Ah, this is where the fun begins!
The key to mixing patterns is to change scale while also considering color. Colors don’t have to match perfectly, but they do need to “speak” to each other. Lighter and darker values of the same color, complimentary colors, and change of texture all work towards successful pattern mixing. (And even if you favor a more neutral palette, mixing patterns is a way to a richer room). For example: If one fabric has a thread of turquoise in it, referencing that turquoise, aqua, or another blue in the next fabric will unite them, even when the patterns are completely different. Like how these pillows are all speaking to each other:
These were designed to sit on a solid chocolate couch so we were able to get a little more adventurous with them, as they will be offset with all that solid. See how the bottom pillow -featuring Passeo-Mahogany – has a touch of turquoise, which is picked up by the other pillows -featuring M9628, and Belina. The dense rich pattern of the traditional Passeo is also offset by the more contemporary Belina and M9628, which are then further united by a couple of woven solids.
The above example also helps demonstrate the idea of changing scale. Let’s say you have a large repeat, say 27″ on your chair and you want a different pattern for the ottoman. Either go huge on that ottoman (a repeat that basically covers the entire top) or go way down to a 12″ repeat or maybe even smaller. This way you have balanced the elements, so your eye sees a distinction and the pieces don’t blend all together into one. See how the large, organic shapes in the Udder Madness pairs perfectly with the smaller more geometric nature of Venus on the ottoman. (Of course geometric and organic is a classic combination, and one of the easiest to do is a combination of stripes and florals).
In this nursery, I paired a large scale floral wallpaper with a smaller geometric on the chair, and a midsize stripe (made up of small dots!) on the windows. I pulled varying shades of green out of the wallpaper to use on the chair, window treatment, and floor pillows, and while they are all different shades of green they definitely speak to each other and the wallpaper!
Though I love many different styles and trends, I never want to create a space that looks we have walked into a catalog. Mixing patterns is a great way to highlight your individuality, and really enrich your space!
Visit the Whole 9 Yards in Portland, Oregon today! We’re home to hundreds of elegant, creative, and unique fabric patterns for pillows, furniture cushions, bedding, curtains, upholstery, and more. Shop online or contact us today with any questions or concerns you have!