Paisley has been a popular choice for home decorating for decades and continues to be so today. Although Iranian in origin, this twisted teardrop shape got its western name from the town of Paisley, in West Scotland, a center for textiles where paisley designs were produced.
The nice thing about paisley patterns is that they’re more than beautiful–they’re versatile as well, making it flexible to work with any design style. To say that new paisley designs are taking the original Persian pattern to innovative heights is an understatement. That, combined with mixing different color schemes, pattern sizes, and arrangements, makes it easy to create uniquely modern statements in your home.
As much fun as they are to use in decorating, they require a bit of thought–primarily, deciding whether you’d like your paisley to stand out or blend in with other design elements or patterns you have going on within the space. This is what will determine if you go with something simple or with something complex. In many cases, because of its boldness, paisley is used in smaller doses (think bedding, pillows, and rugs). But that doesn’t mean you can’t go bolder. When done right, paisley prints can look just as beautiful on items such as wallpaper, window treatments, and even upholstery.
Types of Paisley Print
Two main variations of paisley patterns are the stand-alone paisley pattern and the all-over paisley pattern:
- Stand-alone or “floating” paisley pattern looks like it sounds–independent paisley shapes floating against a solid background. The less contrast there is between the design and background the more uniformed it will appear. Be sure to test out full-size samples to ensure you’re getting the look you want.
- All-over paisley simply has other design elements mixed in. A more detailed version such as this often has a look more suited for formal areas. One perk about this type of pattern is that it contains some other colors, making it easier to pull a color scheme together for the entire space.
Paisley comes printed on top of a fabric or woven into the fabric. If you’re looking for excess in textural interest, woven is the way to go. The different surface levels capture the light differently, which heightens the interest even more than a printed pattern would. Printed designs are beautiful and perfect for light- to medium-use furniture, drapery, and pillows, as well as wall art.
Versatile for Any Occasion
As mentioned earlier, paisley prints are incredibly versatile. And the great thing is that it doesn’t clash with itself. This means you can mix and match till your heart’s content. Keep it simple and classy or go full on bohemian. With so many sizes and so many colors, it’s hard not to “get it right.”
In general, there are some decorating rules regarding mixing patterns:
- Scale. Be sure to keep scale in check, sticking with one large, one medium, and one small-scale pattern. This not only keeps the balance, but it also sets the limitation of how many fabrics to use. If you wish to add a fourth fabric, go for a solid to ground it all. If you prefer only three, use the solid in place of a third pattern.
- Small-scale patterns work best in smaller rooms so they aren’t mistaken for a texture or a solid (you want your beautiful choices to be seen).
- Medium-scale patterns work best in small and large rooms.
- Large-scale patterns for best in larger rooms and on larger pieces of furniture. Large patterns can overpower a small room and appear fragmented when used on pieces of furniture.
- Color. Colors don’t need to match, but they should complement each other. As long as you have colors that work together, then you can mix patterns in a way that is harmonious and beautiful.
- Style. Just because your colors work well together doesn’t mean they make sense within the space. Stick with patterns that complement your design style and reflect your interior’s mood.
- Rest. Too many patterns centered in one place can keep your eyes from being able to focus. Scatter those patterns around so you give the eye a chance to rest.
What’s so awesome about paisley is that it looks great whether you go big or go small. Because the paisley pattern has softer curves than other patterns (i.e. geometrics), it can work well on a large-scale without becoming visually unappealing. If you don’t feel that bigger is better, opt for paisley that falls on the smaller side. Small-scale patterns are just as beautiful and can mix well with other patterns.
In a nutshell, paisley is a print that’s fit for young and old. You really just can’t go wrong with paisley in your life. When you’re ready to incorporate this gorgeous print into your home, come see us. We have a nice selection of paisley fabric that can give a fun yet sophisticated upgrade to your space.