Banish the beige! Yes a neutral palette can be pleasing but for many homeowners, it can be a bit boring, so adding a pop of color is common. But maybe it’s time to break out of the box and add some prints to your room, and not just a with a pillow or your window treatment. How about a piece of furniture in a full-on print that says “wow”? When it comes to furniture decorating with prints can be fun and adds a lot of interest to a room. Just one piece of printed furniture can enliven a ho-hum living space. Designers have created lots of options that go far beyond big florals and that old 70’s plaid.
The sofa is the centerpiece of your living room or family room and choosing upholstery that is bold, colorful or graphic will make a statement. That said, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re not experienced in mixing prints, choose just one printed piece for your living space. It can be enough to transform the entire room.
Opting for an unusual shape can also boost the interest of a piece. Go ultra-modern or choose a softer contemporary sofa shape that differs from the standard offerings. Try placing a design-forward, printed sofa in a space like a larger bedroom, sitting area or den for a different feel. This is Adrenalina’s Soft Machine sofa.
A love seat is also a good option for when you want to add a bold piece of printed furniture. Covering both a sofa and a love seat in a fabric like this floral might harken back to your great-grandmother’s living room. Instead, pair a smaller, boldly upholstered piece of furniture with contemporary neutral pieces and you’ll have a very appealing combination. A good start is this Marquise Gondole L. XV from Moissonier.
A traditionally shaped, tufted leather sofa can easily sport a print. Even in black and white, this toile could be overwhelming on such a large piece of furniture. Instead, try covering only part of the sofa for a more modest look, like this from Bella Rustica Home. By using this type of print only on the tops of the seat cushions, it updates a stodgier leather piece, giving it a modern twist while maintaining a traditional feel.
Sometimes the print will dictate how best to upholster the piece. While this high-backed bench from Spini Interiors could easily be done in a bold print because of its slim style, this palm frond upholstery fabric takes on added drama when used only on the back and cushions. A set of solid-colored pillows breaks up the pattern and makes it easy to swap out the secondary pop of color.
Cupboards and Credenzas
These days, prints are not limited to upholstered pieces. Designers are dressing up all types of pieces with prints, patterns and colors. From soft floral garlands to bold geometries, each piece is a fantastic way to make a space pop.
Boca do Lobo’s glossy Pixel cabinet looks like a mosaic done in bold colors. The compact sized piece sits atop a sculptural gold base that incorporates round lines that play against the overall angular feel.
Abstract designs are another option for printed furniture. Done in neutral tones, this style may appeal to those who want to incorporate a printed piece, but for whom bold and bright is too much. A credenza like this from Atelier Moba definitely catches the eye but in a more subtle fashion.
Exotic tile patterns and a Moroccan flair can bring a basic piece to life. While the tile patterns are traditional, their use on cabinets is more novel. Multicolored printed pieces like these can be used to refresh a stale space of almost any decor style. These pieces are from Galleon Industries.
In a new twist in traditional style Portuguese tile, Boca do Lobo created this amazing piece that uses the tiles in a totally different way. The soft blue and white palette is easy to incorporate and can be played down for a more subtle look or, as in this setting, played up with a dramatic mirror.
Painted furniture is another way to add pattern to your room. This Steven Shell dresser has a geometric, harlequin-like pattern that is done in bold shades of earthier tones. As with most printed pieces, the setting in which you place it will determine how big of a statement it will make.
For a more feminine feel, a floral motif can dress up a basic white piece of furniture. Here, the unique design is like a painting and spans the entire front of the dresser.
Tables and Desks
Tables and desks are a little more of a novelty for printed furniture. Of course, tables are perfect for trying out a print, especially if it’s a occasional table that can easily be moved to another room if desired.
A home office will get a real upgrade with a metallic zebra print like this one. The organic shape of the top, paired with two different styles of beautiful legs will up the glam factor. The dramatic desk is best paired with a more sedate chair.
The dining room is a perfect place for patterns and prints, which usually come in the form of upholstered chairs. An amazing table like this, however, is a stunning centerpiece, with its geometric black and white top, accented with gold studs at the bottom edge. Spain’s Epoca Luxury Furniture paired the striking table with elegant but understated dining chairs.
If a table is too much, there’s always the option of a printed cupboard like this one from Boffi. The ikat-style print is not typically found on wood furniture. Paired with a solid, understated table, it’s possible to add chairs covered in a matching fabric without being overwhelming.
Probably the most common piece to be done up in a print is a chair. Pick a pattern next time you buy a chair or, reupholster a favorite piece you already own. If it has a good shape, fits your space and is comfortable, it’s a good candidate for an overhaul. It’s easier to go bold with chairs because you can add a solid pillow or throw to tone down the print. Or, move it to another room if the color palette works there.
Mod and retro prints work well on chairs and ottomans. An earthy range of colors keeps the Antonella Armchair by DOMEdizioni from being too over-the-top.
The unstructured shape of these upholstered sections lends itself to the slightly bohemian style of the fabric. The stylized floral motif in an off-white on the blue background has a relaxed feel that suits the style of the pieces.
Bold geometric patterns are great for chairs as well. Just one piece like this chair from Elledue Arredamenti in a bold orange makes a strong statement and blends well with a neutral palette as shown here. A small seating area would take on an added dimension with the addition of this chair — or even a pair!
A more formal chair style can also put on a print. Pairing a fanciful frame style with the wild flame-print upholstery makes for a daring and dramatic piece that has far more character than it would if covered in a solid or more conservative fabric. Excellent as a desk chair, it would also be an extravagant choice for an entire set of dining chairs.
Sometimes a bold print rendered in black and white is the answer to a design dilemma. This Erba club style armchair is deep and comfy, with a relaxed attitude that is enhanced by the tropical print. If the design were colorful, it would be a more energetic piece. Black and white pieces like this are the perfect foil for a bright colored cushion or throw.
More subtle prints can also help upgrade chairs. This pair, upholstered in a sophisticated tan, features organic bands of a darker shade that look like sand or clouds on a landscape. The neutral hue makes it easy to work these into an existing set of furniture. The shape of these two chairs is particularly interesting as a pair.
Missoni is known for its prints and at the 2017 Salone Del Mobile in Milan, the brand showed off its home decor fabrics, covering chairs in a variety of shapes and styles. How the different prints work with the various shapes of the chairs is very interesting.
Even a dining chair in a basic shape takes on new panache with the addition of printed upholstery fabric. These would be stylish in a kitchen or casual dining room.
Ottomans are also good candidates for being rendered in a print for all the same reasons that a chair is. They can be paired with existing chairs and are just as easily moved to new spots in the same room or to another room entirely.
For fans of one-of-a-kind designs, chairs are the perfect piece to sport an artful cover. This one, by Sergio Villa Mobil Italy is hand-painted. Depending on your space, often the back of a chair gets more viewing than the front, providing a perfect opportunity for embellishing the outside of the chair and leaving the cushions plain.
Subtle prints also add interest and are often easily paired with printed wallpapers, rugs and other items. Here, comfortable upholstered club chairs are done in an understated floral on a light background, Quietly elegant, they convey more personality than plain upholstery does.,
Mid-century style chairs can take on new life when upholstered in a print — a more modern one that is. This geometric print includes a pop of turquoise that adds some modern flair to the neutral fabric. The print also adds to the textural feel of the chair, from Sigmal2.
A set of basic living room armchairs with a curved back are upholstered in a lively zig-zag print by Smania. The bright yellow plays against the other tones, which are more subdued. Elegant but bolder than a traditional choice, these are a modern way to add printed chairs to a more conservative space.
Far from conservative, this modern take on a wing chair from Soft Line features not only thin metal legs but also wild and funky upholstery. Not only a pop of color, this chair adds a real jolt of pizzazz to a room.
Equally dramatic, this wing chair shows how neutral tines in a bold graphic can make a very big statement in a space. The white and black shapes along with the earth-toned stripes are very attractive and a modern counterpoint to the weathered legs.
For those who are more timid about using bod prints, stools are a perfect option. Not only are they portable, but they are an easy and more inexpensive way to audition prints for your living spaces. These wonderful mixed print stools from Miho Unexpected Things are colorful and would be perfect in a neutral toned country chic room.
Prints on large accessories are yet another option of adding dimension to decor. The colors are not wild, but animal prints are a good way to incorporate a graphic piece into a room. It’s a neutral item and would work well with other prints and colors.
Options abound and are limited only by your comfort level. To create a room with personality, mix prints, colors and shapes to your heart’s content, as long as the result is within the realm of what makes you comfortable. As with any other aspect of design, you live with it so you have to like it.