It's All About Scale: Mixing Patterns of Different Sizes

It's All About Scale: Mixing Patterns of Different Sizes

Tess Wilson
Nov 1, 2015

Mixing patterns is no entry-level undertaking; it requires style, confidence, vision, and perhaps even the buddy system. These 10 rooms masterfully mix a variety of patterns in a wide range of sizes, and they all come together wonderfully. No small feat!

In Beci and Ralph's bedroom, above, a large and large-scale-patterned rug from Arro Home anchors the room, allowing patterns of various sizes to float dreamily above it. The black-striped peach blanket (Caroline Z Hurley x Mr Kitley), striped stitched blanket (sourced from India), gridded duvet cover (Notebook by Arro Home), and rainbow cushion (Beneath The Sun) occupy the middle ground, while the mottled pattern of the cushion (Moon by Arro Home) and the small gingham/plaid of the pillowcases add a dainty little finish.

In Mark's living room, patterns are either small or large, with the rug (from eBay) at the large end and everything else—cross blanket from Piawallén, flower grenade print by We Are 1976, and all of the various cushions—on the petite side.

Once again, colorful patterns both large (Hudson Bay striped chair, striped Target basket, striped Jayson Home couch) and small (plaid throw, plaid cushion on couch) are given some extra zip thanks to a big black-and-white background. The black-and-white gingham Waggo dog bed acts as the go-between.

In a home as small as Joan's 423-square-foot apartment, keeping things simple can be key. Her bedroom features a giant pattern on a vintage red geometric blanket, a medium chevron on a duvet and pillows from West Elm, and a smallish print on the sheets and pillowcases. The subtle, natural patterns of the leather floor pillow, sheepskin cushions, and fluffy rug fill in the cracks, with the Stendig calendar adding its own rhythm.

The DENY Designs bedding in Katy and Emily's apartment provides the first bit of pattern play, with the delicate print on the pillows repeated in awesomely oversized form on the duvet. The curtains are a nice middle ground, while the rag rug contains what seems like millions of patterns in every possible size.

The patterns in Mark's bedroom work their way from the tiny dots of the vase and delicate lattice of the pillow to the medium ikat of the cushions and the large stripes of the bedspread, and finish big with the giant chevron of the West Elm rug.

Layering is the key to the success of Isabel and Claire's living room. A big, bold rug is covered by a rug with an even larger (but more open) pattern, while the major stripes on the Argentinian blanket are tempered by the smaller prints on all of the cushions. No one element is allowed to dominate the room, and the repetition of blue keeps everything unified.

Nobody can mix patterns with aplomb like a kid picking out their own outfit, so it's appropriate that this nursery—and the two that follow—are full of playfully combined patterns that work together perfectly. The Union Rug by Pattern Society dominates the room with its oversized plus sign pattern, unifying the petite, pastel patterns on the crib sheet, duvet, pillow, wall hanging, and custom-made cushions and preventing them from being too sweet.

Cruz's nursery is modern and geometric, yes, but also incredibly cozy, thanks to all the warm-hued patterns. Things start small with the gold dots on the crib sheet (The Land of Nod, discontinued) and the peach dots on the red mushroom plush by ColetteBream; scale up a bit to the conveniently labeled yellow, brown, and orange ColetteBream pillow and the brown, cream, and black striped blanket; and then finish big with the cream, tan, and terra cotta West Elm rug and the gold triangle decals by Surface Inspired.

All that warmth is given an edge by the black and white patterns in the room: the teeny stripes on the stuffed kitty by Misha Lulu, the delicate feathers on the blanket by carlymegan, and the big, bold pattern on the IKEA pillow.

Speaking of black and white, Ruby's nursery is a master class in combining black-and-white patterns in a full range of sizes: the teeny stripes on the zebra from Mexico and the dress of the doll (handmade by a friend), the tiny tassels on the PB Teen curtains, the small spots on the Cotton Tale crib sheet, the medium black-and-white (and blue and yellow) flowers on the handmade blanket, and the large stripes of the IKEA throw covering the glider.

The colorful, large-scale pattern of the Lulu & Georgia rug ties together all of the room's spots of color, while the small, scattered gold dot decals by Cuckoo4DesignStudio are a playfully random counterpoint to the orderly patterns of the gold pouf from and the gold custom Stimulight chandelier.

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