pattern mixing ike a pro design smart interiors

5 Tips on How to Mix Patterns like a PRO!

There are so many different patterns to choose from and it can be overwhelming for some!

Lots of people, still struggle with breaking the mold of the matchy-matchy look. I remember growing up, the curtains, sofa and pillows all matched. …yikes! Thank goodness this is almost absolute.

I get asked all the time, how do I mix patterns? Can I put stripes with flowers? Do the colours matter? How many patterns can I mix in a room?

Patterns mixing can be scary, between colour, scale and patterns, there is a lot to consider! Some decorating mistakes can be costly, and understanding some tricks of the trade will avoid this. There are some foundational elements that make pattern mixing important to keep in mind.

Our goal is to make it easy for you, here are five simple tricks to help you on your way….

Balance – Keep top of mind

  • Distribute patterns evenly
  • Use at least 3 patterns evenly in a room
  • Use colours that compliment one another
  • Balance prints of different scale; large, medium and small
  • Keep fabrics in the same colour family

Patterns – Choose ones you love

  • Ensure you don’t place too many patterns on top of each other (i.e.; damask – works with strips/solids. Florals – stripes, geometric, checks. Paisley – curtains, throws, pillows etc.)
  • Patterns don’t have to be full of different colours
  • Co-ordinating and complementing is key
  • Mix patterns with solids
  • Choose one pattern to be the dominant one

Style – There are many however, here are four to start

  • Stripes are one of the easiest to work with
  • Florals are the opposite of stripes
  • Geometrics are all about repeating simple, linear, and basic shapes
  • Organics have a lot of patterns – inspired by nature, motifs, non-geometric, including animal prints

Colour – Remember your primary colours

  • Connect at least one colour from one item to the next
  • Use your favourite colour and mix designs with the same colour hues
  • Choose complimentary colours
  • Use the colour theory wheel above to assist you
  • Mixing patterns within a restrained palette is a good way to use variety without having varying contrast

Approach – 60-30-10 (doesn’t have to be exact – but have structure of dominance)

  • Mix two or more major patterns with a small accent
  • Choose a major pattern to dominate the room
  • 60 % of a visible pattern (like a large rug)
  • Choose 30% for co-ordinating pattern (like drapes)
  • Be bold with 1% contrasting – chairs, pillows etc.

Have a strategy for mixing items. Keep your patterns straight. Solids are not considered patterns, however when trying to get a series of patterns to work together. Solids can help bring a scheme together without causing more busyness and/or a distraction.  Stripes are most designers secret weapon. (Don’t tell anyone I told you)

Mixing patterns is truly an art, there is a fine line between too-much and too-little. Always, consider function! Don’t over coordinate (I see this over and over). Remember relying on accents to support patterns. Mix and match with incorporating your style.

Now you’re off to the races…. and don’t forget to have some fun, too!

We would love to get in touch with you! Feel free to send us a note and a photo and we’ll send you some ideas. And of course, if you have any questions, comments, or would like to work with us – feel free to contact us directly by email.

Until Next Time!


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