As the lovely living room above, from Lonny, amply illustrates, it's a worthwhile skill to add to your decorating expertise and the only way to truly get comfortable with using patterns is to give it a go. Here's the crash course:
The Magic Number: Odd numbers work when you are grouping. Three is always a good place to start; go up from there if you're feeling it.
- Pattern 1: This is your strongest statement, so choose something you absolutely love and want to go off of for the rest of the room. It's best to start with a large scale pattern.
- Pattern 2: This piece should have a couple of the same colors as your first pattern, but be half the scale.
- Pattern 3: Go for a complementary color or neutral textured piece in a smaller scale.
Color Intensity: Stay with the same color tones and intensities. Veer away from mixing primary colors with pastels, or muted ones with jewel tones.
Solids and Textures: You don't want to put too many patterns on top of each other. You need a place for the eye to rest. Add in solids and textures to balance and seperate.
Graphics: Choosing a black and white (or color and white) graphic is a good way to add in an eye catching element to unify the space.
Balancing: Whether you begin with your patterns or solids first, be sure the rest of the room is continued in that same color palette to create harmony.
White: White is a great base that brings everything together and lets your patterns make a vibrant statement. Just make sure to keep the same white throughout for a crisp, clean look.
Companion Fabrics: If you need a little study time to push you into the world of mixing patterns, look into companion fabrics. Companion fabrics are designed by companies as pre-mixed harmonious patterns by color palette. Just head to the fabric store, ask for some companions and start studying what works together and why.
Pattern Buddies: Ok, so let's get down to the nitty gritty. What looks good together:
- Polka Dots, Textures and Graphics
- Small Polka Dots, Stripes and Florals
- Plaid, Paisley and Graphics
- Ikat, Polka Dots and Paisely
- Chevron, Floral and Geometric
- Toile, Texture and Stripes
- Animal Prints and Texture
- Two Ikats and Texture
- Damask, Floral and Stripes
Are you a pattern mixing fool? What are some of your favorites?