Mixing Patterns: How Unlikely Combinations can take a Room from Drab to Fab

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Isn’t it amazing how often you can look at a completely decorated room in a magazine or showroom and say, “I would have never thought to match that pattern with that one”? It can be a daring move, but mixing patterns and textiles is one of the most enjoyable and unique way to make a room look like it was professionally designed. It just takes a little editing and a daring attitude.

If you love the modern look of sleek lines and crisp whites, but don’t like the cold feeling it can sometimes create you can easily turn a room that is otherwise stuffy into a warm room with personality. Mixing patterns with textiles and color is really the perfect storm of proper decorating, but it takes a little know-how to pull off. 

How to Edit your Eye

Did your mom ever tell you that an outfit you put together didn’t match? This is something we are taught from a young age, that we have to match our shoes to our shirt, and our sweater with our pants. However, when it comes to design, things that match too well tend to be boring and underwhelming. In fact if you can match a busy pattern with a striped textile you will not only add some intrigue to the room, it will entertain the eye of your visitors as well as your own.

You may have to retrain your eye to see beyond the obvious. If you have only used matchy-matchy colors or patterns to decorate in the past, try to imagine introducing bold accents like a tufted leather ottoman with a lime green cross-hatch throw and combine that with a subdued cream pinstriped pillow and a Native American inspired area rug, but make certain that the colors in all of the accents are from the same “family”. Don’t try to mix primary colors with warm colors, or pastels with cool blues- this will make an otherwise inventive use of pattern look awkward and disjointed. 

How to Become More Daring

The only way to become a pro at mixing unexpected patterns and colors is to try your hand at it. This means that you need to take a daring step and see if you can make the leap from predictable to spontaneous. This doesn’t mean you need to buy new orange carpet or fly in an intricate light fixture from Morocco, it simply means that you need to begin layering with one unique outside-of-the-box item at a time.

Try incorporating a unique pattern in your color scheme about once a month for five months. This gradual process can help you to eliminate patterns that may not mix well or are too safe. Remember a pattern doesn’t always have to be busy, it can be streamlined or intricate, it can be bold or it can be subtle. The key is to look for unique textures and patterns that blend but don’t disappear into your room. After you’ve added 5 new patterns or textiles to your room, you’ll be amazed at how chic your room seems without changing anything drastic.

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