Room Patterns

First of all let me say that if any of you guys have doubts about their sexual orientation then don't read this. What I’m going to explain is how real interior designer’s theories apply to maps, and how those can make your rooms look better. This time I’m going to talk about patterns, or if you prefer textures.

So there are 10 key rules of how to use patterns in a room, let’s see which ones they are and how they apply to maps:

1- Find one basic fabric and build the room around it!

Seems almost like common sense, but this one of the big faults in maps. Basically what this says is that we most keep some coherence in the materials we use in our maps. Big variations of materials in a room don't work to well, so you should choose one that fits the theme of the room and use it has the base of the entire room, for example having wood on a combine high tech facility doesn't work.

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On the left a room with contrasting materials(wrong), on the right a room with materials from the same theme(good)

2- Try not to use more then 3 patterns in a room unless they are very subtle

Again common sense, having lots of contrasting patterns in a room looks ugly most of the times, this rule tells us not to use more then 3 contrasting patterns otherwise, the effect will be one of chaos rather than balance, but even 3 contrasting patterns look a bit to excessive, so in my opinion 2 is the perfect balance.

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left a room with 3 contrasting textures(bad), on the right a room with 2 contrasting textures(good)

3. Vary the style of the patterns

If in need of using more then one different pattern in a room choose a different one, this will make it look less boring, and for that more attractive to the eye. But be careful with this always remember the 2 previous rules, stay with the same material, and no more then 2 contrasting patterns.

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on the left a room with no variety on the patterns(bad), on the right a room with different style patterns(good)

4. Vary the scale of the pattern.

If again you need to use more then one pattern, then don't choose one with the same scale, this is some what connected with point 3. So let's say for example we have a room textured with small circles in one side, you should use medium (or big) squares on the other.

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left 2 patterns with the same scale(bad), on the right the same patterns with different scales(good)

5. Don’t cluster the patterns in one area of the room. Spread them out in at least three different areas to give visual balance to the room.

This is a big rule, and almost self explaining, this basically means that if your using several different patterns, don't put them all in the same side of the room, spread them around, make the player see different things every where he looks.

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on the left a room with the same side of the room(bad), on the right a room with the patterns properly distributed(good)

6. Unite the patterns with a common color.

Having lot's of contrasting colors in a room doesn't work, stay with the same color scheme, and in a map this will also help with the way you use your lights, since different texture colors reflect different light colors.

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on the left a room with 2 contrasting colors(bad) on the right a room with the same color scheme(good)

7. Use small scale patterns in a smaller room. In larger rooms, where they are seen at a distance, these tend to be read as texture or a solid.

With this rule we get to the most important part of this tutorial which are the patterns sizes and how they affect a room. What this rule says is that small patterns should only be used on small rooms, makes sense doesn't it? Basically when using small patterns on big rooms it's really hard to distinguish the pattern at a distance and it will just look like flat colors. You can also apply this to texture scales, using a really low texture scale on a big room makes almost impossible to distinguish that texture, plus it's just ugly.

8. Medium scale patterns are the most versatile. They can retain their pattern at a distance, yet in a smaller space, they don’t overpower.

Also kind of a obvious rule. This is one thing that texture artists should care about while making textures, always try to use medium size patterns (let's say for example on a tiles texture), since this apply to almost any size of room, and a mapper will most of the times choose this type of textures to use in is map, since they are the ones which look better.

9. Choose large scale patterns with care. They can overpower a small space, but can add vibrancy to a larger room.

So basically this says that large patterns can easily change the way a room looks, so be careful with them. In a small room it will give a sense of granditude, and make the room look really good, and on large rooms it will make the walls looks perfect since you’re on a big room with big patterns, and looking at that gives the feeling that nothing is wrong in the room.

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the same room with the same patter in different scales, small, large and medium (in this order)

10. Choose stripes to add height or width to a room.

Stripes change a lot the way a room looks, basically horizontal stripes add space, width to an area, and vertical stripes add height to a short room, or add more height to a high ceiling. This is a easy thing to remember, and may help when you want to change the way a room looks.

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the same room with vertical and horizontal patterns, notice how it changes the room look

So to resume what was said:

Complex Patterns that use several colors and diagonal, criss-crossing lines are busy for your eye. They can liven up a large area, but it may be overwhelming for a small room.

Vertical Lines add height to a short room, or add more height to a high ceiling.

Horizontal Lines add space, width to an area.

Remember the Size and Scale of your space. General rule of thumb, the larger the space, the larger the print, the smaller the space the smaller the print. Yet adding a large print to a small area can give you a feeling of grandeur.

The same grouping or pattern used throughout an area can draw together a wide open plan. It will create a flow and sense of continuity.

Colors affect how we see patterns. High contrast patterns create an energetic feeling and colors close in value create a more subdued environment.

Texture affects color. Rough textures will absorb light while smooth textures will reflect light.

Reference site:

And that was it.


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