Design Advice: How to Inject Colour and Pattern into the Home
Calgary interior designer Alykhan Velji shows us how it’s done.
Designer Alykhan Velji lists “cartoonish” and “clashing” amongst his clients’ top fears when it comes to colour. Pattern too, can be equally intimidating.
Even so, both are to be embraced, says Velji, because colour and pattern make a space dynamic, add personality—and most importantly, add your personality into a space.
Because it’s not as easy as it sounds, the Calgary designer shared some of his top tips and examples with us at our Western Living Design Week conversation series.
Aly Velji’s Colour and Pattern Design Tips
Larger pieces of furniture should always remain neutral. The sofa, carpets, millwork, things that are long-lasting and that you’ll use all the time should remain in a neutral palette. In this home, Velji built the living room around (mostly) neutral furniture and played up tribal prints, floral print on the drapes and injected colour in a few solids to amp up the space.
Repetition is key in interiors. “You want to make sure you’re repeating your colours and patterns, especially with open concept spaces—that really helps the eye travel around the room.”
If a big wall of floral wallpaper terrifies you, try breaking it up. For this interior, the homeowner wanted a rustic space, but that didn’t stop Velji from including some bold florals. His trick was to split this strong floral wallpaper into two less conspicuous strips on either side of the fireplace. He says you can do the same on either sides of a feature wall as well. Nifty Trick: In this photo you can also see Velji put a shelves in front of one of the wallpaper walls, and vases in front of the other. This layering tones down the bold factor.
Pattern-phobes, meet grasscloth. If you’re afraid of pattern, Velji suggests trying grasscloth wallpaper: “a huge design trend right now. It’s great, organic, simple…it adds a subtle kind of texture to your space,” says the designer. Velji went with a neutral colour in this bedroom, but it’s also available in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
Trellis is timeless. Velji and his team added pattern and colour through the accessories—everything from flowers, to throw pillows, to this trellis-patterned rug. According to the designer, you can’t go wrong with the classic trellis pattern on a rug, claiming “it is never going to go out of style.” Also in this room, the designer adds interest and colour with a table-side geode—these dazzling rocks are also a big trend. “Nature is the best inspiration that you can get.”
“Pink is not just for little girls’ rooms anymore.” Pink is one of the designers favourite colours and he’s not afraid to use it. The great thing is that pink offers so many different shades. “Pink has now been elevated to something that’s more sophisticated,” he says, explaining it can be saturated, like in this photo, or soft, like a blush pink—”we’re seeing it everywhere right now.” This room has tons of personality, ample pink and four different patterns in it—how does it all work together so well? The answer is, “the colours work together,” says Velji. Make sure you have one element to tie everything together—in this room, it’s the colour grey.
Bold is beautiful. One of the things we’ve heard Velji say often is that above all, you should have fun with your interiors. This client was a dream for Velji, because they loved colour and wanted a look that would make people literally gasp when they saw it. “The great thing about this: it’s whimsical, it’s fun, it’s lighthearted, it’s not serious,” says the designer. Black Beauty: Velji painted the ceiling black, the walls are covered in black wallpaper with a lion print and the sofa is black.”Black is a beautiful colour,” says the designer. “It’s so dramatic and when you pair it with these saturated colours, like the lime green and this beautiful pink. I think it just makes such a beautiful statement.” Don’t forget, if you do something different, like paint the ceiling black, “it’s just paint,” he explains. “It’s easy to change.”
An abundance of colour can be subtle too. If you look closely, this bedroom from Velji also plays with a lot of colour, as well as texture and pattern, but the overall look is subtle and calming. The bedding is all white, but there’s also an art deco patterned wallpaper, lots of texture and ample use of that trendy blush pink he was talking about.