Interior Design

Matthew Williamson's top 4 tips for introducing impact with pattern

How to decorate with pattern, lighting, and vintage pieces – the designer way

Matthew Williamson pattern tips, bedroom with maximalist design
(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

Esteemed designer Matthew Williamson is a royal figure in the kingdom of maximalism. His audacious living spaces and bold bedrooms are celebrated from London to Mallorca, where he combines statement prints with a rustic Spanish aesthetic. 

Therefore, as we look to indulge in a summer of maximalism – in all its overflowing glory – we should look no further than tips from Matthew himself. 

See: Interior design tips – decorating secrets for the world's top experts

'I've always been a maximalist, a lover of ornamentation. I want to create things that make others feel happy,' he shares – while feeling assured that his daring creations make us feel very happy indeed. 'I've never been able to get my head around minimalism or flat color. When I start a room design, I think about how I can make an empty space give joy,' Matthew adds. 

In an exclusive interview with H&G, Matthew continued to explain the art of interior design through his eyes – and armed us with four tips for injecting patterns into our homes.  

1. More is more – when it comes to wallpaper 

Matthew Williamson bedroom in Mallorca

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

'Wallpaper brings personality, energy, and whimsy to a space. It can function as a focal point or as a backdrop. I prefer wrapping rooms as opposed to using a feature wall or papering a chimney breast,' Matthew suggests. 

A perfect example of this is seen in his bedroom for Belmond La Residencia in Deià, Mallorca, which is supercharged with color and pattern (above).

See: How to mix patterns in a room – our interior design masterclass

2. Use furniture to combine patterns  

Matthew Williamson chairs in living space

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

'To achieve a more accomplished look, include more than one pattern in a space. Florals work well with stripes; using a floral sofa with a striped armchair is a knowing clash and works especially well when you mix a figurative floral with a graphic contrast,' he explains. 

3. Combine classic and contemporary 

Matthew Williamson pink painted living room

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

See: Living room ideas – decorate and furnish your space, beautifully

We're aware that chintz is among the vintage staples enjoying a thoroughly modern makeover. However, Matthew suggests that we don't need to fill our interiors with modern furnishings – but should combine new features with timeless pieces to create a unique maximalist setting. 

'I like all the classic patterns – the florals, ikats, stripes, and animal prints – but I bring in unexpected color for a modern look. You might use Delft pottery or old chintz but combine it with colors and patterns that catch the eye, so the old rubs along with the new,' he explains. 

4. Play with maximalism –but keep it minimal  

Matthew Williamson Mallorca home with patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

See: Maximalist botanical wallpaper is the trend we all want – ways to use it in your space

Yes, maximalism doesn't mean messy, and Matthew is the master of making sure you stay on the right side of the fine line. 'I would advise less confident decorators to keep the color palette tight in a scheme for a calm overall result. Restrict yourself to half a dozen colors and try not to veer from them,' he says. 

While we can't all enjoy the beauty of a colorful Mallorcan villa just yet, we can still mirror its ambiance throughout our interiors in the meantime. 

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This interview was by Kerryn Harper-Cuss for Homes & Gardens June 2021. To buy back issues or to subscribe to the magazine monthly, follow the link above.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. 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.