How to Mix Patterns like a pro

April 03, 2020

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We get asked about this one pretty regularly.  

Pattern mixing is something many people are afraid to have a go at. It can seem a bit daunting and easy to get wrong. So we wanted to create a fail-safe guide to pattern mixing so that everyone can have a go at home.

In the interests of keeping this as simple as possible, we've distilled everything we know into 3 rules. If you follow these, you can't go wrong! We promise. :)

pick a colour

 

This is the one big tip that will make all your myriad patterns make sense.

Pick a dominant colour to run through all your patterns. This is what you will start with and what will link your patterns together.

You can see in this image here that the strong solid lines of the different stripes are mixed with a more organic, hand-drawn type pattern, and we even have some art creating abstract shapes thrown in as well. But it all makes sense because the room is grounded in the navy blue.

mix scales

 

Large patterns tend to fight with other large patterns. And small patterns on small patterns make things seem overly busy and hectic.

But when you mix the scales like in the gorgeous image to our left, suddenly everything comes together.

The large graphic pattern on the walls is actually complemented by the intricate pattern created on the floor by the mosaics.

As a side note, when you're putting furniture into a highly patterned room, we recommend using some solid block colours to ground the space. Like the designer has done here with these blue chairs.

don't go matchy matchy

 

It's a bit counterintuitive this one, as the topic is pattern matching but in reality it's actually more pattern clashing!

Patterns that work together are often not in the same family of patterns. Floral on floral is very hard to get right, for example.

You want to go for prints that are very different from each other. So floral on stripes. Or traditional on a modern geometric print. It seems illogical but it really does work

SOME DO'S AND DONT'S!

DO:

  • Do colour coordinate
  • Do consider the mood you want to create – large-scale subtler prints will be more calming whilst busy, high contrast prints will energize.
  • Do experiment - Sometimes though things might be completely against tried and tested rules but it will just work and you don’t know why! You won’t know until you try. Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts.

DON'T:

  • Don’t go too crazy - whilst we love patterns being mixed in a room, you need to break it up with some solid blocks of colour or some more neutral sections or it will end up looking a bit like you decorated after too many gins!
  • Don’t jump in without planning. Whether you do it on Pinterest, use a programme like Photoshop or just order all the physical samples to have. Put all your prints together in one place so you can see how they work together before you start buying.

Image credits: Image 1 - Miriam Alia at Casa Decor 2019. Image 2 - Architectural Digest. Image 3 - MIriam Alia at Casa Decor 2019. Image 4 - Pink Glastonbury Stripes and Flamingo Wallpaper from Dust


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