemble a dog's tooth.
Quatrefoil is a medieval geometric pattern that features a four-lobed, cloverleaf-like pattern.
A good rule of thumb when mixing patterns is to start with three. Choose patterns that are in the same color family and similar in intensity, but vary in scale—one large pattern, one medium, and one small.