Sometimes mixing patterns can be tough, polka dots, stripes, modern motif’s, dinosaurs- there are so many to choose from! Here is a small guide on how to mix pattern together in a way that works for any room.
Let’s start at the very beginning- the golden rule of pattern play. Generally speaking it is good to have a mix of a small, medium and large pattern. Of course, this can change based on scale, color and number of patterns- but it’s a great rule of thumb to end up with a room that is beautiful- not busy.
Remember that your room is more than the bedding. Do you have pattern on the wall? On a rug? On a lampshade? The scale of these should all be in line for a complete room.
Counter big, bold patterns with areas of solid color or neutrals. The more patterns you mix in a room, the more you need to layer in visual relief. You need areas where you can pull back, so you can enjoy the prints you have. This will also allow you to highlight the patterns.
Decide where you want your statement to be, where you want the eye to focus. For a bed- generally your biggest pattern should be on the duvet or quilt. Smaller patterns work well for sheets, lampshades and curtains.
- Monotone Colorway- Monotone colorways are usually one to two colors, like yellow and white. This colorway can take more patterns because the colors are all the same.
- Multiple Colorways- Multiple colorways have more colors used in them. Because of this they tend to be able to take less pattern in the space. All colors should be pulled from your “main” fabric. With this it is most important that you follow the “golden rule”.
For me this is what makes or breaks a room.
This can be the trickiest part of pattern play. In mixing aesthetics it is good to keep the number of patterns to a minimum and to keep the color range very tight and collaborative.
Adding classic styles and solid materials allows for these patterns to live more cohesively together.
Here’s a tip: Look to Fashion!
“I always recommend bringing bold patterns and pops of color into a room to give it personality and depth,” says Thom Filicia. “Very often, we’re more daring with mixing patterns and colors in shirts and ties, and scarves and skirts, than in sofas, chairs, window treatments, rugs, and pillows. I always say to those leery of pattern and color: Take inspiration, guidance, and lessons from fashion.”
What Does Work
Lets take a look at a few pattern mixes and see what makes them cohesive.
By Sarah Culbertson
Once upon a time a fashion plate from Seattle met a childrens retailer from Chicago, and it was love at first sight. After spending a lot of time together at the mall, they both knew it was a perfect match. So Sarah packed up her fabulous Kate Spade suitcase and headed for the Windy City. Where they lived happily ever after, designing and developing textiles for little kiddos everywhere.