A big hello to Maria Killam’s readers! I am your guest blogger, Saffronia Baldwin, also an interior designer and author of the blog Design Like the Pros . Thank you, Maria, for this special opportunity to do a guest post. I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say that your fabulous posts are an ongoing source of inspiration.
How to Mix Patterns the Right Way – Is there a wrong way?
(Perhaps I should say “You won’t be happy with the results.”)
When I hear myself use the word “wrong” I sound like a design nazi. So I am modifying it a bit. Let’s talk about how delightful it is to mix patterns and how to get results you will love.
Combining stripes and plaid (or checks) is a classic way to mix patterns. The stripes above are bold, bright and playful. The black and white check is also bold. Do the fight eachother or complement each other? This combo works well for me and here’s why:
1 – Black is repeated in several different places so it feels balanced.
2 – There is plenty of solid color and neutral in the room to provide places for the eye to “rest.”
Tie patterns together with color
The smart thing about this pattern mix is that the color palette is limited to shades of blue and white. All of the patterns have this one element in common that ties them together. We are seeing many designs…ikats, stripes, florals, geometrics…and they go together because they are all blue and white!
Use the same pattern in large and small
Vary the scale of your patterns. The diamond shapes in these ethnic fabrics are large (about 20″) on the sofa and small (about 8″) on the pillows. What ties them together? The diamond pattern. It’s repeated again and again. This allows the fabrics to “talk” to each other.
Mix in floral patterns for a feminine touch
A more tailored (masculine) spin on the same thing
uses solid and geometrics only. No florals.
Here’s what to do if you are afraid of commitment
Use patterns on throw pillows only! Not such a big deal…right? And look how amazing this room becomes with it’s color palette of gray, black, green and white. The real eye candy here is the bold striped pillow and the green and white floral fabric. I encourage my Design Coaching clients who are fearful about pattern to do this very simple experiment.
Wide stripes are the most UN-busy pattern you can find
Use them when you can. And combine them with smaller designs of floral, plaid or geometric. Here are two examples:
Crossing the line into too much pattern
We all have our “pattern mix threshhold.” This bedroom (below) has too many patterns and too many colors . There is no empty space to breathe and rest. Instead of feeling serene…I feel agitated. Is that just me…..? What do you think? Consult your inner designer.
Ethnic patterns give a free pass to anything-goesville
The colors of most (not all) ethnic fabrics are red and blue so that is the common denominator between all of the luscious patterns you see in the photo above. What makes this room wonderful is that 1 – the fabrics all share a similar color palette and 2 – the white walls and white upholstery are a relief to the eye (and the brain).
Animal prints are so-oo-o adaptable
They go with almost anything!
Why do these fabrics complement each other?
These 3 fabric designs work well together because there is:
- Color continuity
- Geometric mixed with organic
- Large scale mixed with small scale
FYI my favorite fabric websites to use are:
I hope this quick overview of mixing patterns has inspired you to let your imaginations fly. If you are a Design Junkie like me, you might want to pop over to my blog.
Walk in beauty…it will change your life. Saffronia Baldwin