Bargello patterns embroider eye-catching looks for rooms

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Bargello, which originated from a style of needlework found on pieces in Italy's medieval Bargello Palace, refers both to a method of embroidery (flat, vertical stitches that form geometric tiers) and to the resulting pattern. We're most familiar with it as a flame stitch, but it takes other forms as well: diamonds, ribbons, chevrons and arabesques, to name a few.

Bargello's graphic appeal and versatility have given it staying power through the centuries. Now, thanks to design icons such as Jonathan Adler, the pattern has resurged in fresh new ways. Here's a peek at the possibilities.

Flame stitch sometimes feels like a relic from the '80s, but not here. A stunning tile mosaic makes this powder room shimmer like a jewel. This is reinvention done right, true to the spirit of the original but recast with a completely new attitude.

A touch of bargello brings to life a simple upholstered bed frame.

Muted flame stitch upholstery, teamed with contrasting florals on the chair back and rug, gives this vintage fauteuil chair form a burst of renewed energy. The monochromatic palette helps the flame stitch appear sophisticated rather than dated.

Jagged waves in autumnal hues break across this wing chair. The pattern evokes the spirit of traditional flame stitch but with a fresh, graphic approach -- just right for this transitional living area.

Wall Pops form an overscale bargello-inspired design that doubles as art and injects a needed dose of pattern and color.

Jonathan Adler has been a major influence in bargello's revival. His pieces, such as the two small accent pillows on this sofa, feature the pattern in a variety of different forms.

Another Adler pillow wears a chevron bargello print. The hint of exoticism in the pattern marries well with the bohemian notes in the space.

Bargello doesn't have to shout. Subtle, undulating waves lend this neutral rug the appearance of texture.

In a similar manner, a restrained bargello print brings just enough pattern into this stairwell without overwhelming the scheme.


Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Lisa Frederick is a contributor to Houzz.

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