When I design, I always tell myself not to stop at the first pass. Sometimes I create a motif and set it aside to come back to on a later day. Other times, something happens that makes me want to keep playing and I go on for hours in one sitting.
For myself, I have discovered that I should never stop at the first layout. Adding in additional motifs, changing colors and design layers will almost always get to a much more dynamic result. I believe in sticking with it to see what happens.
Here's a very simple example of how I kept moving a design forward and got to three different looks in the process.
And for another example, head on over to the Surface Pattern Design Guild to see more!