Using colour as your guide, mix patterns like a pro!
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Layering multiple patterns in one room always looks so chic in magazines and showrooms, but, like the result of mixed patterns gone awry, actually attempting the look at home can be overwhelming. Keeping colour top of mind, here’s how to mix patterns in any room for that designer look.
Use Three Patterns
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It doesn’t count as mixing patterns if there are only two but of course more than three patterns can be tricky. Stick with three for starters then add in more once you’ve mastered the skill.
Choose One Main Pattern
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Find a pattern you love, preferably larger-scale and/or with a variety of colours. This will make choosing your other two patterns easy. This main pattern could be fabric but it could also be wallpaper. If you want to try pattern mixing on a budget, choose a pattern you already have. Patterned bedding with fun throw pillows is an easy way to start. This pattern should also take up the most space in your room. It may be wallpaper or curtains or a bedspread.
If your main fabric is just two colours, make sure that the scale is large and that the colours are shades you want to repeat in your room and will be fairly easy to match.
Match Your Pattern Colours
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Choose one or two colours from your main pattern and find second and third patterns that match those colours. The look will be more polished if you choose just one colour from the main pattern.
Pay Attention To Pattern Size And Complexity
Your second pattern should be slightly smaller in scale to your first. For instance, if your main pattern is a floral, the second one might be a stripe, two-colour floral or ikat. The third pattern should be fairly simple and fairly small in scale, like a check, trellis or polka-dot.
Don’t Be Afraid To Work Backwards
If your main pattern is large scale and simple, your second or third pattern could be a smaller-scale multi-coloured floral. If you’ve found a complex, colourful floral you love but don’t want it to be your main pattern, work backwards to find two less complex patterns with fewer colours—matching one or two of the floral’s main shades.
Always Match Your Whites
Whether white is just the background of your pattern, if it appears in more than one fabric, it should match. Using an off-white and a bright white will throw off the coordinated look.
Honour Colour Intensity
All three patterns should share the same colour intensity. Don’t mix pastels with primary shades.
Keep Fabric Weights The Same
If your main fabric is a heavy damask, don’t mix it with gauzy curtains. The size and complexity of the pattern will tell your eye which pattern is most important. Try to find fabrics in similar weights.
With all these rules, it’s easy to get caught up trying to achieve perfection. What’s important is if you love your three patterns together and if they look good in your room. When shopping, bring swatches of each fabric and enjoy yourself!