Decorating & Design - Styling Secrets

Contributing design editor Christine Hanlon shows how to mix and match patterns in the new global style.

A fresh take on classic African style, modern global is a meeting place for natural materials, worldly finds and exotic textiles. The style balances the warmth of traditional rooms with clean contemporary lines, creating a look that suits interiors the world over.

"Modern global spaces have a contemporary elegance. A parade of patterns from different cultures feels modern and fresh when used together," says contributing design editor Christine Hanlon.

A look in which patterns play a key role, modern global is rich in bold designs and natural textures, yet individual shapes aren’t complex. Full-bodied patterns are traded in for two-toned geometrics, while fussy accessories are exchanged for organic objets.

To keep contrasting patterns from competing with each other, it’s important to make sure they all have the same tonal value. In this room, the colours are earthy and natural to the point where they’re almost monochromatic. Unlike large-scale prints with lots of colours, two-toned geometrics in the same colour family work well together.

modern-global-living-room.jpg
Photography by Leslie Williamson from Handcrafted Modern (Rizzoli, 2010).

Incorporate worldly artifacts
Add artifacts around the room that suggest a life well traveled, such as the globe by the window. Hanging the Persian rug on the wall replaces wallpaper but makes a similar dramatic statement.

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