In an age where maximalism is on the rise, all the more patterns are re-surfacing in the interior decorating world. And I love that because these decorative repeating motifs are playful, joyful, but most of all they help one establish a unique character.
There was a time when people matched their pattern print upholstery fabric to their curtains and lampshades. I never got on board with that trend, because it never felt right to me and I honestly thought it was too boring. Mixing various patterns though is surely a much more interesting and exciting decorating approach. So how do you go about it? Read our guide on How to mix patterns like a pro today!
How to mix patterns: let’s get started!
First of all my best advice is to trust your instincts. Patterns are not and should be not confined in just fabrics/textiles. Patterns can be found everywhere and anywhere (both on a conscious and subconscious level). Therefore, consider applying them on different surfaces i.e. floors, cabinetry, walls, trims, area rugs e.t.c. and make them work for you.
They should be layered in. The more layers you have, the more eclectic the outcome. And if done properly, no pattern will single out from the others.
Now some patterns are more abstract than others and that feels more relaxed. Geometric ones tend to feel stark, but now that Art Deco is on the rise they are very trendy again. Graphic patterns are considered easier to match because they are usually less complex, while flower ones add a more romantic vibe. Damask, paisley and toile patterns (usually encountered in wallpapers and upholstery fabrics) are thought of as more traditional – even conservative although, it is not necessarily so.
In every case though, patterns always add an element of interest. They create a factor of awe.
|| Patterned Tiles: be inspired here:
How to mix patterns in interiors
These tips are my very personal approach to mixing patterns that have never failed me. Since I prefer to think more out of the box, I don’t use rules like pick a dominant one and an accent one, or pick three patterns that vary in size and so on. Instead,
- Match colors. It does not really matter how many patterns you choose to combine as long as the colors look good together. Even if the prints clash, it is the colors that make it work.
- Use elements of black home decor that will add more definition and a much more sophisticated feel to your design scheme.
- Similarly, add some solid colors to the mix that allow the patterns to “breathe.”
- Create a sense of balance. Now the best examples of home interiors based on patterns rely on the principle of symmetry. Symmetry amplifies the impact of any given pattern (think of a Gothic or an Islamic old building). As such, it’s probably the hardest to achieve in a contemporary setting. However, some sense of symmetry can be achieved if keep a sense of balance. Spreading those patterns about the space may help in that direction.
How to mix patterns: still insecure?
If you are still uneasy about mixing too many patterns together, then you can stick to one pattern alone and work with that. Take stripes for example. By varying the thickness and placement of stripes, let alone the color, you could achieve fabulous decor styles. In my opinion, Ralph Lauren probably does this best.
If for example, you want to use a flower-print wallpaper but don’t want the romantic connotation, then add in some stripes. Moreover, a small flower pattern has a stronger aura of a past romantic era compared to the bigger flower patterns that feel more edgy found more readily nowadays. Similarly, wide stripes tend to feel more modern than hair-thin stripes. Therefore, take the time to find the best fit for you and your style.
Finally, I would like to mention that patterns can make up a very distinct theme; the bohemian style being one of the most recognizable for instance. So think of your content before embracing every pattern out there and take the time to edit your space. At the end, everything you introduce, remove, replace should serve a greater whole.
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