Mixing patterns causes a lot of people to break out in a cold sweat. There are myriad elements in most rooms, from accent pillows to window treatments. Throw in the colors from the art, furniture, and walls, and it’s no wonder people get confused and intimidated by mixing patterns in their interior design.
Don’t fret! I’m going to break it down for you today so you can mix patterns like a boss and impress everyone who visits your home.
1. Pick a color palette and work from that
All of your textiles and patterns should have hues in your color palette. Consider the psychology of color when you’re choosing your colors, and think carefully about how much of each color you want. For example, hot pink generally makes a better accent color than a whole-room shade. Read this blog post for tips: Creating an Inspired Home Color Palette.
2. Keep your saturation the same
If you’re going for bold, rich colors, don’t mix them with dainty pastels, for example. The more vibrant color will always overpower the lighter one. Keeping your color intensity the same will go a long ways toward making your patterns work together.
3. Work in odd numbers
Just like in landscape design, patterns in interior design look best in odd numbers, particularly in multiples of three. For example, if you’re picking out accent pillows for a couch, group them in threes and choose three different patterns for them. If your side chair has two patterns on it, let the rug be the third pattern.
4. Get to know your patterns’ personalities
If you’re creating a transitional look for your room, stick to more contemporary patterns. In a modern scheme, something like damask, a more formal, traditional pattern, would look out of place. Take some time to get to know your patterns. Put them next to each other and see if their unique vibes are cohesive or if they clash.
One note: If you’re dropping a lot of cash on one item, like a custom window treatment, let that be your anchor and match your less expensive patterns to it.
5. Incorporate some solids
Unless you’re going for an ultra-Bohemian look, limit your patterns. Skilled interior designers don’t overdo it. That’s because patterns need to be balanced by solid colors. Neutrals are great for this, like greige. Solid colors give the eye a place to rest between the “busyness” of patterns.
6. Look at the scale
A good rule of thumb is to use a large-scale pattern with a lot of colors, a medium-scale pattern with some colors, and a small-scale pattern with only a few. This has to do with how the eye perceives pattern and color. Too many colors in a small pattern will distract from your overall look.
7. Have fun and don’t be afraid
Swatches of fabric can be laid out and “felt out” for as long as you want. Throw pillows can be returned. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And have fun with your design!