The #1 Thing You Should Never Do, According to an Aussie Designer

Updated 05/05/19

In Australia, Greg Natale is considered one of the country's most prolific interior designers. For over 15 years, he has created an iconic aesthetic for his bold use of color and pattern, with multiple projects featured in publications from Architectural Digest, Harper’s Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Vogue Living. His entire philosophy centers around one guiding principle: Never be afraid of pattern, which explains his second book released this fall, The Power of Pattern.

"Pattern can bring a space to life. It introduces a vital layer to the design of a house, delivering a dynamic buzz, adding contrast and balance, injecting warmth, detail, and interest," says Natale of his love of pattern. "With this book, I share my love of pattern and reveal the many impressive ways in which it can be used to enliven, enhance, and create environments."

Ahead, we share the valuable lessons we learned from the book along with some of the designer's most memorable spaces. Trust us, decorating with color and pattern isn't as scary as you'd think.

Start Small

Greg Natale Interiors
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

Not everyone is comfortable using pattern in their décor, but an easy way to get more at ease with it is to start by introducing pattern subtly, as Natale did in this home in the Great Barrier Reef. In this master bedroom, blush tones and moss green accents were introduced to soften the space's omnipresent rosewood timber. This color palette was woven throughout the house, evoking the native flora, fauna, and reef beyond.

Rebecca Atwood Marble Geode Pillow in Blushing Taupe $224
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Play With Complementary Colors

The Patterned Interior — Greg Natale
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

In the Sydney suburb of Tamarama, Natale created a luxe jewel box for a young couple—all in shades of turquoise and gold to reflect the colors of the ocean and the owner's passion for surfing. A hand-painted deGournay wallpaper serves as a backdrop for a camel-hued sofa and a golden-hued rug. This softer take on a blue-and-yellow complementary palette creates a striking yet calming space.

Walnut Wallpaper Fauna Fantasia Wallpaper $200
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Limit Your Color Palette

Greg Natale Interior Design
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

If you discount the bold blue graphic tiles in this petite bathroom, the simple space is entirely composed of white and brass. With the tiles added—the space is transformed into a luxe and striking space—finished with a fluted glass shower door and navy towels to complement the floor's bold hue. By limiting the color palette, Natale was able to use a bold pattern in a small area successfully in this inner-Sydney space.

Clé Tile Point Tile $7
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Evoke the Outdoors

Greg Natale Design
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

In this country home in the Victorian countryside, Natale kept a limited color palette of black, gray, and green—using the repetition of the green accents to introduce a patterned rug. The geometrics in the rug, the plants, and the green accents all helped connect the indoor and outdoor in this moody family room. 

Pieces "Court Series" Grass Court Rug $1800
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Mix Monochrome Materials

Greg Natale Interior Design Tips
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

In the same home, Natale used various finishes—all in black and white—to create a dominant color palette. The marble backsplash, patterned floors, and upholstered benches all boast different patterns, but the limited color palette helps to keep the space coherent and not overwhelming.

Kelly Wearstler Camden Table $16000
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Make a Statement With Art

Greg Natale Interior Design Advice
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

In this Sydney apartment, the light color palette stays consistent throughout, accented only with a luxe gold marbled wallpaper and striking red, green, and blue artwork by Sydney Ball. By keeping the room devoid of any color (save for the metal finishes and the gray patterned rug), Natale allowed the art to take center stage.

Charlie Oscar Patterson Ochre $2560
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Repeat Metals Throughout

The Patterned Interior Book
© Natale, Greg, The Patterned Interior, Rizzoli, New York, 2018

In an ensuite bathroom in the same apartment, Natale once again introduced pattern with green terrazzo floors, patterned marble tiles, a cerused oak vanity, and fluted glass shower doors. In this room, the repeated brass accents in the hardware, fixtures, mirrors, and lighting, keep the space from feeling overwhelming—instead creating a luxe and calming space.

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Rejuvenation Rounded Rectangle Metal Framed Mirror $299
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