Pattern drenching is the new color drenching – interior designers tell us how to work with this maximalist style

Maximalist and daring, pattern drenching is the trend to embrace this year

Pattern drenching trend
(Image credit: Cathy Nordström & Paul Massey/Côte De Folk/Studio Munroe & Thomas Kuoh)

The pattern drenching trend is surging in popularity – and for good reason. As 2024 continues to prove itself as the year of anti-trends, focusing on embracing all things eclectic and personalized, this maximalist decorating style is becoming a go-to scheme for rich, characterful interiors.

Interior design trends don't always endure, but pattern drenching is predicted to stick around for quite some time. This style of decorating injects an abundance of personality and character into interiors, and with so many ways to introduce pattern drenching into your home, there's a design for every taste.

Whether you're a fan of bold, maximalist spaces or prefer a milder approach to patterns, we've asked interior designers to weigh in on the pattern drenching trend and find out their go-to methods for embracing this decorating style.

What is the pattern drenching trend?

Similarly to color drenching, the pattern drenching trend sees rooms covered in patterns, from wallpaper on the walls and ceilings to furniture upholstered in striking designs, and soft furnishings to match. Where the color drenching trend calls for a single color used throughout a room, pattern drenching can be done using one pattern or a combination of many.

'I love experimenting with color and decorating with pattern, and I am a firm believer that these elements bring life and character to a space. Pattern drenching is a joyful way of elevating your interior and mixing prints you’re drawn to,' says interior designer Matthew Williamson

Using pattern drenching successfully in a scheme takes some careful planning and consideration. You can't simply throw patterns into a space and expect it to work. 'Great skill is required when gently layering textures and tones in neutral spaces, but the balance of restraint and joyfulness called for when saturating spaces with pattern and color takes a keen eye and confidence,' explains Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe.

Pattern drenching in a living room

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson/Iaia Cocoi)

So, how can you create a successful design using pattern drenching? 'Always try to have a clear palette in mind before you begin a project. Try limiting your pattern-drenched scheme to a few key prints, preferably with the same color palette running through them or at least one color that ties them together. For example, a floral pattern in a blue or green shade, whether blowsy and bold or delicate and ditsy, always brings an air of whimsy to the space,' advises Matthew.

'To contrast this, I’d head towards something more graphic, such as a check or a stripe mixing blue, green, and white, which invariably looks sharp. As in so many areas of design, things that come in threes always seem to work well, so I’d add in a third print, such as an animal spot or perhaps a classic ikat in a complementing shade. Both of these options are timeless additions and will sit well within any scheme,' he adds.

As well as thinking about color and designs, it's important to think about how the different patterns sit together. 'Pattern scale and type are everything,' says Emilie. 'Once the color scheme is set, the trick is to complement with different size patterns and different types: florals and plaids, stripes and murals, herringbone, and toile,' she adds.

5 ways to add pattern drenching to your home

1. Add interest with contrasting patterns on the walls and headboard

Bedroom with patterned wallpaper and a contrasting patterned headboard

(Image credit: Cathy Nordström/Fanny Radvik)

When introducing multiple different patterns, remember to use patterns of varying scales to add dimension to the scheme. With the right contrast paired with a complimentary color palette, you can create a pattern drenched design that feels eclectic a fun. 

In this bedroom, the rule of three has been used when introducing different patterns. The walls are adorned with a blue nature-inspired wallpaper, the headboard is upholstered in a green check fabric, and a brown abstract floral print has been introduced via a throw cushion and blinds.

2. Pair patterned wallpaper and curtains in the same color palette

Pattern drenching in an office

(Image credit: Studio Munroe/Thomas Kuoh)

Pattern drenching can be used in any room in the home. From a spacious bedroom to a cozy office space, the right patterns can make elevate any space. In this office, patterned wallpaper on the walls and ceilings has been pared with striped curtains. Because the designers, Studio Munroe, have kept both patterns to the same black and white color palette, they feel like a natural pairing.

'The best base layer for pattern drenching is a vibrant wallpaper as it runs vertically in the visual plane will command the room's aesthetic,' says Emilie. 'Combining an eye-catching wallpaper with window treatments and an area rug in the same color scheme, but either larger or smaller scale pattern, instantly pattern drenches a room,' she adds.

3. Pattern drench with contrasting bedding and wallpaper

Pattern drenching in a bedroom scheme

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

Wallpaper is a great place to start when decorating with the pattern drenching trend. 'Whether you opt for a more traditional pattern repeat or an on-trend mural look, don’t shy away from bringing color and pattern into any room with striking wallpaper,' says Matthew Williamson. 

'Not only will a hand-drawn, detailed wallpaper give any space a unique feel, but it will invariably lift your spirits. Another benefit of hanging a bold, maximalist wallpaper is that it provides something of a list of pattern and color ingredients you can apply to the rest of your space. Pluck prints and colours from the repeat and use these to choose your soft furnishings and accessories to create a pattern-drenched scheme,' he adds.

In this bedroom, the color palette of the wallpaper has inspired the patterns and colors used throughout the rest of the space. Blue and green are the focus here, used in the wallpaper, bedding, rug, curtains, and even the furniture. The result is a cohesive bedroom design that feels inviting and mood-boosting.

4. Add a sofa and wallpaper with the same print

Nook decorated with pattern drenching

(Image credit: Côte De Folk)

Even the smallest of spaces can benefit from bold prints and designs. 'I think pattern drenching is brave and fun and something you’ll never regret! Keep it to smaller spaces if you’re not feeling so brave. I personally love it when using wallpaper and fabric in the same pattern,' says Sophie Rowell, director and founder at Côte De Folk.

'This space off the main sitting room was being used as an office during the pandemic. The client had this wallpaper left over from her cloakroom revamp and I was very happy to incorporate it into the scheme. I created a bespoke sofa for the space in the same print and used a mix of linen and velvet fabrics to further mix the textures,' she adds.

Using the same print in a slightly different color palette creates a scheme that feels cohesive, but adds some much-needed dimension. Thanks to the more saturated hues in the upholstery fabric, the sofa catches the eye rather than blending into the wallpaper.

5. Mix textiles from different eras

Bedroom with patterned wallpaper, lampshade and bedding

(Image credit: Cathy Nordström/Paul Massey)

Pattern is a fun way to introduce vintage charm to interiors – with the right textiles, you can create a space that exudes timeless appeal. 'A homey home is my favorite kind of home and this is achieved by mixing color, pattern, and objects from different eras,' says textile designer Cathy Nordström

'By mixing personal objects and textiles from different eras and cultures, your home really becomes inviting and a reflection of you. It's the best way to infuse your home with a sense of timelessness and eclectic charm,' she adds.

In this bedroom scheme, the old-meets-new aesthetic has been achieved using patterns in a yellow and blue color palette. The botanical wallpaper feels classic, especially when paired with the pleated lampshade and striped cushion. 

The pattern drenching trend may seem bold and daring at first, but it's achievable in all styles of spaces. Whether you have a boring cloakroom that would benefit from some eclectic decor or a spacious bedroom in need of a cozy, eclectic overhaul, pattern drenching is the perfect way to add character to your interiors. 

Kitchens & Bathrooms Editor

I joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as the kitchens & bathrooms editor. My undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which I studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, I worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to timeless kitchen schemes and the best places to source pre-loved homeware.