Top 5 Foolproof Tips for Mixing and Matching Patterns

It’s time to add some eye-catching pattern into your house. Pattern—stripes, chevron, florals, and more—can really wake up and update your plain (and maybe even a little boring) space. But, if it’s your first time decorating with pattern, it can be pretty daunting. A few simple rules can keep you from going overboard. Designer and artist Rebecca Atwood, whose new book Living With Pattern was just released, shared her best tips for mixing prints into your home décor. Read on and get ready to easily mix and match.

Think About Scale


Photo by Emily Johnston

You don’t want to have two large-scale prints competing with each other—introduce a variety of shapes and sizes when mixing patterns. “Generally speaking, you always want a mix of small-, medium-, and large-scale patterns,” Atwood says. “This helps move your eye around the room.” She suggests choosing a “hero” print, or one print that will be the main focus in the room, and picking smaller-scale prints to coordinate with it (think small stripes or dots). These smaller prints will act as “neutrals.”

Consider Color


Photo by Emily Johnston

The easiest way to unite patterns is with color, so choose prints in similar hues. This is especially helpful if you’re new to the whole mix-and-match thing. If your prints are of the same color palette, everything will blend in easily—no matter if you’re pairing stripes with florals, or dots with geometrics.


Balance With Solids


Photo by Emily Johnston

Went a little too overboard with pattern? Don’t worry. “Pair back and pick solid colors that coordinate with the pattern and add moments of calm,” Atwood says. “Pull the colors from multicolored pattern. For example, if it’s a larger scale geometric print with tangerine, gray, taupe, and navy, pick textiles or accents in those solid colors and place them around the room.”

Look for Connections


Photo by Emily Johnston

When considering pattern options, another way to mix and match is by finding similar themes or motifs. “Consider patterns that have a connection—are they all from a certain source, like African textiles? Or are they all water-inspired?” Atwood says.


Try These Spots In Your House


Photo by Emily Johnston

Don’t know where to display these patterns? You can start with the throw pillows on your sofa or a rug. “Patterned window treatments are a great way to make a room feel finished,” Atwood says. “Go for curtains if you want a more romantic feel, and Roman shades if you want something more tailored.” She also recommends wallpapering a small powder room in a bold print, or choosing patterned tiles.

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