If you’re the type of person who wants their space to feel calm, you’ve got it easy. Stick to mostly solid fabrics in a harmonious palette and you’ll knock it out of the park. But if a little more pizzazz is what you seek from your Interiors, you’ll want to bring that into play by mixing patterns. You’ve probably heard terms like “chevron” and “ikat” and immediately got confused and threw in the towel. So this post, I’m going to break the art of pattern mixing down, simplify it and show it in action so you can feel confident with it.
So basically I find it’s easiest to group fabric pattern types into eight standard groups: Solids, Florals, Geometrics, Overall Patterns, Stripes, Damasks, Pictorials and Tapestries.
Solids : these are the easiest. The fabric is one colour. You can’t miss this one.
Florals: also a no-brainer. The fabric has images of flowers all over it.
Geometrics: basically these are lines/circles/squares in a tight continuous robotic looking pattern. “Chevron” and “Check” would fall under this category.
Overall Pattern: similar looking to Geometrics in its continuous pattern repetition and can contain squares and circles but it’s looser and more relaxed looking. “Ikat” and “Poka Dot” would fall under this category.
Stripes: back to easy to spot. Bars of horizontal or vertical lines in a repetitious pattern.
Damask: a traditional looking fabric using two colours. A solid background and ornate swirls in a secondary colour.
Pictorial : a classic 18th Century fabric with trees, birds, leaves in an overall pattern repetition with a very pastoral look. Toile” would be part of this group.
Tapestry: a heavy fabric, usually in muted colours depicting people and stories. This one isn’t used much in modern decorating unless you live in a castle. If you do, call me.
So now that we have our eight standard types, how is the best way to mix them. To start, keep your colour scheme simple if you’re a novice. You can easily mix patterns with a totally neutral room or monochromatic room. I’m going to show you how to mix FIVE in one room with a monochromatic colour scheme. I’ll use Solid as my base. It’s likely your sofa fabric then add Floral, Geometric and Overall Pattern on the throw pillows:
You can see how nicely that all works together and that they play off each other to give the room life and energy while the simple monochromatic palette keeps it clean, modern and easy to live with. Now I’ll add a Stripe into the mix in the rug:
Now you can see how simple it was to mix five different patterns and they work together to give this room that little punch every room should have.
A Note About Texture:
You can see there’s also a woven pouf ottoman used here. This is texture. Texture is using things like weaves or tactile elements like fur or exposed brick. I mention them because they basically act like Overall Pattern so they’re a great way to add pattern if you’re hesitant.
The thought of mixing five patterns may be daunting and that’s ok. If you’re unsure, go with three and make sure one is a solid. This is easier to handle and use the other patterns in small doses like pillows. If you’re feeling braver, go for four or five patterns and use them on a much larger scale like bold patterns in a larger size on large furniture pieces, draperies or wallpaper.
So don’t be afraid to mix patterns in your Interiors. You’ll love the way they take your rooms from plain to punchy. Until next time, thanks for reading and keep striving to live the Well Designed Life.