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Mixing Patterns 101

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Mixing patterns in your home can seem like a scary task and one only left to us professionals. But it’s actually a lot easier than you think! So here’s a little insider knowledge so you can create a fun, colorful, layered and unique-to-you home.

You want to start off by finding a mix of scale and pattern style. Scale means the size of the pattern and also how large that piece is in the room. And style is categories like tribal, geometric, floral, etc. Start with some of the larger ticket items, like a lounge chair or rug. Those items play an immense role in the overall design and are a great base to layer upon. Once you have that one “statement” pattern and it’s application picked out, begin layering complementary colors and pattern on top. These additional layers include wall paint (or wallpaper!), window treatments, throw pillows, etc. The trick here is to have a mix of different scale patterns. For example, a small scale ticking stripe and a larger scale animal print. This ensures that your patterns will complement each other, rather than compete.

Design by Hovey Design | Photography by Julia Robbs

 

When first testing the “pattern-mixing” waters, you can get off to a great start by grouping like-minded colors and sticking to a neutral palette for the larger scaled items. These are things like the walls, sofa, rug, and so on. This way you have more flexibility to play around and things can also be moved from room to room. Another tip is to also incorporate a couple solid colors. You can pull these colors from one of your patterns. This gives your eye some rest and will let the chosen few patterns be the star. Too much of a good thing isn’t always the best.

Design by Jen Smith | Photography by Brittany Ambridge

 

Make sure the overall tone of your patterns is cohesive. You’ll want each pattern to have a “buddy” that shares similar pattern style or colors. This way even if two patterns in a space are wildly different, there will be something else in the room that ties it together. BUT we love odd numbers, so by having one pattern or solid that stands out all on its own is one way to bring in a little unexpected interest. So start off small with maybe 3-5 different patterns and then continue layering once you establish that good base. Evenly distribute these patterns throughout the room and incorporate some of the smaller scale patterns on multiple applications for balance.

Design by Barlow & Barlow

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