How to Mix Patterns in Your Home Like a Pro

How to Mix Patterns in Your Home Like a Pro
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Who doesn’t love a good pattern in their home? From polka dots to stripes, they add pizzazz to any room. Homepolish’s Angela Belt shows how to gracefully integrate these into a home. But don’t get crazy, OK?

When it comes to layering patterns into a room, it can be a daunting process for a lot of people. The first thing you might think is, Where do I start, and how many patterns are too many in a room?

I believe it is truly an art to arrange patterns on the right piece of furniture or accessory without the whole room looking like it’s screaming at you. Well, rest assured that with my five designer tips, you’ll be able to place patterns in any room like a pro.

Check out the gallery for all of the tips.

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The 60-30-10 rule

When it comes to arranging three or more fabrics together into one room setting, there is one designer rule that will really help you. It’s called "the 60, 30, 10 rule."

If you Google this concept, you will see a myriad of ways to explain it and learn how it can be implemented. It simply means to select three fabrics with varying sizes of patterns: one large, one medium, and one small pattern that can work together.

When you choose patterns in different sizes or scales, it allows your eye to travel from one pattern to another without being overwhelmed. A good example of this layering effect can be seen in Liliana Vazquez's home by Matthew Cane.

Photo: Homepolish

Coordinate colors

If you are feeling a little shy about mixing different patterns together, consider mixing patterns with similar colors. A lot of people resonate with this approach because it makes your space look modern and sophisticated.

In Homepolish designer Benni Amadi's bathroom, she selected black-and-white patterned honeycomb tiles for the floor, and then extended the design onto the walls. It's a perfect example of how to execute a subtle approach to pattern play in a room.

Photo: Homepolish

Embrace those stripes

It’s not a coincidence that you keep seeing striped rugs paired with almost every room setting, and every time you see it you say to yourself, OMG, that looks good, I should get a stripe rug too and be JUST LIKE THEM.

Stripes go well with just about any organic pattern or solid color you are going to use in a room. The lines in this simple pattern make it an easy choice for a room.

If you want to do a second pattern that is playful or has a lot of personality to it, a simple stripe pattern will always balance it out. This balance is easily seen in Jennifer Wallenstein's work for a Redondo Beach nursery.

Photo: Homepolish

Plan in advance

Another important step to consider when layering patterns in a room is deciding where they are going. Design should be carefully considered. Planning out decisions before you purchase pieces can really help the process of layering in patterns.

Once you have brought your foundational pieces like a rug and large furniture, take the next step to decide where the additional patterns should go in the room, like window treatment, accent pillows, and other accessories, to make sure your patterns are well dispersed throughout the room. Another project by Jennifer Wallenstein shows this nicely.

Photo: Homepolish

Go bold!

Then, there is the approach that I love, but it's for the fearless home creative. I call it “Go bold, or go home.”

I think if you have white walls in the room, using color overload in every other element in the room can make a huge impact on your space without swallowing it up and giving you a brain freeze. Those that are more comfortable with this approach may even want to take it a step further and paint the walls too.

At that point, I say call in the professionals. A good example of pattern overload that is expertly executed is Annie Mistak's work for a Brooklyn apartment. You can see textures on the bedspread, the curtains, chair upholstery, and the walls are even painted!

Photo: Homepolish

So when it comes to to planning out your home, please don’t just put patterns on your pillows. With these five designer tips you cannot go wrong, and you can really show your friends a few new ideas on how to make a space look awesome with a few more patterns mixed throughout the entire room, whether it's on the walls, floor, ceiling, you name it.

For more graphic patterns, check out this piece on cool paint ideas.

Photo: Homepolish

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