How to mix Patterns like a Pro
By Alicia France
Pattern is a great way to change the mood of a space, or update the feel of a room. Regardless of the mood, style or feeling you want to portray in your room, there are a few design rules when it comes to mixing patterns that will give your room a professional pick-me-up.
Getting the scale right when mixing patterns is pivotal to creating a standout interior scheme. Use patterns with varying scale to create depth in a room and these work best if the scale of the pattern mirrors the size of the object to which it’s applied. For example, the wallpaper has a very large scale, the furniture or bedspreads have medium scale patterns, and smaller items such as cushions or accessories have small-scale patterns.
Grouping patterns within similar colour palettes is one way to create harmony within a given space. For example, if each pattern has one colour that connects it to another pattern, this subliminally feels more peaceful. Selecting colours close to each other on the colour wheel will even further enhance the harmony. However, mixing patterns with complementary colours, those opposite on the colour wheel, will best achieve a contrast. Especially if your goal is to create a vibrant space that feels energetic and daring. For example, placing a burnt orange pattern by a pattern with blues will create spark and excitement.
The actual shape of a design changes the way a space feels. Curved shapes feel more natural and soothing, while straight, diagonal or geometric lines can create interest and energy. For a cosy bedroom, gentle floral or leaf patterns work well, creating a relaxing atmosphere. When designing a sports bar or event centre, diagonal lines or strong geometric shapes will help give the space a dramatic, energetic mood, elevating the experience subconsciously to those spending time within the space. However, if you want to mix organic and geometric shapes, selecting similar sized scales will help make the overall effect feel more cohesive, giving a fun, eclectic vibe while maintaining integrity with the scheme.
Sigh of Relief
Another important aspect to consider when mixing patterns is where to give relief between patterns. There may be a few select projects in the world where pattern can be applied to every surface. But in general, most spaces with multiple patterns look best with relief of plain surfaces next to the patterns. An example of this is a solid, plain upholstery or leather sofa with multiple patterned cushions. Another example would be a decorative wallpaper with furniture with minimal surface design.