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How to mix patterns like a pro

4 ways to win with pattern

Posted by Lorraine Lea on Oct 20, '17

Pattern is a design element that even the most seasoned decorators can encounter trouble with. But it doesn’t have to be so tricky to get right.

Here's four things to keep in mind when you’re bringing pattern into the rooms of your home - it’s easier than you think!

Add Interest to a Subdued Space

Colour and texture go a long way in creating interest and warmth in a space, but if you’re not a colour lover, then you’re already one design element down! Pattern is the next best thing to stop your room feeling flat, and it really can add buckets of visual impact.

A monochromatic black-and-white room, for example, can be elevated by introducing a bedding set with a dynamic pattern. If you keep the quilt and pillows patterned, you can easily calm the look down by using block colours in your backing pillows and throws. The more block colours you introduce, the calmer the space will feel.


Making Pattern the Focal Point

If the pattern you’re working with is quite dominating in the space, let it be the focal point and ensure you don’t have other patterns competing for attention. That’s not to say you can’t have other pattern in the space, but you need to ensure it’s a different size.

A bedspread with a vivid pattern, for example, is best left as the star of the room. Around it, bring in other patterns and colours in artwork and accessories, but just ensure they are less imposing. This will link all of the pieces in the room together, but your eye will still be drawn to the one focal point when you walk into the space.


Pattern Affecting the Mood in a Space

When decorating any room, it’s wise to first think about how you want it to feel. Many of us assume that colour and texture does a lot of the work in creating the mood in a room, but pattern plays a huge part too.

For example, an intricate pattern with fluid lines (like a toile, floral, damask or paisley) naturally feels softer and more feminine. Ideal if you want your space to feel serene.


Bold, geometric patterns (like houndstooth, chevron or ikat) can make the room feel more structured, formal and somewhat masculine.

Lastly, circular patterns (like polka dots, palm leaves and even leopard print) can make a room feel fun, lively and often whimsical, so they’re great for kids rooms or laid-back spaces that don’t take themselves too seriously.

Mixing Patterns: Two ways to Make it Work!

Mixing pattern isn’t a no-no in a room at all. There are two ways you can do it to have it work wonderfully.

Firstly, roll out different patterns in a similar colourway. Not the exact same colour, but a variety of the same hue. For example, having a series of different patterns in navy blue, mint, turquoise and so on - in the one space.

This approach ensures there is calm and cohesion in the room.


The second way to do it is to have patterns in different sizes. For example, a tight and intricate pattern paired with a larger, simpler one. This is a good approach if there are a few colours in the room too, because it won’t make the space too visually chaotic.

The Golden Rule: Try not to have more than three patters in a space or it will start to feel visually overwhelming!

For more decorating ideas and tips book a home styling party with a Lorraine Lea Independent Stylists.

Topics: home decor, home decorating, life-styling tips & advice, decorating tips, pattern

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