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Credit: Ramsey Lyons Design

One question that comes up a lot for interior designers: how to mix patterns correctly. Using more than one pattern in a room seems intimidating but it can be easy to do once you know the tricks. It all comes down to coordinating and complementing patterns in a space.


1) Choosing patterns

Credit: Houtteman Interior

When decorating with patterns, first determine what kind of look you want your room to have. For example, geometrics give a room a contemporary and youthful feel while animal prints give it a glamorous or eclectic feel. Second, think about what types of patterns will fit into your room’s theme.

As a rule of thumb, use at least three patterns in a room. For example, group together a floral, stripe, and small geometric.

Consider the 60/30/10 approach. Stick to 60 percent of a favorite pattern, 30 percent of a second pattern, and 10 percent of a third as an accent. Try three patterns in a range of scales, such as a narrow stripe, a midsize geometric, and a bold floral.

Design Tip

Mix up the scales of the patterns you’re using. For example, choose a large pattern, one medium pattern, and one small pattern. Or, choose a large pattern and two medium patterns.


2) Choosing the color of patterns

There are a couple of directions you can take when it comes to mixing and matching the colors of different patterns.

Credit: Ramsey Lyons Design

  • Use colors that have the same hue and intensity. For instance, don’t mix pastel patterns with jewel-tone patterns.

  • Choose tone-on-tone patterns which give a neutral room depth, texture, and character with a sophisticated overtone.


3) Placing patterns around a room

Distribute patterns evenly throughout the room for balance. Keeping patterns to one side of a room makes can make a space look and feel unbalanced.

In addition, it’s fine to show a bit of restraint when mixing patterns. The eye needs a place to rest so layering up too many patterns together will look and feel chaotic. Make sure you have a few solids to break up the expanses of pattern.


4) Play with pattern size

Select the largest pattern first to serve as a jumping-off point for other patterns, colors, and accessories. Here, a coral duvet and shams in a floral medallion pattern, informed the patterns selected for the window treatments and bed skirt.


5) Subtle pattern

Pattern doesn’t have to mean a harshness of color, but it is still vital, even if you are going for a subtle look. Use tone-on-tone patterns and low-contrast patterns so a subdued palette doesn’t fall flat.


Design Tip

Take a pattern break. Don’t forget the solids, especially in a room with a bold color palette or strong features. Fabulous patterns shine brighter in a room where the eye has a place to rest, such as on a neutral wall or a solid sofa.


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