How to mix patterns in your home

Blog Posts  |  Design Articles  |  May 20, 2020

Four tips on how to mix & match patterns 

By ZEINA BADAWI

In-Home Designer, La-Z-Boy Kanata

Do you dream of the inspirational looks that you see in interior design magazines but have no idea how to transfer to your home? There are so many great combinations of patterns out there, but how do you implement them? How do you mix & match patterns in your home?

Mixing colours & patterns can be overwhelming. You can either mix way too many patterns or too many colours and your room may end up looking a mess! But if you do it right you’ll end up with a beautiful space and fun looking theme.

Today I will outline four tips on how to mix patterns so they will look beautiful in your home. Collected, effortless and coordinated all rolled up into one design.

1. Edit you colour palate

After choosing your primary colour, pick 2-3 more colours that you want to work with.

Pattern 1: This is your strongest statement, so choose something you absolutely love and want to work 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 colours as your first pattern, but be half the scale.

Pattern 3: Go for a complementary colour or neutral textured piece on a smaller scale.

How can I choose the colours?  The easiest way to select a colour palette is to pick one pattern that you absolutely love and then use the colours inside this pattern to continue the theme.

Repeat the colours in your patterns.

The colours in this pattern can be used on the walls, the floor, furniture and artwork.

They can also be repeated in your area rug and fireplace.

Animal prints are bold and are best mixed with solids or neutrals.

You can’t go wrong if you are watching the scale, colour, and harmony of your chosen patterns.

You don’t have to repeat the same pattern over and over. The best part of designing a room is mixing a variety of patterns and texture. You can combine different types of patterns or mix the same one. It’s not wrong as long as your keeping the same character throughout the design. Mixing patterns requires some courage, be bold and don’t second guess your decision!

Similar in terms of colour palette and hue and different in terms of scale and texture. Why not mix polka dots with texture and graphic* or mix plaid with paisley and graphic? We can also mix chevron, floral and geometrics.

*Abstract and geometric pattern

2. Mixing the scale of the pattern

Two large patterns together will fight and compete with each other. You want to pick a small scale pattern to go with the large one. 

To do this, I follow the squint test. “Take a step back and squint your eyes (close them partially to distort your vision). The design should become blurry, and only the largest, most basic shapes of the interface should be perceived.” If you still see the difference between the two patterns, then they are different enough. If you can’t see the difference, then they are too similar.

For more on the squint test, check out how exposure to design can reveal it’s flaws.

3. Limit the number of patterns

To keep the room from looking chaotic, limit the number of patterns on your sofa to two or three. Also, make sure to cap the number of patterns in the room to three to five. Add solids to the room, and don’t forget the texture.

Texture adds interest and fun to a room better than solids do. The addition of texture works well for people who want to add depth and uniqueness to a room. There’s no commitment to a bold pattern; however, it has the same effect.

Use artwork as your inspiration and spread out the pattern and texture on either side of the couch. (as seen in the above photos)

        4. Spread patterns

You shouldn’t have all of your patterns together; instead, evenly distribute them around the room. Balance the visual weight. We don’t want everything to be kept in one corner of the room, as it will end up looking busy. 

Use the 60/30/10 rule, a timeless decorating guideline that can help you put a colour scheme together easily.

  • 60% dominant colour
  • 30% secondary colour
  • 10% accent colour

This proportion will give balance to the colours used in any space.

All colors are the friends of their neighbors 

and the lovers of their opposites

Marc Chagall – Russian-French artist

Don’t forget the solids, especially in a room with a bold colour palette or strong features. Fabulous patterns shine brighter in a room where the eye has a place to rest, such as a neutral wall or a solid sofa.

Texture is huge in 2020; it’s what makes a room pop. It’s what brings a perfectly fine design up to superior levels. 

For more about texture and trends check out interior design trends of 2020: Tips from professional designers.

To find out how to mix in new furniture to match the pieces you already own, check out Designer Tips: how to mix and match furniture.

Next Steps

There is no limit to how many combos you can mix. Start simple and repeat the colours in your patterns. 

Gather all the pattern samples you want to use, then make a plan following all the rules we just covered, and you’ can’t fail! 

If you still aren’t sure about incorporating patterns into your space, we’re here to help.

Contact any one of our La-Z-Boy locations for design assistance or schedule a virtual or in-person consultation.

Imagine how exceptional a newly designed living room could be if you collaborate with an expert in design! We offer a free design service to help you achieve your vision. Our in-home designers have the expertise to guide you through the process and help you create that space you’ve always wanted.

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