3 expert secrets for using patterns in your home décor
If the idea of mixing patterns in your home décor induces a mild anxiety attack, you are not alone. While mixing different colors and textures can be almost second nature to some, even the most seasoned design enthusiasts find pattern mixing is a bit more complex. It can add much-needed interest, dimension, and a more lived-in look, but finding the right balance without going overboard can be a little challenging.
Here are some simple tips to help you feel a bit more comfortable with mixing and matching patterns in your home décor:
- Start simple with patterned pillows and throws: These accessories are a great place to start because they aren’t a huge investment, yet they can get your pattern mixing ideas going in the right direction.
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- Keep in mind the four main elements of layering — color, scale, shape, and texture:
- Color: Lay all possible “like-colored” options on the floor. Get rid of any that look like a hot mess and don’t look right with the others. Seek similar color tones with varying shape patterns. Once you have your main color down, add in a bit of contrast with a different but coordinating color (for example, if your main color is blue, add in a shade of orange). A color theme in a range of neutrals like browns, khakis, and beiges is a great way to create pattern and contrast without being overwhelming.
- Scale: When it comes to patterns, there are three different sizes of scale: small, medium and large. When mixing prints, try not to choose more than one of the same scale size — multiple patterns of the same scale can result in a one-way ticket to “Cluttertown.”
- Shape and texture: You can mix more than one fabric from the medium-scale category if one of them is solid and sports a shape that is more about texture than a true, contrasting pattern.
- Choose three or more patterns: For whatever reason, odd numbers, especially the number three, just seem to make things work, whether you’re combining colors or planting shrubs. Three is the minimum number of patterns you should use, and the key to successful mixing is to vary the scale, from small to large, of the patterns. Designer Shari Hiller from Room by Room offers the following suggestions:
- Pattern 1: Choose a large-scale pattern carefully because it will make the strongest statement in your room and bring other patterns
- Pattern 2: Select a very different pattern that’s half the scale or size of the first pattern. If your first pattern is a large floral, the second pattern could be a plaid or geometric shape that has some of the same colors.
- Pattern 3: The third pattern can be similar to either of the other patterns and use two or three of the colors in the other patterns. A smaller floral would work well, for instance, with a larger floral and a plaid.
- Pattern 4: A fourth pattern, such as a tiny check or a printed texture in a small scale, could be used as a complementary pattern.
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