Ask Design Mom: Wall Art + Patterns

September 23, 2011

My dining room is newly painted, new table and chairs, but nothing on the walls… because of the busy pattern and unusual shades of green in the dining room chairs (which I LOVE). I’m at a complete loss for what to use as wall decor. If you have any suggestions, I would be thrilled to hear them! — Amanda

Hi Amanda! I saw this image in Marie Claire Maison and immediately thought of your question. My first advice: don’t be afraid of putting pattern with pattern. I adore the space above and it has like 10 different patterns going on. My second advice: don’t feel like you have to go matchy-matchy. The wall art does not have to match the greens in your chair patterns. It might match, but it doesn’t have to.

My best advice: remember that interior designers are more accessible than you think. Make some inquiries and see if you can find services within your budget. Sometimes, all you need is a person to bounce ideas off and respond with confidence.

What about you, Dear Readers? Does the pattern + pattern look appeal to you?

P.S. — Here’s a peek at Amanda’s newly painted dining room. It looks like such a great space to decorate!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alicia W. September 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

This could be a great space for some big black and white photos or other monochromatic art prints…those chairs are awesome!


2 katharine September 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

Nothing is better than original art. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Visit art fairs and student exhibits at local art schools and colleges to pick up bargains. Visit coop galleries ( artist run) and ask friends. It will be an exciting experience and bring you and your family more lasting pleasure than picking up something at Target that was made in China…And you will be helping our economy!


3 Angie September 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

OOooh. Green is my color!! and I love that! Those chairs! If only my husband had that much faith in my decorating ability. Go, Amanda!

I’d probably go with some very dark metalworks for the wall. Or a line-up of plate racks with a variety of white patterns displayed (picked up from a thrift shop). Or even some solid fabric stretched over canvas to add big bold blocks to the print. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful!


4 Rachael September 23, 2011 at 10:13 am

I would add a pale blue in the wall art or another soft color to balance the green. Looks great!


5 sarah September 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

oh my. love the space. i think it could go at bit retro with some subway art, or modern with mirrors….or even just black white and yellow. i would kill for a canvas like that. some days i want to pull everything off my walls and start all over just to do it again!


6 Kelly Rightsell September 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I would love to do something custom for you. Just email me!


7 bdaiss September 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I could see a large Georgia O’Keefe in there. Or some oversized vintage travel posters. But those are definitely MY style, not sure what YOUR style is. : ) I’d suggest finding some art you love. I don’t think the pattern is so overwhelming that another pattern or texture would compete. It would just add another layer to the room. But whatever you decide, it has to be “you”.


8 Shelly September 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I think a wall of white frames/mattes would look great– maybe with a bunch of black & white family photos or b/w art pics.


9 Andrea Graf September 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

The chairs are already so “matchy” with the paint that I would pick another contrasting “pop” color lik orange, coral, marigold, or teal, and put a little of it on the table and in the art work on the wall, that way the chairs won’t seem too bold but more like a nice bit of texture or detail.


10 Sara September 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm

LOVE the fabric on your chairs!! So fun! Definitely go for more pattern and texture; it will look great! I agree with bdaiss above that finding something you love is key! Add some different colors…it’s a great start!


11 Heidi S. September 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I agree with Andrea. I think adding another color would be a good idea. I am picturing light blue or aqua, something a little lighter that will contrast the walls. I would say that for artwork you should go for one large piece or a series of pieces to fill the wall. You need something to balance the chairs (which I really like). Also a big bowl in a similar color on the table would be nice. Have you looked on etsy for artwork?


12 Alison Fennell September 24, 2011 at 5:31 am

Pattern on pattern with heaps of colour and complementary colourat that – I love this look – makes me feel confident and happy! Great post – thank you – Alison


13 samia September 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

I have an idea! I don’t know if it is rude to offer my work on design mom. I make paintings and illustrations. Would you like some of my work?
Here’s a link to my work:


14 Vicki September 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

My thoughts were a big mirror (or a gallery wall of mirrors!?) and to play with scale, either going huge or small with a pattern similar to the chair pattern.

Have fun!


15 Amanda September 28, 2011 at 8:16 am

Yay! Thanks, Design Mom, for posting my question and thanks to everyone else for all the great comments about my dining room! I originally considered a gallery of 6 white wood frames with some of my husband’s black and white photography, but when we did a mock-up of that – it didn’t really “pop” the way I wanted it to. I agree that it needs a contrasting color (thinking bright blue or orangey red). I’ve also looked at some of the vintage posters because I think the chairs and the light fixture give the room a vintage flair, but haven’t found anything I love.

I can’t wait to finish reading all this tonight to come up with some additional ideas! I’ll send a pic when I finally settle on something! Thanks again!


16 Kimberly Yon August 11, 2015 at 11:43 am

Really creative, love the article!


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