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Ikat Design

  Ancient Patterns with a Modern Twist  
If you enjoy vibrant splashes of color to embolden your interior surroundings, then ikat design is a match for you! Pronounced ee-kat, it is currently one of the hottest fashion trends for the home. Upon first glance, you might think this motif originated in a stroke of creative genius from a modern artist’s palette. However, many historians believe ikats originated as ancient symbols of tribal wealth and prestige. Others feel that cultures have traditionally used ikat designs simply for aesthetics, such as adorning ceremonial clothing. Whatever the case, ikat fever has caught on in America and it doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon.
Ikat Design Color Swatches
“Ikats are global textiles
offering ancient patterns that
are elegant, yet simple.”
Today, ikat’s striking motifs inspire interior decorators and consumers alike. Ikat textiles can energize any contemporary surrounding. Their rich colors and intricate patterns can immediately transform any room into a bold statement of art.

Interior designer Mally Skok states that she is “ikat crazy.” Born in South Africa and raised in London, Mally has also traveled to several exotic places of the world where ikat designs originated. She is intrigued by the fact that ikats were invented independently in various areas of the world, including Indonesia, South America, and Eastern Europe, where there were no trade or travel connections.

Mally says that “even though ikat colors and patterns were developed centuries ago, these textiles are still relevant today.” She loves the blurred images found in ikats and says it fascinates her how these fabrics are woven on a narrow loom. “Twine is put over cotton or silk, then dyed, and that’s how the blurred look is made.”

“Ikats are global textiles offering ancient patterns that are elegant, yet simple,” Mally says. “For this reason, ikat fabrics work very well in interior and transitional spaces. They aren’t chintzy but offer an organic quality with vibrant, fun colors derived from vegetable dyes. With colors ranging from rich magentas to warmer teals and browns, ikats can act as a palette from which to springboard the décor of an entire room. One of the great things about ikats is they are gender-neutral, so they work well in any room.”

Ikat Design Roomscene

Following are Mally’s suggestions for using ikat fabrics to dramatically enhance the interior of your home.

Start with a plan. I like to start off with a “map” or starting point that I can use to create the design of a room. Use the colors in an ikat fabric as a palette from which to fashion an entire area or adjoining rooms.
Begin with an ikat-designed pillow or seat of a chair. This can punch up a room, and it is very calming to the eyes to complement ikat fabrics with earthy linens and plain colors.
Keep it simple. Don’t use too many different ikat patterns in the same space. Instead of choosing several conflicting motifs, often you must streamline choices to bring together the essence of a room.
Colors positively impact mood. Curtains or walls with warm ikat colors, such as sables and golds, can make a dining area inviting because people will feel “cocooned.”
Be consistent in small spaces. In small apartments, be sure that your design flows well from space to space. Once you’ve started a décor in one room, don’t have a crazy scheme in the area next to it. Subtly carry your theme and colors from room to room so they aren’t jarring.
Try introducing ikat designs into your furnishing décor as a touch of accent through pillows, area rugs, or table runners—or as a riveting focal point via wall hangings, framed artwork, upholstery, bedding, drapes, and even floor tiles. Let your imagination run free with ikat to inspire and dramatize your interior surroundings and living spaces.

Mally Skok is an interior designer based in Lincoln, Massachusetts. For information about her creative designs, please visit