Wednesday, November 7, 2012


This season you will see quite a bit of pattern on pattern going on in fashion and interiors. While combining patterns can be successful, other times it can look like a train wreck. If you prefer the first to the latter, here a few basic design rules and tips that will make your pattern mixing look intentional. So here is the science: Scale, Color, Placement of Emphasis and Character. The rest is just art!

1. Scale: 
When choosing a patterns consider the scale or size. I find it more successful when you choose different sizes of patterns. Try using a large pattern, medium pattern, and small pattern. If you use patterns with  similar size, make sure that the style and color of the patterns are similar.

Medium                                  Large                                      Small    

Similar scale with same style and color scheme

2. Color:
To achieve a put together look stick to a closely related color scheme. If one pattern has blues and yellows, the other patterns should contain the exact or similar blues and yellows. The trick here is to get the colors to be almost exact so that it doesn't look a little "off".

The colors in the chair are being repeated in the rug.

Notice the colors in the top repeated
in the pants of this JCrew outfit.

3. Emphasis:
Emphasis is established by using a greater amount of one pattern than another (especially in home fabrics). This helps to eliminate too many patterns competing with one another. 

*Make note of the picture to the right. The patterned rug
is the main emphasis in the room. All other patterns compliment it. Photo Credit

                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Character:
When using 2 or more patterns, the patterns should be compatible. For example, a dignified damask probably would't look so hot with contemporary geometric pattern.

Some of my favorite "fool proof" fabric combos are mixing a floral print with a stripe or polka dot, a funky geometric with a stripe and different scales of the same print. 

Need a little inspiration? How about these great combos:

Have a good one!


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  1. Awesome. Thanks for the great info Lauralee! I was just telling Jenn that one reason I love you so much is that you are so talented and don't even know it. People feel "enough" around you, even if they aren't quite as talented as you are with style and decor.

  2. Your ideas are fantastic. I love the orange and blue in your inspiration photo. I just wish I could convince my husband that orange is a great color to decorate with. I love how the fashion/decorating worlds have embraced using different patterns and textures together.

  3. Thank you so much Lauralee!! When it comes to decorating and style I usually run away as fast as I can. It seems so foreign to me. I love how you have explained and shown pictures for me to follow! THANK YOU!!!


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