Mixing Patterns

People are generally happy to put colours and patterns in their interiors but, they will often shy away from mixing patterns for fear of not knowing what works and what doesn’t work.

The easiest way to figure out mixing patterns is to play around with the ones you have. Compare all of your patterns in a line and see which ones work together. To understand why, remember these tips:

1. Don’t go crazy on your colour palette.

Start with just 3 or 4 colours.
Keep similar colour tones and intensities. Stay away from mixing primary colours with pastels.
Use the same white as a base to tie all your patterns together

2. Mix the scale of your patterns

Two large and similar patterns won’t work well together, as the eye finds it difficult to differentiate between the two. American stylist Emily Henderson says the trick is to squint your eyes and if the patterns look the same then they don’t work. Use a mix of small and large patterns.

3. Numbers of patterns

Limit the number of patterns in a room from 3-5. This doesn’t mean only 3-5 colours are used in a room. Continue to spice up your space with colour blocks.
Odd numbers work best when grouping, so start with three and go up from there.

4. Distribution of Patterns

Deciding on positioning of patterns is important as spaces can become too visually heavy and busy when overcrowded. Spread your patterns out in your space, ensuring a balance is created within the room.

Include solids or blocks of colour in your room to give your eye somewhere to rest. If you want to add more fun, incorporate textures in solid colours.

If you are still feeling stuck, really get out there and play around. Fabric stores have collections of patterns in packs for patchwork. Spend some time flicking through these collections to get an eye for what works.

If you still haven’t found what your looking for, here are some examples of specific patterns that work well together…

– Polka dots, graphics and textures.

– Plaid, paisley and graphics.

– Small polka dots, florals and stripes.

– Ikat, paisley and polka dots.

– Damask, stripes and florals

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