One of the most challenging aspects of decorating a home is mixing patterns. Home magazines make it look so effortless, but often when you try to replicate a mix of patterns in your own rooms, it can look busy and forced.

Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort, because mixing patterns can be a simple, effective way to refresh your home for the new season. Follow this three-step formula to achieve a perfectly balanced mix of patterns in your home.

1. Choose colors

One key to mixing patterns well is choosing the right colors. There are a couple of ways to approach this vital step. You can either select one consistent color or color family that will be present in each pattern, or pick one inspiration pattern that you pull the rest of the colors from. Either strategy will create a cohesive feel in your decor.

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For example, this room’s color scheme of blue and teal shades is pulled from the floral pillow.

2. Vary the scale

Choose at least three different patterns, each with a different scale — one small-scale pattern, one medium, and one large. This helps the patterns complement each other, rather than compete.

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Here, the floral is a large-scale print, the geometric is medium-scale, and the chevron pillow is small-scale.

3. Vary the lines

You may be tempted to go with all floral patterns or all geometric, but the best mix will incorporate a variety of lines. Try at least one pattern with an organic, flowing feel and one that is geometric. Think about pairing curved lines with straight.

To tailor your pattern mix to a season, think about the types of patterns and colors typical of that season. For spring, choose pastels or lighter colors, and patterns like traditional florals.

The sky’s the limit

Keeping these three steps in mind, you have abundant options for creating a lively mix of patterns.

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In the mix above, the center floral inspires the other patterns. It’s a large-scale pattern. The blue floral to the left is a small-scale pattern. The pale-blue geometric to the right is a medium-scale, and balances the two florals with some straight lines.
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In this mix, the center floral also inspires the color of the other patterns and serves as the large-scale pattern.

Now, you can mix patterns like a pro. Choose your color scheme, vary the scale of the patterns, choose some organic and geometric shapes, and you’re well on your way to a beautifully balanced pattern display.

Photos by The White Buffalo Styling Co.


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