Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford
Mixing patterns and colors can be downright stressful. If you choose an unsuitable color palette or fabric, your home could end up dizzying or dull. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Even if it’s a task experienced design pros usually handle, you can master the art of combining patterns, too: it’s all in following some rules and, of course, knowing where to start.
Interior designers have long recommended combining designs, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it has gained real ground. More and more people are introducing patterns into their home schemes to fill them with textural interest and energy. If you’ve considered this, too, but don’t know where to start or are a bit shy about trying new things, we encourage you to give up this shyness. The right patterns and color palette can dramatically transform your home, breathing new life even into the most boring space.
Between patterns, hues, upholstery, curtains, and cushions, there can be a lot to understand and consider, which is why some people might take a step back when it comes to this. However, you don’t have to do the same: dial your pattern-mixing phobia down and your home décor glam up with these simple tips:
Start with the showstopper fabric
Fabrics can make or break your interior design, and this should be emphasized more often. In most cases, it’s the fabric that makes a person connected to their space and evokes a sense of emotion.
Fabrics have always been used as a powerful weapon in interior design, whether we’re talking about carpets and rugs or cushions, pillows, and curtains.
There is an abundance of fabric expert designers recommend to elevate your home décor, from cotton, linen, and leather to silk, velvet, and microfibre. Nevertheless, these fabrics should be chosen with several considerations in mind, such as texture, color, durability, and purpose.
When starting a scheme, choosing your main fabric is paramount. It can be the fabric for your headboard, curtains, or any other focal point. Some prefer to find a paint color first, but it’s much easier to do so after the showstopper fabric is established, as there are lots of paint colors out there.
Find other fabrics to match your showstopper fabric
Once you’ve selected your main fabric, you can incorporate other fabrics that revolve around it. Don’t be afraid to play with fabrics – most importantly, don’t go for just the curtain fabric. It’s essential to consider the other soft furnishings in the room, such as valances, window seats, and upholstery.
Sofas, for example, can be a powerful focal point. There is a plethora of fabrics to choose from, from luxurious velvet and leather to rustic linen and cotton. However, apart from the durability of the chosen fabric and the feel you want to achieve with it, ensure you take into account its safety.
This is especially important if you have allergies. You can look up what is OEKO TEX and why it’s paramount to test furnishing fabrics for harmful substances. Once you get a grasp of the concept, you will be able to choose products that are in accordance with both home design and health standards.
Consider the palette
Now that you’ve decided on the fabrics, establish what color palette you’re going to use and stick to it. Imagine how your chosen patterns would tie into the overall look: what mood do you want to achieve?
For example, lighter and brighter colors will give your house a more playful and vibrant feel, while colder shades, such as greys and blues, are suitable for a more mature look.
As for patterns, leaf motifs and darker florals are believed to be on the dramatic side: homeowners usually choose such designs for a more intimate, dramatic look. On the other hand, florals in warm and playful shades will bring more coziness and light to your home.
Bring your favorite to the limelight
However, whatever color palette you choose, ensure you keep it simple. Three colors within a scheme should be enough, especially if it’s your first time doing this. It’s recommended to use colors with the same hues and intensity for a balanced look. If possible, choose one fabric that ties all of the colors together.
A colorful linen sofa, for example, can be combined with some patterned cushions in similar tones. This is valid for other kinds of items, too. The secret is to place your favorite tint at the heart of the scheme and then vary the intensity of your chosen tone across other pieces, such as curtains and cushions. That will create a final look that feels more well put together.
Combine small, medium, and large
Mixing patterns with diverse scales will help achieve harmony across your interior. Even if it might sound like a lot, small, medium, and large-scale patterns work well together if chosen carefully.
A good starting point in this sense would be to focus on one large-scale pattern, like that on your sofa, to establish the focal point in the room. The other medium- and small-scale patterns will revolve around this piece of furnishing. Cushions, blankets, and rugs in smaller patterns are ideal to complement the look. The rule is simple: once you choose your large patterned item, the other patterned objects will be smaller.
Consider also breaking up your patterns with blocks of colors or neutral variations: the point is to turn heads, not to tire the eye up.
It might be tempting to play it safe and use patterns only with common items like sofas, curtains, and pillows, but what’s the magic of all that? Does it convey your personality? No?
Then, feel free to express yourself through patterns of all kinds, use them on objects of diverse scales, and stay open-minded to bold designs. Going bold is better than going bland, so if you feel there could have been an interesting pattern on your lightning or headboard (things that often get overlooked), go for it. As for the colors, these can be bold, too. As long as you balance your tones and layer patterns strategically, you can play with whatever hues best represent your personality.
Do you say yes to patterns?