How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro

One of the things that my clients are most fearful of is mixing patterns. Whether it’s beginners who are just starting to experiment with their pillow story, or intermediates that are ready to branch out into their rug and window coverings, it can definitely be intimidating. But, when done right, mixing patterns adds a layer of sophistication and visual interest to to any room. Gone are the days where people would match their curtains to their pillows. Stick with me and I’ll lay out my top 5 tips for mixing patterns like a pro.

1. Use colors that are the same intensity. For example, pastels work well with other pastels, but not so much with jewel tones. Pick a hue and stick with it throughout all the patterns. Repeating a particular color throughout your patterns also helps to create a cohesive look.

2. Use at least 3 patterns in a room and vary the scale of the patterns. This means you should choose one or two larger scale patterns and one or two smaller scale patterns. This way the patterns are not competing and can work in harmony with each other.

3. Spread the patterns throughout the room evenly. If all the patterns are concentrated on one side of the room, the room will feel unbalanced. Start from the floor and work your way up. Rug, pillows, curtains and so forth.

4. Repeating colors and patterns throughout the space helps create a unified look. If you want your space to feel more sophisticated, choose 4-5 patterns in a similar color and then repeat them throughout the room. For example, you could choose a soft blue color, then select a large-scale pattern for an area rug. Follow this up by repeating 3-4 other patterns in the curtains, throw pillows and upholstery.

5. Anchor any space with a large, patterned, area rug. This provides a great focal point and splash of color and pattern, whilst offering a jumping-off point from which to pull out other colors and patterns.

The best way to avoid pattern overload is to make sure you have a neutral backdrop to start with. Simple white or light gray walls provide the best foundation for layering patterns and textures without overdoing it. A great way to venture into experimenting with mixing patterns is in your throw pillows. Try out the rules above when you are out shopping, then mix and match with some of your existing pillows. This is a great way to instantly refresh a space and try your hand at pattern-mixing for a minimal investment.

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