History In The Home – Century-Old Patterns That Are Still Popular In Interiors


With the growing desire to both appreciate and seek inspiration from international design, it is now simpler than ever to incorporate pattern into the home. Being one of the essential elements of interior design, pattern is used to visually organise surfaces and produce impact. It also has the ability to be overwhelming if it is overdone, but can completely transform a space when scaled and layered correctly. From splashes of colour to pops of prints, pattern helps to exhibit individuality and add depth and character to the home. Below are the patterns that are still being reached for, despite their existence and use for centuries.

Words: Amber Dahlhaus

The repetitive zigzag geometrical pattern dates back to The Roman Empire, getting its name from the shape and pattern of the bones of a herring fish. Originally created as a construction system for road paving, and after, moving to fabrics and clothing, it effectively vanished after the fall of The Roman Empire, and reappeared much later on during the European Renaissance within architecture.

Fast forward to the current modern world and the geometric pattern has been creeping back into trend, once again cementing its popularity; particularly in kitchens and bathrooms. Tiles, wood and brick are materials that are most frequently used, creating the options of both a matte and glossy finish. It is chosen for its ability to expand narrow spaces and create contrast by using a different grout colour to the material.

This shower does exactly that, with the wall of glossy black herringbone tiles not only creating contrast with the light adjacent wall and floor, but also with the white grout. This statement bathroom has an opulent feel, with the lines of the patterns creating a bold, clean look.

1Photo by @stephanibuchmanphoto

Terrazzo is a result of Venetian mosaic workers discovering a way to reuse marble remnants in the 15th century. When the industry was brought over to the United States, it was quickly admired by the rich and famous, used for monumental structures, although eventually was used for sidewalks, stairways and terraces.

The ordinary person can now showcase this pattern in their own homes, often choosing it for its environmentally friendliness, design potential, durability and low maintenance. Terrazzo is currently making a comeback in kitchens, due to its timeless nature and the way in which it has imparted its versatility to other styles, from contemporary, to classic, to retro. It is also preferred for its ability to display complete colour palettes.

This kitchen splashback and floor in a Madrid studio is a funky and modern way to showcase terrazzo in your home, with the pastel shades of rust orange, yellow and charcoal bringing together all of the colours in the room to create a soft contemporary feel.

2Photo by @antarticaestudio

Loved for its veins of impurities such as clay, sand and other minerals that create the pattern, marble is said to be first used in ancient Greece to construct iconic buildings; the most notable being the Parthenon in Athens. Following, it was also the material of choice for architects and craftsman around the world and is now used widely within the design industry.

It has evolved from predominantly being used for exterior facades and flooring, now most often being the stone of choice for countertops, staircases and accent pieces. This natural stone is a symbol of luxury and impeccable taste, selected for its heat resistance, premium quality and unique variety of veins, grains and colour. What is more impressive is its ability to instantly add to the value of a home.

The grey coloured veins in this cream coloured marble are swirled and placed in ways that make each step unique and interesting. Carrying yourself with elegance would be made easy with these stairs to follow!

3Photo by @johnpawson

So, there you have it! Three patterns that are still admired and used in different ways within the home. Are these patterns that you already have or wish to have in your home? Which one is your favourite?