Monday, May 16, 2011

How to: mixing patterns

By Stephanie
First off... LAST DAY to enter the Mia giveaway!! Get on it!


Know what makes for good design and creating a space with great visual interest? Using patterns the right way! There's nothing I love more than fun, vibrant fabrics but not everyone knows how to achieve the look of varying patterns. Here's some tips:

Opposites attract: Scale is the first point to look at when mixing patterns. Mix a big wild print with a small neat one; plaid with florals; a stripe with a paisley. They complement each other. Patterns that are too similar just compete.

  • Find a point of commonality: Colour is second step in unifying patterns. To mix two patterns, find one or two colours that unite them; a third pattern might have one or both of those colours and then throw in another. When you've had some practice, you can move from linking patterns with the same colour to linking them with their analogous (the colour to either side of it on the colour wheel) colour.


  • Find balance: The patterns should have the same colour intensity so that they engage each other without one overpowering the other..


  • Two is good, three is better: Two patterns together look good but adding a third pattern into the mix keeps it from being boring.


  • I usually start with a bold fabric with lots going on, usually with several colors in it, then build the other patterns around it. This grouping of fabrics is what I put together for a girl's nursery. Your possibilities are endless when you've got so many choices, in this case a floral, a geometric, dots, stripe and solid. 

    Here's some examples of making it work in a space. The pillows are all different. They don't necessarily MATCH but they GO. The curtains, the rug, it would seem like a lot going on but if you didn't have so many fun patterns, the room would be drab & fall flat.
     audreysdesign
    Note the checkered ottoman, the ikat sofa, the striped rug, and the patterned ceiling. There's lots of different textures too.
     design sponge
    Super cute color palette.. and lots of fun patterns!
    hillary thomas
    tips from apartment therapy

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