When it comes to upholstered furniture, many people play it safe with solid colors for fear of overwhelming a space with the bold effect of a pattern. The good news: for every scene-stealing pattern there’s a subtle design to suit the most selective of shoppers. Furthermore, there is an endless supply of patterns to choose from, including florals, stripes, lattices and a slew of geometrics.
Set the tone of a room with a patterned sofa, or if an abundance of busy fabric is too heavy for your space, go light with an upholstered ottoman or bench. We’ve curated an assortment of patterned upholstered furniture finds to show you a range of artistic designs with the power to enliven your space.
We’re starting with our boldest find! So bold that “bold” is part of its name. The Parlour Bold Chair features all-cotton duck cloth decorated with an optic prism design from DwellStudio. With a statement this big, it helps to keep the rest of the room simple, as shown in the image below. [from CB2]
For a more subtle effect, go with an uneven stripe in gray and white. The Everett Striped Chair, a piece inspired by Mid-Century design, works well in modern spaces. [from West Elm]
Just as the Hollywood Regency movement has embraced crisp geometrics, earthy modern design celebrates its own understated geometry. The Upholstered Slipper Chair is a perfect example of striking yet restrained patterning. [from West Elm]
Dots have an undeniably mod look, but when presented in washed-out gray, they can even be mixed with other patterns! Below we see the Mallory Chairs, glamorously retro in Ikat Dotscape Dove fabric. [from Dwell]
Pattern king Jonathan Adler puts his stamp on the room below by mixing prints. What holds them together? A primary color palette. The leafy yellow pattern on the upholstered chair below is nicely accompanied by a blue geometric pillow with a tighter print.
While sometimes considered traditional, florals are revived when presented in unexpected ways. For example, the monochromatic nature of the Cockatoo Amethyst pattern below lends it a modern vibe, and the fact that it’s covering lean Pollino Chairs with slanted legs gives it an extra edge. [from Dwell]
Don’t forget the power of upholstered dining room chairs! The seating below showcases a playful take on the nautical stripe. [from Apprentice Extrovert]
Upholstered Benches and Ottomans
Needing just a touch of pattern? Try an upholstered ottoman or bench. Even better, turn a patterned ottoman into a coffee table to create a vibrant focal point for the living room. [from West Elm]
The West Elm Turned-Leg Dhurrie Ottoman, made from Indian dhurrie rugs, is a true work of art. Tuck it into the corner of a bookshelf-lined room and you have an instant reading nook:
A patterned bench is striking when displayed against a solid wall. The Essex Printed Bench, shown below in Rosette fabric, can also be used as an ottoman. Better yet, make a stylish statement by placing it at the foot of the bed. [from West Elm]
For a modern take on the upholstered bench, choose a vintage 50s/60s piece and recover it with a contemporary fabric. [from Apartment Therapy]
Patterned sofas can bring an element of surprise to a room, as shown in the chevron piece below. Note how its boldness makes it the clear star of the room, paving the way for accompanying patterns in similar zigzag motifs. [from Lesli DeVito Paintings etc.]
There’s nothing like a classy pattern against the backdrop of a rust-colored wall. The Essex Sofa is comfortable, curvy, and antique-like with its wooden legs, yet the Paisley Iron/Flax fabric is the true highlight of the piece. [from West Elm]
Gray tones give embellished modern fabric a timeless look, as shown with the Larkin Sofa, which can be upholstered in a variety of patterns. The piece’s recessed legs create a floating effect, which puts extra emphasis on the Medallion Band Mineral patterned fabric. [from Dwell Studio]
For an updated look, consider using traditional patterns (such as florals) on painted wooden furniture. The vivid pattern below is enhanced by the piece’s bright pink legs. [from mydeco.com]
If classic is the look you’re after, play up the charm. Complement a sofa covered in GP&J Baker floral fabric with fruit-themed curtains and a vase of flowers. [from housetohome]
Bring some patterned upholstery into the bedroom with an unforgettable headboard. In fact, upholstered headboards have become so popular, a range of DIY projects abound, such as the selection below from Apartment Therapy:
Solid sheets and comforters work well with upholstered beds. Try one-color bedding with a raised textured pattern to enhance the look of a geometric piece, such as the Deco Bed. [from Dwell]
But certainly don’t be afraid to combine patterns in the boudoir! The Dwell Ornate bed, shown with Casablanca Geo Citrine fabric, works well with bird-themed bedding, especially since the duvet cover features a large-scale pattern while the headboard pattern showcases a tighter print.
The revival of patterned upholstered furniture reflects new rules in the world of interior design. Patterns once viewed as too traditional have been given new life with bold outlines and striking colors. The fear of being locked into one pattern is no longer relevant in a world where mixing prints is acceptably stylish. Furthermore, a slew of new patterns offer modern choices and adventurous options. When it comes to upholstered furniture, sometimes a pattern is that one focal point a room is missing. Seize it, and don’t look back!