Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Patterns can be a fun way to add a little pop of color or pattern to any space. Learn how to today!
There’s one design dilemma that continues to elude many—mixing patterns. Using more than one pattern in a room seems intimidating but it can be easy to do once you know the tricks. It all comes down to coordinating and complementing patterns in a space.
When decorating with patterns, first determine what kind of look you want your room to have. For example, florals give a room a pretty feel while animal prints give it a glamorous or eclectic feel. Second, think about what types of patterns will fit into your room's theme.
As a rule of thumb, use at least three patterns in a room. For example, group together a floral, stripe, and polka dot. Another pattern group that works well together is herringbone, stripes, and paisley. A third group of patterns could be two different size plaids and a floral.
Tip Mix up the scales of the patterns you're using. For example, choose a large pattern, one medium pattern, and one small pattern. Or, choose a large pattern and two medium patterns. (The one time you may not need to vary pattern size is if you use three animal prints in one room.
Choosing the Color of Patterns
Now that you have an idea of what patterns you may want to mix, the next challenge is choosing the colors. There are a couple of directions you can take when it comes to mixing and matching the colors of different patterns.
Use colors that have the same hue and intensity. For instance, don’t mix pastel patterns with jewel-tone patterns.
Choose tone-on-tone patterns which give a neutral room depth, texture, and character with a sophisticated overtone.
Placing Patterns Around a Room
Keep in mind a couple of rules when mixing patterns. Distribute patterns evenly throughout the room for balance. Keeping patterns to one side of a room makes can make a space look and feel unbalanced.
In addition, it's fine to show a bit of restraint when mixing patterns. The eye needs a place to rest so layering up too many patterns together will look and feel chaotic. Make sure you have a few solids to break up the expanses of pattern. For example, if your curtains are patterned, add in solid color shades or sheers. Patterns work best when they have plenty of room to breathe in a space.