A Lesson in Pattern Repeat and Match

Digital ImageHere is a wallpaper pattern by Stroheim, a somewhat high-end brand. Pick out a left-facing leopard. I’ll bet you think it is an exact match to the left-facing leopard beneath it. But you’re wrong!

This pattern has a 36″ repeat, which means that you’d have to roll off 36 inches of left-facing leopards before you came to the exact same leopard again. It’s important to not assume it’s a typical straight-across match, and to catch this before you start cutting up the roll of wallpaper, because lining up a leopard on one strip to a different leopard on the next strip, there will be an eye-catching mis-match along the entire seam.

Whoever designed this pattern gave us paperhangers a break, though, and did not put any leopards at the seams. Instead he put the trees and leaf motifs at the seams. And, oddly enough, even if these were not matched up to the proper motif on the next strip, it didn’t show, because all the tree canopies lined up, and all the leaves lined up. Well, some of the leaves were a little off, but we’re talking a 32nd of an inch, and with this busy pattern, no one’s gonna notice.

I could not believe it, and had some fun butting different tree canopies up against one another, and proving that all of them matched perfectly. That’s some pretty amazing engineering on the designer’s part!

This wallpaper pattern is by Stroheim and was hung in an entry hall in Clear Lake, near Houston.

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