Friday, October 26, 2012

Mixing Patterns

One question that I've gotten quite a few times is how to mix patterns. Mixing patterns is all the rage right now, both in interiors and fashion. I consider it an art, which I unfortunately have not yet mastered. I do however have a few guidelines I follow when mixing patterns and selecting fabrics for a space. Of course there are people out there who don't need rules, they can throw 10 random fabrics in a room and make it look absolutely flawless. This is for the rest of us who have not yet reached that level, bare with me as I try to explain how i do it.

1. Color
The first step is deciding what your color scheme is going to be, this will give you a direction for your fabrics. Once I have colors in mind I usually start with one pattern with all of the colors in it and work from there. This fabric can be used for drapery, pillows, upholstery, or anything really. After that, make sure that all of your fabrics have at least one of the colors in them.

small bedroom cottage style cropped
When selecting fabrics within a color scheme, stick with the same color intensity. Don't mix pastels with muted or bright tones. You can add more patterns if all of your colors are within the same hue.

2. Scale
Next you need to think about the scale of your prints. Having two large prints right next to each other will compete and your eye won't know where to go. Likewise, having two small prints will do the exact same thing. It's important to have large, medium, and small prints that all compliment each other.

The colors are all right, but the 2 large prints are competing with each other and make it look too busy.

3. Pattern
After you have your fabrics narrowed down by scale, it's time to focus on the patterns of the fabrics.  If all of your fabrics are floral, they will compete with each other.  You most likely wouldn't see a room full of different colored chevron or polka dot fabric, you need to mix up your patterns a little. For example, you could do one large scale and one small scale floral, a geometric, and one other such as polka dots or Greek key.
4. Simplifiy
Unless you are a pro at mixing patterns and can throw any fabrics together and make it look effortless, try to limit the number of different patterns you have. As a rule of thumb I go with no more than 3 different prints on a sofa, and no more than 5 or 6 prints in a room, and a solid does not count as a print. This of course is just a guideline, and I don't always follow it.

Sofa and pillows
aqua couch!
5. Mix it up
Once you have all your fabrics and pattens selected spread them throughout the space. Putting all your patterns in one part of the room will make that part feel too heavy and the room will feel unbalanced. Also, if you have multiple pillows on a sofa, don't put them all on one side. Spread them out, and use solid pillows to balance it out even more if necessary.

6. Most of all, have fun!
I've found that if i think to hard about it, it won't turn out right. These really are just guidelines to get you going, don't stress over them, besides rules were made to be broken!

Mixing patterns
Eye candy


  1. Wow, this is a great post! I'm so glad you found my blog so that I could find you! Well written, and great photos--thanks for all of these tips. Your blog is wonderful too--I'm you're latest follower :)

  2. I have to admit I am a horrible decorator and I've made some of the don't mistakes you posted haha I guess I can just never decide thanks for sharing these tips I'll keep them in mind :)

    Found you threw the Harvest of Friends hop, following via gfc :)

    Beauty Flawed

  3. Great advise Kae! This is such a fun trend, mixing patterns add so much personality to a room. Love it. Yels x

  4. Newest follower here! I found you through the Friday link up! Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more!

  5. i was trying to find the perfect post to comment on, but ended up getting lost in all of the beautiful design work. I don't have much of an eye, but I really appreciate those who do. I went through a good 10 posts before realizing I hadn't commented on one. It's a great site. I'll definitely be back.

    New follower from Harvest of Friends Blog Hop. Hope you can come by 100lb Countdown, Like Me on FB Push 2 a New You or Follow Me on Twitter @100LBC

  6. I just found you from the blog hop, I'm your newest follower!:)

  7. I love the pillows! Super cute.

  8. love this! I love mixing prints together to create a new look! so cute



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