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1.17.2013

Ideas and Guidelines to Mixing & Matching Patterns in your Home

Have you ever pulled a picture out of a magazine or seen a room on one of those home makeover shows and wondered... "How do they get it to look so 'put-together' and decorated?"

Well, I think you'd be surprised to find out that about 90% of the reason we feel so drawn to a space, is because of all the beautiful finishing touches, patterns, colors and textures; something that all of us can duplicate easily with just a few rules in mind. Today I want to focus on pattern mixing and how you can incorporate color and movement into your space, without overwhelming a room.

The Power of Three:
Whether it's shelf decor, pillow placement or planting shrubs, odd numbered placement of objects just looks more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
1. 2. 3

The same rule applies when mixing patterns for a space. Experts say that typically, you should have at least 3 different patterns going on in one space to make it interesting. So how do you pick the right three patterns for your room? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.



Choose a Lead Pattern:
This will be the pattern that you love the most; the inspiration for your entire space or room. In most cases your "lead" pattern will be a bolder, larger print pattern, and that's where our next point comes into play.
Scale Variation:
Once you've determined which pattern you want to be the most dominate in your room, then set out to find two additional patterns in colors that compliment your "lead" pattern, but only this time, on a slightly smaller scale. So if you're starting off with a large bold geometric pattern, then maybe your next mix-in would be a softer, less harsh allover print instead.
Examples of Patterns that Work Well Together:
*Small polka dots, Stripes and Florals
*Animal Prints and Solids with Texture
*Chevron, Small floral and Solid
*Geometric, Colorful floral, Small Stripe
*Plaid, Graphics and Solids

Solid Ground:
If you're not used to mixing lots of pattern and feel like adding a third is a bit overwhelming, then at this point, pick a solid color from your original lead fabric and try to incorporate a little bit of texture (velvet, ruffle, corduroy, grasscloth) instead, that gives the illusion of added pattern but only through movement and not an actual print.
Some other key things to remember:
* Try not to use more than two large contrasting patterns in one room. Florals, polka dots, stripes, geometrics, etc. Doing so may end up making your room look less inviting, more cluttered and overall confusing.

* The darker and bolder the colors and prints of your patterns are, the more dramatic your room will look. If you want to make a big statement, stencil an entire wall or use your lead/most dominate pattern as window coverings/drapes instead of just in a small pillow.

* Don't be afraid! Pattern is what adds so much personality to a space, so don't stop at just a few throw pillows. Think outside the box. Add pattern through rugs, furniture, throw blankets and art. Finding unique ways to mix your personal style into a room is the best part about decorating and making a space your own!

36 comments:

  1. LOVE this post! Great tips! Thank you!

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  2. Thank you! I have been wondering about how to get everything to look great instead of cluttered and jumbled.

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  3. What a great post Shelly. I do look at rooms and think how do they pull it all together. I tend to get overwhelmed and my room tends to be underwhelming. Thanks for breaking it down so that it's easier to understand.

    Hugs...Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute

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  4. When do we get to see more of your house? I can't wait to see the new kitchen area!

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  5. I love these tips! I'm really wanting to redo my living room with some bold colors and patterns and I just didn't know how to put it all together. Thank you so much for the great ideas!!! :)

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  6. It is really hard to go out of your comfort zone when you mix and match patterns, but I think with a little practice it gets better. I am still at a three limit pattern per room for some reason, but I'll get there. Thanks for bringing up this topic.
    Helen
    www.abritofhappiness.blogspot.com

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  7. Great tips today! Thanks for sharing.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

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  8. I love your new family picture on your blog side bar!

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  9. This is so helpful to me right now since I'm trying to plan some makeovers in my house. Thanks so much!

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  10. very true. you always do amazing job through your posts. very well put together suggetions that will definitely used by we readers. At least me !!

    shilupoudel.blogspot.com

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  11. You home decor bloggers are really helping me to mentally bust out of my comfort zone with mixing patterns! Thanks for the hints!

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  12. I love this post! Lots of great information. Just a heads up...the "source" link you gave for the last photo above goes to a GoDaddy page. I thought you'd want to know. I love your blog and your style girl!

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  13. This is great information Shelley, I love the "Choose A Lead Pattern" fabrics, gorgeous!

    xoxo, Tanya

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  14. I love all these ideas. All are really fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. That kind of decoration needs a lot of effort in it and because of your idea I think it can be done much easily. I really appreciate your work and would like to know more on this.

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  16. Thank you!! I have been wanting to make my space look like this but have had no idea where to start with mixing patterns! I have a lead fabric...I'm off to find a few more!

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  17. LOVE that last picture! The link goes to an expired domain warning. Do you remember where it's from? Great post, btw...

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  18. love this article and will be so helpful to me and others in getting that special look. The "examples of patterns that work well together" could be tucked in your purse and used as a guide when shopping. Posted on my FB page EMB and pinned. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  19. So, I was wondering if you had any suggestions on where to buy cute pillows? My living room needs an update, but I can't seem to find any that I love....

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  20. My living room has lots of pattern and is the room I love the most in my home. I need to work on the rest of the house, but have a hard time making our open floor plan cohesive and not to loud with too many patterns. I don't want the same patterns in all the rooms so finding patterns that work within rooms that are nearby are tricky. Any thoughts?

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  21. this was helpful, thank you...i am going to read it again- also I like the new pic up top and was wondering when you would update it with your great new weight loss- go girl!

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  22. I want to swim in these photos. They are quite beautiful. Good tips on mixing patterns by three. I had never thought about that before. I know to use the rule of three with items, somehow I missed the boat on transferring that knowledge to patterns. Thanks. So fun to visit this website.

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  23. The last image makes my decorating heart sing! LOL I love a good mix of pattern and color. Thanks for sharing!

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  24. This is such great advice! Thanks for this great post. I am always confused about balance in any room I try to put together. I've been wanting to incorporate more patterns and this really helped! Love your blog by the way :)

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  25. I love using bold prints in my decor. Thanks for the tips on how to mix patterns! Very helpful.

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  26. I loved this post. This is so helpful since I have a huge problem "putting it all together". I tried to go to the source for the "solid Ground" link but it isn't there. I'd love to see where this pic came from. Thanks

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  27. Shelley, this is great information! I'm one of those people that looks at room and can't for the life of me figure out what to put where. I think that's why I'm so "DIY ADHD" when it comes to getting my house "done" because when I am forced to make decorating decisions that I'm uncertain of, I'm like, "Yeah.....let me just move on to something else..." But one of my resolutions for the New Year is to "FINISH WHAT I START." And so I'm tackling my craft room which is nearly 100% thrifted :) And surprising, it's getting tons of play on HomeTalk and lots of pins! And here I was thinking it was "meh." LOL

    Thanks for these tips on mixing patterns. I feel less nervous about mixin' and matchin' now! :)

    Serena
    Thrift Diving

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  28. Goodness this makes me want to get on with decorating my house...BAD. We moved in, in June and I've been itching to make it mine for a while. I'm biding my time to when we're in a more financially stable situation, but I REALLY can't wait. :)

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  29. This came at just the right time! I have craft week going on here next week and we are doing pillows for my (old) New sectional. Would you do three groups of three (using 3 patterns)? Or would you go with a bunch of pillows all coordinating?

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  30. Does artwork/paintings count as pattern? I'm having trouble bringing it all together with a gray trellis rug and chocolate furniture.

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  31. What is that hanging chair in the first photo made of - lucite?

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  32. Thank you for linking the images back to my Rule of Three & Odd Numbers post! There is definitely an art to arranging things!

    For Felicia, and the pillows - On a sectional - start with 3 pillows all in the same pattern - to ground and then mix up with a couple of other coordinating ones. Not necessarily 3 patterns. One could be a solid - or a different texture. One could be a lumbar pillow.

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  33. Thank you for linking back the image to my Rule of Three & Odd Numbers post. There is definitely an art to arranging!

    For Felicia, Start with 3 pillows in the same pattern to ground the others on your sectional. Then you can mix in other coordinating ones, but there doesn't have to be 3 different patterns. Try one solid or one textured pillow and a lumbar sized-one as well!

    Cecilia
    Everythingin3s.com

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  34. Would you say this rule applies to furniture? I have a small foyer type living room. It currently has an upright piano on the west wall, two slipper chairs in front of the bay window (north wall). The south wall opposite of the bay window is a blank wall that is screaming for more seating, but a loveseat is too big. I'm thinking perhaps a wing chair, but then I just had an idea to do two chairs on that wall (like refinishing a couple of cushioned dining chairs or something) and they would mirror the slipper chairs. I don't know. I'm all about going brave, but sometimes you have to know what you want before you get it, you know. Anybody that wants to throw in their two cents, I'd love it!

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  35. Serious lover of your blog, a considerable number of your blog posts have really helped me out. Looking towards updates!

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  36. Love the tips! This is the look I want but not totally sure how to go about it.

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