Into the Mix – a guide to mixing pattern

Mixing pattern is easy but making the end-product look good can be a challenge.

Mixing patterns in a room is a great way to add interest, colour and depth while giving it your own unique look. Bear in mind that the various patterns and colours don’t need to “match” each other, they just need to “go” together. When it comes to mixing patterns it’s important to trust your own instincts about what looks good.

The key to getting it right is to vary the scale. Use at least three patterns in a room. One large, one medium, and one small; or one large and two different mediums for instance. Remember you want your patterns to complement, not compete.

Fabrics clockwise from top: Summer Garden stone, Mollie denim, Mollie faded red.

Large patterns work best on large pieces (wallpaper, curtains) and small patterns work best on small pieces (cushions, accessories).  Sometimes, small patterns can look busy when used in large amounts.

One approach to building your mix of patterns is to choose one large pattern as your ‘anchor’.  It should be the biggest, boldest and incorporate ALL of your colours in your colour scheme.  From there, pick a different, medium-sized pattern (about half the size of your large pattern) that utilises SOME of the colours.  Lastly, the small pattern can be in just one or two of your colours.

Another way is to use colours that are the same intensity. Different patterns can often work together if they’re of the same hues.

Distribute patterns evenly throughout the room. If the majority are all on one side of the room the whole space will look unbalanced.

Use solid colours to add areas of calm – too many patterns might feel chaotic.

Patterns don’t have to be full of different colours. Tone-on-tone patterns can still give a room depth and character while remaining elegant. Adding texture will also add interest and depth.

Fabrics from top: Wisteria French blue, Mollie denim, Luca Stripe French blue

Here I’ve used my Wisteria French blue as the lead design and mixed it with smaller scale designs to add interest. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns in the same room, it’s unlikely they will be right next to each other and choosing a different scale adds interest.

Many of my patterns have been designed to mix and match. Start by gathering samples and creating a mood board; it’s a great way to see how your colours and patterns work together.

Please contact the studio if you would like any help.