Minimalism had its moment, and while it's still popular in interiors, maximalism and its many forms have become a trend professional designers and decor enthusiasts alike have been gravitating toward. Most recently, the all-over pattern trend has entered the room (metaphorically and literally speaking), bringing with it a lot of flavor and visual interest. The look may have first emerged centuries ago, but this time around it's proving to be much more intentional—and not as garish—as its name makes it sound.
What Is the All-Over Pattern Trend?
Trends almost always have roots in the past, and the all-over pattern trend is no exception. While it's now popping up as a fresh take, it first made waves in the 1700s. Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective says it “stems back to 18th-century European decorating." This was a time when styles, such as Baroque, were being cultivated and rooms were adorned with ornate details in the form of decor and molding and there were plenty of patterns on the walls and ceilings.
If you're not fully on board with that kind of antiquated look, you'll be happy to know that trend is now being interpreted differently. Its reincarnation is updated and fresh—not the overly ornate images that may be coming to mind. Now, it just pulls the best parts of the trend and works them into a look that stands out from the solid colors and accent prints usually seen in abodes. Even better? There are more ways than one to reflect the style around your own place.
"I think the resurgence of this trend aligns with the growing popularity of the grandmillennial style," explains Alessandra Wood, the vice president of style at Modsy. "Using one pattern all over was quite popular in classical design schemes of the early to mid-twentieth century. This type of styling where the wallpaper matched curtains, lampshades, and decorative accents such as duvet covers or lamp shades, was popular with people who worked with designers and were looking with a tailored and refined approach to a space. "
How to Incorporate the All-Over Pattern Trend Into Your Home
Though patterns and prints have dipped in and out of trends over the last few decades, they're usually accents, not the main focal point. And if they are, they're supplemented with quieter colors or items that hold the pattern back from being too bold. An all-over pattern look puts them front and center with no reservations.
Walls are ideally the best starting point for this trend. Wallpapering (whether traditional or peel-and-stick) will instantly create the foundation for a space full of patterns—the toughest part will be picking out which print you'd like to see all around the room.
Once you've selected the pattern, you can move on to things like drapes, decorative objects, rugs, and bedding. The aim is to find patterns that match exactly, but if that's not possible, try to select a similar print and keep the color palette consistent. When too many patterns and colors are combined that's when a space can start to feel jarring.
Selecting the right size is key, too. "To implement it into homes today, you might choose a more modern pattern, perhaps one with a large repeating pattern or an abstract print, as opposed to the floral and chintz prints that were used in earlier time periods," says Woods.
It's also worth noting that minimalists and fans of neutral interiors don't need to write off this trend just yet. Elizabeth Rees, the co-founder of Chasing Paper, says the all-over pattern look doesn't have to center on splashy colors—coveted neutrals and light pastels can be worked in, too.
"Even though perhaps the assumption is that this is a very maximalist trend where many think of bold prints, I think layering neutral prints can be just as impactful," she explains. "It adds rich texture and warmth to a space."
How to Modernize the Trend
If you're worried that the end result might be too brash or overwhelming, there are plenty of ways to prevent that outcome and make your space feel like it's embraced the trend with a modern spin.
To avoid the clashing of patterns or a print overload, find a pattern you appreciate and complement it with similar styles rather than an identical textile or rug.
"An even more subtle version of this trend is to add repetition of specific motifs and shapes instead of exact patterns," explains Andre Kazimierski, the CEO of Improovy Painters Ann Arbor. "This could be done by highlighting rounded objects instead of angular pieces within a space. This will give you the 'matchy-matchy' feeling without it being overwhelming."
Don't feel pressure to plaster every part of the room in your chosen pattern either. Start out with less, and you can always add more if the end result still appears too plain. Franklin suggests "coordinating a couple of items (say patterned drapes and a chair with the same patterned seat cushion) in an otherwise neutral space to bring a unique flair.”