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How to Combine Patterns Like a Pro

Updated: Dec 7, 2018

Mixing patterns can seem daunting, but there are some very simple guidelines you can follow to create really interesting combinations that can bring SO much life to a space.  So here we go!




1. Start with a pattern (preferably larger scale) that has multiple colors.

This will help guide the rest of your pattern selection as you will have a color palette to work with.  However, you don't have to feel restricted to just the colors in the first pattern!  In this example, the bottom two patterns are the largest scale (size) that I chose first.


2. Select a smaller scale pattern using coordinating colors with the larger scale pattern.

In this pattern combination, the two smaller coordinating patterns are on the top.


3. Choose patterns that are different enough to not look matchy-matchy.

A variety of pattern types--even if you may think they don't look anything like each other--can REALLY add interest to a space.  Yep...I'm talking pairing florals with geometrics, plaids with polka dots, damask with stripes, the list goes on!  Think about it...if you had a room full of chevron prints, it would just be too much of the same look and not very interesting.  But pairing that chevron with some stripes or florals will really bring the space to life!


4. Select patterns on similarly-styled materials.

If you are after a formal look, stick with elegant, sophisticated patterns and fabrics.  For a more casual space, be sure all your textiles have that feel you're going for.  For example, it would look odd to combine a silk print with gingham.


5. Throw in some subtle or solid patterns for balance.

If your patterns seem a little overwhelming alone, adding some solids throughout will help tone it down.  You could use a color that is in an existing pattern, or consider choosing one that combines well and not necessarily matches (in this example--the yellow linen pattern in the center).


Patterns can applied in rugs, pillows, curtains, lampshades, upholstery fabrics, painted surfaces, throw blankets, storage baskets, bedding, dishes...the possibilities really are endless!


Links to these retro-inspired textiles:

Geometric jigsaw print

Black & white dot print

Yellow linen print

Black/white retro flower print

Gray-black-green retro flower print

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