Interior Design

Designer Kit Kemp reveals the secret to scaling patterns – to harmonize your scheme

Teach your colors to complement one another, the Kit Kemp way

Scaling demonstrated in The Whitby Hotel bar, designed by Kit Kemp
(Image credit: Firmdale Hotels)

Interior designer Kit Kemp is instantly associable with pattern. The most iconic of her designs have graced hotels on both sides of the Atlantic – whilst drenching stylish homes in the process. The designer has built a reputation from her fearless color combinations, but while her patterns may be bold – they are certainly no less curated. 

Sharing her interior design tips in her blog (opens in new tab), Kit explained how to make a statement with patterns by mastering one simple tip: scaling

The technique is one that she demonstrates across her hotels – but now she is teaching you how to bring it into your home. Here, she reveals what you need to know. 

Patterned headboard in a Firmdale Hotel, designed by Kit Kemp

(Image credit: Firmdale Hotels)

‘When combining different patterns, the secret is to use different scales. It is only then that each pattern has the ability to breathe and not fight against its surroundings,’ Kit says. 

This tip allows you to experiment with an eclectic scheme without overpowering the space while using scale in interior design. But what does scaling involve?

Kit demonstrates the method – and how to mix patterns in a room – by exploring her design choices in the bar at The Whitby Hotel (opens in new tab) (below). In this space, she hung Carla Kranendonk’s art, which uses large-scale, vivid brushwork against smaller photographic elements to create a strong statement piece. 

While Kit confessed that the space did not need much more work, Kit Kemp Design Studio couldn’t resist creating a backdrop with a combination of patterns. ‘The appearance is busy but well-balanced,’ Kit says. 

Scaled pattern in Firmdale hotel designed by Kit Kemp

(Image credit: Firmdale Hotels)

The hotelier suggests scaling with textiles, as they ‘present countless opportunities to play with patterns and create a memorable moment.’ 

The secret is not to shy away from audacious prints and contrasting hues – but to showcase them in a way where they work in harmony – rather than fighting to overwhelm the space. 

‘When you’re designing a room, think of the different layers like a journey, inviting the eye to roam and linger over each, and every addition,’ Kit adds. 

‘As a general principle, make sure to look at the bigger picture and don’t overthink the ... details. A strong headboard or a big graphic painting can feel frightening, but once integrated within a wider scheme, it won’t be as intimidating as you think.’

Patterned lobby in a Firmdale Hotel, designed by Kit Kemp

(Image credit: Firmdale Hotels)

Home ideas from Kit have always guaranteed a stylish scheme, and we expect her scaling secret will follow suit. It’s time to recreate the ambiance of Firmdale – and Kit Kemp's London house (it's gorgeous) in our interiors, one pattern at a time.  

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.