Feb
15

5 Tips for Mixing Patterns

February 15, 2014

 

 

 

Hi everyone!  My name’s Lauren Liess and I write the blog Pure Style Home.  I’m a decorator with a shop in Great Falls, Virginia and today, I’d love to share a few tips with you on mixing patterns effectively.

 

 

 

1. Vary the scale of the patterns:  To keep a mix of patterns from feeling busy, use patterns of different scales together.  Multiple large patterns will compete with one another, but combining large, medium and small patterns allows the patterns to work together instead of competing.  If you do use patterns of the same scale, try to vary the pattern itself.  (I.e. an oversized ikat with an oversized floral can work well together.)

The large-scale botanicals on the wall mix with the smaller-scaled green leaf-print and even smaller-scaled blockprint paisley.

 

2. Mix different types of patterns:  I love to combine different types of patterns to keep things interesting and relaxed-feeling.  A floral, a stripe and a graphic pattern, for example, can work together beautifully, whereas three florals might feel like flower-power overkill or three graphic patterns or stripes might feel a bit intense and repetitive.

In my clients’ family room, I mixed a variety of patterns in the pillows on the sofa and in the rug

 

3. Be aware of your pattern to solid ratio:  We all have different preferences for how much pattern we like in a room.  Figure out your pattern to solid ratio by looking at photos of rooms you love and seeing what’s been done in those rooms.  If the sofas and chairs are typically solid in the rooms you love, and the curtains are patterned and the pillows are a mix of solid and patterns, you can create a similar feeling in your own home.  You’ll notice right away whether you’re drawn to rooms with more solids or patterns or those with an equal balance.  (My personal pattern to solid ratio changes with my moods so it’s easy to add more pattern in accents like pillows and/or throw blankets… but I do typically like an airy and relaxed-feeling room which typically has some large solid elements to keep things from feeling too noisy. )

The living room in my previous home. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

4. Don’t forget about walls, artwork and rugs:  Every element in a room can read as pattern, whether it’s an actual textile or not.  Patterned rugs and wallpapers are usually on the radar when mixing patterns, but artwork is often overlooked.  It can calm a room down or wake it up just like patterns.  Having more or less movement and a mix of colors causes it to read as a pattern and have an effect on a space just like a pattern would.  If you want to add more pattern to a room, and have done all you can with fabrics, consider your artwork.  Add pieces in with more movement and energy to make it feel like there is more going on in the room, or add a solid piece to calm it down.  Treat artwork like another pattern and consider your desired solid to pattern ratio when selecting it.

In my shop, the botanical specimens above the sofa create a grid that adds another patterned element to the room. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

5. Don’t be afraid to break any rules.  If you love something and it goes against conventional design wisdom, do it anyway.  (For example, maybe you feel you can never mix too many florals and that there’s no such things as flower-power overkill, then go for it.  Do what makes you smile when you come home.  Tips and “rules” are just guidelines for you and the very best homes are those that surprise and are extremely personal, which always requires a little rule-breaking.

A window seat I did with a lively mix of patterns that ordinarily might be thought of as “too much” ended up feeling relaxed and charming. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

Thanks so much to BHG for inviting me to be a part of their blog.  It’s been fun!!  Have a great day & take care,

 

Lauren

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