mixed patterns

How to Mix Patterns Like An Interior Design Expert

Mix Patterns Like an Expert

Mixing patterns in interior design {and in fashion} can be daunting. However, it’s not as scary as you may think. There are really just 3 simple rules that you need to follow to pull it off successfully and create a beautifully balanced room.

1. Find the common thread (no pun intended)

A successful design scheme and pattern combination requires a unifying element. Typically this is a unifying color. Often, you can find one pattern that has all of the colors in it, and build others around it. Or you may have fabrics with two or three common colors running throughout. This common element is critical to pulling the fabrics together.

The combination below has magenta pink as the strong unifying element in all of the five patterns (4 pillows and 1 wallpaper). Turquoise blue is the second unifying element because it repeats in three of the five patterns.

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2. Vary the scale {size} of pattern

Successful pattern mixing includes variations in the scale of the patterns. If the scale of each pattern is the same, the combination will just look busy. However, when the scale of the patterns vary, it is stimulating and cohesive.

The combination below uses a large scale floral (also the unifying fabric), mixed with a medium scale gray chevron and a small scale coral Greek key. The result is a successfully balanced and beautiful bedroom color scheme.


Caitlin Willson Textiles

3. Vary the style of the patterns

To make pattern mixing truly interesting, you’ve got to mix up the pattern style or motif. For best results, this includes mixing curves with lines or graphics with floral or dots with stripes. In this example from the Kelly Wearstler collection, there is a harmony in the styles. The headboard fabric is graphic and linear, mixed with two different small-scale dot fabrics, while the wallpaper and larger pillow both have a more organic, flowing design.

These same rules apply in fashion.

Mix Pattern Like an Interior Designer


Interior Design Tips

Lauren Conrad

Although, outside of Gossip Girl, rarely can we get five different patterns on a single body.

Mix Patterns Like a Bad Ass

Let’s go back to more luscious interiors full of bold, playful pattern mixing…

Don’t forget that rugs, wallpaper and artwork all contribute “pattern” to your room and design scheme. Blow, the rug adds the largest scale element to the mix.


And here we have both the rug and the artwork contributing to the layers of pattern in this room.

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If you’re still feeling hesitant about mixing pattern in your home, look to high-end and interior design fabric websites for further inspiration, or contact an interior designer for help.

Check out our Design Services for help with your project!