When it comes to interior design, patterns can be intimidating. They require a morsel of commitment, ingenuity and the willingness to take a risk. Some are more mild, some make quite the statement, and others are somewhere in between.
Whatever a pattern looks like, it can seem completely ridiculous to mix two — or heaven forbid, three — different patterns in one setting. In today's world, some people mix patterns without hesitation, while others dare not introduce more than one pattern into their home's landscape. Thankfully, there is a method to the madness. And beyond that, there are people who broke some pattern-mixing rules in their home's decor and achieved amazing results.
We'll lay out a few guidelines to help you properly mix patterns and give you the confidence to get started. Some of these tips break a few rules, but as mentioned, that's completely acceptable.
It's likely you're considering mixing patterns with fabrics — such as pillows, blankets or couch upholstery — as those are the most common places that patterns exist in our homes. There are only three words to remember when mixing fabric patterns: geometric, organic and small-scale.
You should combine a geometric pattern, an organic pattern and a small-scale pattern. A geometric pattern is a very distinct, linear and clean pattern, such as stripes, diamonds or even polka dots. An organic pattern is anything a little more freeform, and often takes form in a floral print. And small-scale refers to any pattern with small, intricate features, that is comparably smaller than the other two patterns.
The noticeable contrast of these designs helps them complement each other rather than competing for attention or overwhelming the eye. You should only attempt to mix up to three patterns in your space, but the quantity really depends on the particular patterns under question.