Home Truths: Elizabeth Hay's tips on decorating with print and pattern

Home Truths: Elizabeth Hay's tips on decorating with print and pattern

The perfect antidote to cold winter days is a home filled with vibrant print and pattern. But how can you achieve the look without feeling like you're inside a fancy dress box?

We asked the queen of pattern and print, interior designer Elizabeth Hay, whose much admired style is a celebration of colour, print and pattern from around the world. From her studio in Singapore she gave us the lowdown on how to bring pattern into your home.

ONE | Start Small

Start Small

If you are too scared to use pattern on larger pieces of furniture such as sofas and armchairs then incorporate the pattern on the cushions.  These are easily interchangeable and only you need small quantities of fabrics. I like to be quite symmetrical with my cushions. On a three seater sofa I tend to have 5 cushions; a large 50cm pair, a smaller 45cm pair and then a lumber in the centre. This also gives you lots of cushions to play around with using colour and pattern.

TWO | Mix the Scale

Mix the Scale

Make sure to use different scales of patterns in a room, some smaller and some larger.  If the patterns are all the same scale they tend to fight each other.

THREE | Layer it up


I love a layered look using a lot of pattern and colour around the room. Lampshades and accessories are a great way to bring this into a scheme.  I often use a suzani over the back of a sofa or a lovely throw which can also be used as a bedcover in a bedroom to add a bit of colour.

Another way to create a layered look is to have two rugs. I often like using a large, plain rug to fill up the whole space, then a smaller patterned rug under the coffee table or ottoman.  A very large patterned rug can be a little overwhelming for some, but you never want to go too small with a rug so having two is a good compromise!

Beds & Blinds

If you have fallen in love with a slightly more expensive fabric a good way to use it is on a Roman blind or a headboard.  You only need two or three metres of fabric  for this. Also blinds and headboards display fabric very well so you can really appreciate the design and pattern.

My Kalinko Picks

I love the Kalinko Lotus Bedspread. This over the back of a sofa or armchair would look gorgeous! The Asho Empire Lampshade is great for adding texture and another layer to a room.  All of the Kalinko cushions are beautiful but I especially love the Mon in Pink and Maroon – the colour combination is so pretty! 

Lotus Bedspread

Asho Empire Lampshade

Kalinko Cushions

Mon Cushion Cover


 Shop Cushions

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