Playing with Patterns
Have you ever walked into a room and were blown away by the mix of colors and/or patterns? When done correctly, a mix of patterns makes your room look like it’s been designed by a professional. So how do designers mix patterns so well? There are a few tried and true tricks that will help you pull of a well coordinated look.
Go with the 60/30/10 rule:
It might seem boring, but it really is a good rule of thumb. Start with 60% of your favorite pattern. This will be your anchor, so choose something you really like and that incorporates all of the colors you want to use in your room. I prefer larger scale patterns for this fabric. The next 30% should be your second pattern. Choose a pattern that is very different than your first pattern and about half the scale in design. You want your patterns to compliment each other, not compete. The remaining 10% is for your final fabric choice. You can take some liberties with this fabric, since it’s going to be used sparingly in your room décor. Just make sure that it has some of the same color choices woven throughout.
It’s good to be odd:
I am a little quirky myself, but what I’m really trying to say here is, an odd number of patterns seem to play together best. If you’re new to this, start by choosing three patterns to mix and match. Once you’ve mastered that, challenge yourself with five patterns! One trick to mastering this is to repeat colors from one pattern to the next.
Use solids as your supporting role:
It’s a good idea to give your eyes a place to land and rest. That’s why it’s nice to use a solid color as a supporting role when you are mixing patterns. I like to give my patterns a nice backdrop, so I tend to use solids for either the sofa or a rug. For a bedroom, try a neutral bedspread and then play around with pillows. This also will allow you to mix things up from season to season.
Want to really look like a pro? Then try this ~ mix your patterns by matching the less prominent colors in your fabric design. It may not be quite as obvious, but the result is quite impactful.
Try a subtle approach:
Mixing patterns doesn’t have to be “loud and proud”. Even a neutral room benefits from pattern play. Try a tone-on-tone approach. You’ll be surprised at the added warmth and feeling it gives a room, taking it from boring to extraordinary.
Color intensity is key:
I might be stating the obvious here, but just in case…when mixing patterns keep with the same color intensity. For example, if you have a pastel palette, I wouldn’t suggest that you throw in a bright jewel tone.
Fabric has feeling too:
It’s true. There’s more to fabric than color. It has feeling too. People like to touch it, relax on it, snuggle up to it and son on. Think about how texture plays into your pattern mix. But that’s not all. Consider the pattern style. A gingham plaid is often considered casual, while a damask lends itself to a more formal look. Pay attention to the personality and feeling a fabric design gives.
Create a sense of balance:
To really pull your room together, make sure that you have balanced your patterns equally throughout the room. Playing with patterns on the sofa is great, but your room will feel lopsided if the color play is not repeated throughout.
Break the rules!
If course, my favorite rule is that there are no rules! If something feels right to you, then go with it! Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There are so many talented designers out there whom we can all learn from. Hop on over to my Pinterest board, Playing with Patterns, for lots more insight, tips and inspiration!