Is Pattern The New Solid? The Micro-Trend We’re Seeing Everywhere

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on January 17, 2022

For the last few years, pattern has taken a back seat to clean, streamlined aesthetics like warm minimalism and mid-century modern. But now, as vintage-inspired looks like Old World, Modern Cottage, and Grandmillennial rise in popularity, pattern is staging its inevitable comeback.

In fact, we’re seeing designers across varied styles and disciplines use pattern as a neutral, from subtle textured wallpaper to soft striped upholstery. “Pattern doesn’t always have to be the loudest element in a room,” says Havenly designer Kelsey Fischer. “We’re noticing a trend towards subtle pattern play, from upholstery to textiles.” 

Ahead, Fischer shares five low-lift ways to add subtle pattern to your space, no matter your design style.


subtle wallpaper

Wallpaper is a tried-and-true way to add pattern to your space. Whether you go with head-turning vintage floral or a more subtle print, like this textured grey, it’s a relatively low-lift way to add visual interest and personality to a space (especially if you go the peel-and-stick route).


Never underestimate the power of a patterned rug (or curtains, or pillows). Even a subtle, neutral motif, like black and white abstract dots, can add a sophisticated element to a room. While pattern is not the central character in this space, it plays an important role in elevating the overall aesthetic. Had this been simply a solid rug… the room would lack the movement and intrigue seen here.


patterned dining chairs

While patterned upholstered furniture may sound like a big commitment, it can feel elegant and timeless when done correctly. These animal print dining chairs, for example, lend flair to an otherwise minimalist, neutral space, giving the room the pop of personality it not only needs, but is craving.

Accent Seating

patterned accent chair

A patterned accent chair is one of our favorite ways to weave in a subtle print, particularly in a traditional stripe. Paired with a solid sofa or sectional, the pattern helps differentiate your seating area and ensures no unfortunate matchy-matchy scene. If you stick to a clean, time-honored color scheme, as pictured above, the space still reads as modern classic and pared back.


tile flooring

From marble check to black-and-white diamond, classic tile is making a comeback — and we’re absolutely here for it. This mudroom floor tile, for example, adds a geometric repeat that brings high contrast to the area – juxtaposing the burl wood console and wooden accents with just the right amount of elegant edge.

Need guidance on adding pattern to your space? We’re here for you! Get started with our style quiz.

Words by Kelsey Clark