Looking at any colour or pattern from a distance can be useful as some patterns optically mix. If your pattern has two analogous colours next to each other these two colours can mix or blend to create an illusion of a brand new colour. If for example you had a small scale print where the colours were red and white from a distance that print may look pink. This is more important when designing interiors especially when for example you are looking at small swatches and choosing 'matching' paints or carpets.
You might like to see some images from a recent photo shoot of the new silk collection where the ties are further in the distance.