I have a complicated relationship to patterns. In my design work, I use them often (and with gusto!). In my personal life (clothes, home decor), not so much. Thank goodness for all the windows in my home, because I seem to only decorate in dark tones. “Like an English library,” I say to Dan, explaining away the Victorian swooning sofa and dead flowers I insist on keeping.
The truth is, dark colors make me feel safe. If you found a photo of me from 1993, the heyday of my sartorial deviance, you would see a dazzle combination of prints: florals on polka dots, with jauntily striped ankle socks thrown in. The nineties were a confusing time for us all.
As I get older, I find myself most comfortable in the muted and monochromatic. Patterns can feel dated, like my school pictures. But one can also go too far. I looked around our den the other day and found that every single thing in it was a shade of brown or black. A shaggy rug the color of an aged bear’s hide. Wooden coffee table. Even the lampshades are black. So I’m on a search for a bright burst of color for this room, for starters. A printed rug? Curtains? Here are some prints I’ve been eying. The only requirement is that they go well with black.