Patterns are a powerful tool in interior design — and serve more purposes than one. They uplift the decor and add a punch of personality. Simultaneously, they make the space visually interesting. But with the powerful and rewarding results of mixing patterns comes the difficulty of striking the right balance between patterns and colours (and, at times, scales) to ensure a seamless interior.
So before giving your window coverings, wallpapers, and throw pillows a makeover, it’s important to understand a few simple rules to conquer the principles of pattern mixing — keep reading to learn more.
Play with Different Pattern Sizes
Credit: Homes & Gardens
Using the same (or similar) pattern sizes will create a monotonous interior with minimal variation. If, for example, the room only uses small prints, it will appear bland. For larger prints, like herringbone, the interior might seem too overwhelming and busy. The key is to balance the two. Large patterns, for example, can become the dominant pick, while medium and smaller shapes can accentuate the look.
Use Similar Colours
Credit: Elle Decor
Using different colours for a design that includes different-sized patterns gives the space a chaotic vibe. It is recommended to keep the colours harmonious by choosing hues from the same colour family that complement each other. A good rule of thumb is to vary the degree of light and dark for the chosen shades to provide contrast. If you want to make it more exciting, use the 60-30-10 rule to introduce bold accents over the appealing landscape created with neutral shades.
Balance Organic and Geometric Patterns
Credit: Kit Kemp
Organic patterns include floral motifs and nature-inspired patterns, while geometric patterns feature clear and repeating lines, such as striped, plaid, and polka dots. If your first pattern choice is organic, it is better to opt for geometric on the other prints (and vice versa) to create an appealing balance and ignite a unique relationship between the opposing patterns.
Start with the Showstopper Fabric
Credit: Elle Decor
Choosing the fabric for the showstopper of the room, such as the rug, curtain, or headboard, makes it much easier to find matching prints and colours for the other, more easy-to-find items, such as bedspreads, artwork, and throw pillows. Matching the accents to the showstoppers will also tie the room together and create a stunning interior.
Restrict Patterns to up to Three Kinds
Credit: The Spruce
An essential interior design mistake to avoid is jumbling up too many patterns. Just like colours, limiting patterns (to about three kinds) and complementing them with each other through similar shapes will balance the look and enhance the coherence. While there are tons of options to experiment with, taking inspiration from home decor catalogues and ideas given by professionals can guide your choices better.
Polka dot + floral + stripe
Stripes + herringbone + paisley
Floral + two different-sized plaids
Use Solid Colours as Breaks
Credit: TLC Interiors
Patterns can go everywhere — walls, floors, furniture, windows, decor pieces, you name it! Deciding where to break the pattern with a solid, complementary colour to maintain a seamless look while avoiding a busy interior is crucial to creating a balanced interior. Use the same colour in a lighter or darker shade, or pick a completely different hue to be used as a breaker that stands out.
Credit: Living Etc
Distributing patterns evenly throughout the room provides symmetry. And this, in turn, creates an elegant vibe, plus the illusion of a visually larger space. The process is as simple as balancing patterns on either side of the room. Two armchairs, for example, with the same pattern on both sides of a coffee table in the living room or identical lamps with patterned lampshades on either side of the bed, will do the trick.
Stick with a Specific Pattern Style
Credit: House Digest
Sticking to a particular pattern style will make it easier to pull the look together without creating a hodgepodge. Think of a Boho room: adding Turkish killim pillows in the same pattern prints but slightly different colours can enhance the chosen design style (while adding dimension). The extra advantage of using a similar pattern style throughout the room? You get the freedom to introduce different hues and still maintain coherence.
When tastefully selected and paired, contrasting patterns abandon traditional boundaries — and create fresh interiors. Whether you want to inspire your choices with ideas from professionals or experiment by trusting your intuition, the ideal results always comes down to a home that feels coherent and comfortable.
Are you decorating your space and interested in injecting more personality, but not sure how to do it tastefully? Get professional advice and guidance from our Interior Design Gurus over video call!