Mixing Patterns & Color

I'm always inspired by those that can mix bold and disparate patterns and colors together in one room. And it works. 

Now, there are many formulas out there on how best to mix and match, I'll just stick to a couple that are easy for the design beginner. The first of which is illustrated in this above photograph. Notice the rug, chair and pillows.

FORMULA 1: Pick a large scale pattern which sets the tone of the room. (here, it's the rug) Then mix that with a medium style pattern that complements the first pattern. (curtains) Then use a smaller style pattern with complementary design or color to both. Accessories are perfect for this, such as pillows, lampshades and furniture. In this room, the wallpaper works as an additional small pattern as well. 

FORMULA 2: Dina from Honey and Fitz recommends a formula of combining a big pattern, a small pattern that picks up on one or more colors of the first pattern, then a solid color.

The solid color can pick up the colors in the first two patterns or be a different color all together. Here, brown pairs beautifully with the red and white. 

For this room, green works as it's the complementary color to the hot pink/red...

And orange is complementary to blue.

You'll find the most fun experimenting with the accessories. Rachel of Pencil Shavings Studio came up with some great examples of patterns and color that go well together. 

As I have this obsession with kantha quilts but have yet to own any, I'm slowly gathering ideas on how to play with their many pretty patterns on a bed.

As much as we try to figure out the formula, great designers stay away from such conformity. They rely on a cultivated design instinct to create harmony in a room. If you feel insecure about pairing more than one pattern, the lesson here is to just experiment. Play around with the formulas we do know to see what works and what doesn't. With more confidence, you'll make bolder choices. 

And remember, the basic formulas for mixing patterns and color work just as well for table settings too. I'm inspired to play with patterns this year as my home decor could use a face lift. Hope you're inspired too... 


Photos: Dean Kaufman; houzz.com; Apartment Therapy; House to Home; Honey and Fitz; Elle Decor; Hixon Interiors; likemesome.blogspot.com; Pencil Shavings Studio; Desire to Inspire     Content: Sweet Peach