Decorating with Ikat

Infusing a space with exotic flair doesn't mean you have to travel to the ends of the world. A bit of ikat pattern can easily bring the feeling home.


Ikat (pronounced "e-kaht") isn't generally considered a demure pattern. It's bold, daring, and energetic, making it a show stealer in just about any space. But, of course, there's a bit more to a room than just its pillows (or drapes or wallpaper). So what do you pair with ikat? Does it work in a modern space? What about a traditional one? Just like working with any pattern, it comes down to proportion and symmetry.

Ikat + Neutrals

Neutral solids are always a good bet when playing matchmaker with ikat. The singular shade offers the eye a much-needed breather from the multi-dimensional pattern. Plus, solids are to ikat what mats are to framed art -- because solid colors don't compete for attention, they give ikat the foundation to really shine as a focal point. Here, matching armchairs upholstered in a rich ikat pattern instantly take this space from formal to fanciful, while pops of coral throughout the rest of the space bring the look full circle. The pops and patterns stand out against the neutral walls, drapes, sofa, and rug.

Mix Up Patterns

Are neutrals not quite enough for you and your eclectic taste? There's no hard and fast rule that says ikat can't be paired with more pattern. In fact, this free flowing pattern is practically begging to break that mold. The key is matching proportions and balancing colorways. Choose a pattern similar in scale to your ikat, and allow one or the other to hold the title of "most colorful." In this living room, the traditional Oriental rug pairs nicely with daring ikat curtains thanks to similarity in scale. The white background in the ikat curtains also helps to balance the pattern duo.

Playing the Pattern Field

Pattern can be a bit finicky. Paisley, for example, is a pretty steadfast traditional pattern, as are most plaids and tartans, while geometrics read contemporary. Ikat, though, doesn't seem to mind shifting between styles. Whether it's modern, traditional, or any other home style, ikat just fits. Use it to punctuate a focal color on the living room couch, or to add a little visual texture to the walls in the bedroom. There's no stopping this bold pattern's trajectory into all things stylishly home. Here, an ikat pillow showcasing a mixture of icy blues and earth tones bridges the gap between warm beige and cool gray in the rest of the space.

About Carrie

Carrie Waller is the founder of Dream Green DIY, where she blogs about DIY, design, and life.

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