Playing with Patterns by Interior Guru, Julia Kendell

Playing with Patterns by Interior Guru, Julia Kendell

For me, great interior design is as much about creating happy vibes, an uplifting atmosphere and an inspirational space to support day-to-day life as it is about the aesthetics. Creating this ‘good energy’ is easy using this year’s new trend of ‘playful patterns’ to give a fun and dynamic edge to interiors. The lively ‘origami’ effect of the random pattern has a sense of movement drawing the eye around the surface. The geometric shapes in contrasting shades unfold to create a third-dimension, making a space appear larger. Continuing the pattern on to the floor adds an unexpected twist and certainly packs a punch of personality!

My inspiration for this tiled design came from the desire to combine this new approach to pattern with my signature neutral palette to produce a fresh and exciting backdrop to my favourite textural, rustic furnishings. I was keen to see how modern, ceramic tiles in a contemporary arrangement would combine with vintage furnishings and whether the neutral palette would be bold enough to make a statement to compete with characterful pieces. I needn’t have had concern, however, as I am thrilled with the end result! The youthful energy of the tiling has uplifted the vintage pieces to produce an updated look to an old aesthetic. The silky, matt surface of the tiles have warmth and a beautiful tactile finish in keeping with my ethos for creating interiors that are comfortable and unchallenging. The irregularity of the pattern and clean lines of the geometry perfectly complements the imperfect shape and finish of the rustic furnishings. 

To design a similar floor and wall combination, first choose a palette of between four and eight colours (I used five colours for my design). For a bold design add in contrasting shades (such as black and white) and a mix of mid-tones. For a softer overall look, choose colours with a similar tonality. Vibrantly saturated or muted colours can be added to create a statement surface effect. 

When choosing the tiles ensure they are compatible sizes, so the same size or half-size to ensure the grout lines will match up. It also makes tiling significantly easier if all the tiles are the same thickness! Once the tiles have been chosen, draw out a grid scaled to suit the tile size and the overall size of the wall and floor surfaces. To create the pattern, split some of the squares in half diagonally (I cut some of mine in to quarters too) and got to work creating a random pattern. ‘Less is more’ is the key to a successful design, ensuring the majority background colour (white in this instance) is used between the feature colours in places to break up the pattern. Keep playing around with the design until you have achieved a good balance of colour across the surface. 

To achieve the triangular patterns, cut the square tiles diagonally using a tile cutter. Set out the tiles according to the design and secure with proprietary adhesive using tile spacers. Choose a grout colour that will either contrast with the tiles to accentuate the grout-lines and shape of the tiles, or use a grout of a similar tonality to make the tiles themselves the feature of the design. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and on-trend, you could try one of the new metallic grouts!

Now, I’m no tiler. It’s probably the DIY job I have had least experience with and I often find it a daunting task to undertake, but I found this irregular approach to the design somehow liberating and it has been the most enjoyable tiling job I have ever undertaken. The liveliness of the pattern takes away any monotony of the installation, more akin to doing a jigsaw puzzle really and, as a novice, you can get away with a few imperfections in the installation. And so it is with good reason that the playful pattern trend hits all the right notes with me; fun to design, easy to install, looks fabulous and brings a youthful and fun energy to a scheme providing the perfect backdrop for contemporary and rustic furnishings alike. 

Tiles used in this project can be found below!

Laura Ashley White Satin Floor
Definitions Grey Floor
Devonstone Black Satin Floor
Function Mushroom Beige Satin Floor
Devonstone Dark Beige Matt Floor

By Julia Kendell
Interior Designer for DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover

Back to the blog