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  • Writer's pictureLarry Witt

How To Mix & Match Patterns

With so many gorgeous prints and colors making their way back into interior design, I want to offer up some of my top tips for integrating pattern, color, or both into your home; from monochromatic designs full of pattern to mixing and matching several colorful prints.

First things first, don't be afraid! After so many years of clean solids, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when starting to integrate patterns. Fortunately, patterns are most widely incorporated through textiles - meaning, easily replaceable if you decide this look just isn’t for you. But, if you’re intrigued, I highly suggest going for a new, lively patterned design as the copious amounts of prints can work to your benefit. Bold geometric shapes are perfect for an energetic modern feel, pastel florals easily increase the femininity in a design, and black & white chevron finishes will undoubtedly add an edge.

So, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to perfectly master the pattern trend!

Mixing & Matching Patterns

When mixing and matching patterns, the general rule of thumb is to have three distinct scales of pattern: Large, medium, and small. I personally suggest starting with your largest scale first and working back from there, as this will be the foundation for your other scales of pattern.

For large scale patterns, these tend to work best with your largest textiles, i.e. window treatments, area rug, upholstered sofas, wallpaper, and flooring. Don’t go overboard and make each of these a patterned piece, but consider starting your design by searching for these elements. Larger scales can afford to have many colors, so if you are aiming for a colorful interior, pack your most colorful prints into the largest scale of pattern.

Medium scale patterns work best with sofa chairs, ottomans, and upholstered chairs/stools. These are still large enough to make a statement on their own, so if you are reluctant to have your larger furnishings embellished with pattern, you can also start at this scale. The medium scale should have fewer colors than the large scale, so if your large scale has four or five colors, the medium scale furnishings should aim to have around three.

Small scale patterns include throw pillows, blankets, table cloths, and decor. As these are the smallest items in the home, you’ll want to make these contain the smallest prints and fewest amounts of color compared to the rest of the scales in your design.


Along with the scale of pattern, it’s also important to take into account intensity of your chosen prints. For instance, if your largest pattern is extremely bold and colorful, your medium and small scales will need to be less intense and a bit understated. We don’t want patterns fighting over which is the loudest, so to keep a balance, each scale and each pattern needs to be complementary.

Besides keeping balance between size and vibrancy of a pattern, it’s crucial to mix and match the right color palettes. For example, if the window treatments are large florals in blues, greens, and yellows, you may want to rethink that fuschia printed area rug. An easy rule for beginners is to stay within a color family - warm, cool, pastel, etc., which gives enough room to incorporate different shades while avoiding the need to match colors religiously - that would just be too much! Further balance out your design by adding in chic solids; cabinets, walls, floors, and a few large furnishings can all balance out a pattern-centric design, so if you feel a bit worried that you’re patterns are taking over, add in a few large solids to the mix!

Still Nervous About Mixing & Matching Colorful Patterns?

If you’re worried on getting the scales and color palettes on point, there are a few baby steps you may find helpful. The first being to forgo color. If you're in love with your neutral or monochromatic interior, adding in patterns in those colors is quite easy! There are countless textiles that come in subtle and bold prints available in black & white, earth tones, and soft neutrals.

If you’re into the color idea but are hesitant to start mixing different hues together, try mixing & matching different shades of the same color. Greys, blues, pinks, and beige all have varying saturations and hues that will complement one another. By choosing one color to work with all, you’ll need to concentrate on finding the print and scales perfect for your home!

Lastly, let your latest travels choose your color palette! Have you been to anywhere foreign lately? When traveling, you’ll undoubtedly notice different cultural patterns and color trends, so finding inspiration through a piece you’ve brought home with you will not only give you an exotic pattern to show off but also a perfectly balanced color scheme!

Get creative with your design! Patterns can work in so many fun, gorgeous, and elegant ways that your options are truly limitless. When choosing your patterns, remember to start with your largest scale first and work down from there, create balance in your interior by working in complementary colors with a few large solids, and look to other cultures for inspiration on perfectly harmonized color schemes and interesting patterns!

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