Mix Patterns Like A Pro Interior Designer!
Bold, bright patterns… something I love to hear from my clients when I design a space. There is nothing I like more than using bold patterns on wallpaper, rugs, cushions, throws – you name it, I love it! After all, using patterns is a form of expression, giving you the ability to reflect your unique personality and tell a story in your interior space.
However, mixing patterns is something that a lot of my clients find a little overwhelming. After all, there is a lot to consider, such as themes, colours, styles and scales. When done wrong, pattern-mixing can leave the space feeling chaotic and cluttered in a clash of inharmonious styles and colours.
When done right, however, it can transform a room into a sophisticated haven full of depth and dimension that makes you feel happy every time you walk in there!
Here are a few of my tips to help you conquer your pattern-mixing worries, and layer patterns like a pro.
Have a ‘hero’ pattern
When starting out with a blank canvas, it helps to have a ‘hero’ pattern. This is the one that’s your showstopper that makes people stop and say ‘Wow!’ when they walk into a room and see it!
It’s up to you where you place your ‘hero’ pattern, but I generally recommend going for areas that naturally draw the eye, such as curtains, headboards, or even the sofa if you’re feeling particularly bold! By having this showstopper pattern as the main focal point of the room, it makes it easier to mix around it with other patterns and different colour palettes.
Top tip: always aim to start with the ‘hero’ pattern; it is much harder to find a pattern that mixes harmoniously when the room is already painted, or other patterns have already been incorporated.
Pick a theme
Alongside having your ‘hero’ fabric, picking a theme can provide the foundation of the room and help you when it comes to mixing other patterns and colours.
Picking your theme is where your personality can really shine, so pick one that speaks to your unique style and the story you want your home to tell. Popular themes include floral, nautical, animal prints and black and white, to name a few, but whatever the theme is, it is important that it reflects your personality.
Plus, some patterns go well with everything, such as stripes or geometrics, so you can use these patterns to slot in with your main theme and add different shapes and scales simply.
Keep colours simple
Stick to colours that match or complement your patterns – particularly the ‘hero’ pattern – so that your palette doesn’t detract from the patterns you’re trying to enhance.
I like to use the timeless 60-30-10 colour rule: 60% of your space should be one dominant colour, used for big items such as sofas, beds or rugs; 30% can be your secondary colour, which supports your dominant colour and is usually used for feature walls, bed linens and painted furniture; and the last 10% is reserved for accents, which is your cushions, throws and décor.
If you follow this rule, you’ll achieve that perfect balance, and it will help you build and mix different patterns and colours in your space.
All different sizes
When it comes to mixing patterns, size absolutely matters!
Make sure that when you mix patterns, they aren’t all the same size. You’ll want to mix up large, medium and small-scale patterns in your space to create cohesion and balance.
Large-scale patterns are great for your ‘hero’ pattern and they naturally draw the eye. Combine them with medium or small-scale patterns for accents, such as on cushions, throws or art prints.
Balance is key
There is one basic truth every interior designer knows: achieving the right balance when mixing patterns is vital to a room’s success!
It’s important to balance colour palettes and patterns around the ‘hero’ fabric. That means not having all your patterns on one side of your space or collected around the main focal point of the room. This can leave the room feeling chaotic and cluttered.
Keep themes, colours, sizes and scales cohesive. The ultimate goal is to create harmony.
Know your limits
The best thing about pattern mixing is there are no rules – if you love it, embrace it! – but if you want to create a cohesive scheme in a room, there is a limit.
I wouldn’t recommend overapplying different patterns, as it can quickly make things chaotic. Three or four patterns is generally a good number to breathe life into a room without making it feel cluttered or messy. After all, your ‘hero’ fabric should do most of the heavy lifting for you – this dominating pattern can enhance everything else you want to mix in!
As I said before, it’s all about balance.
Mix patterns like a pro interior designer!
I hope these tips have eased your worries over mixing patterns. Just remember to stick to the rules, keep balance in your mind, but most of all – have fun and go for it!
Be bold and brave, and your space will surely be brilliant.