Mixing Colours and Patterns

Mixing colours and patterns can be tricky, even overwhelming at times. So much so that many people opt out of using patterns when it comes to upholstered items and choose simple solid colours leaving patterns for small pieces such as toss pillows. When done correctly, mixing colours and patterns will add that much desired WOW factor to your room.

How much is too much and how many patterns can one room hold? The simple answer: it really depends on the size of the room, however anywhere from 4-6 patterns can easily be introduced into the average room.  Where to begin? Most Designers will find one patterned fabric with the desired colours as a starting point or inspiration. This fabric could be planned for drapery, a chair, pillows or even an existing area rug. From there, use the largest piece in the room, the sofa if working on your living room as an example, and keep that simple. A textured solid works great and will help ground the room.  When choosing this solid colour, pull as neutral of a colour as possible from your inspiration fabric. In keeping with the example of a living room re-do, find a larger pattern in complimentary colours for your upholstered chairs, for every style of chair, choose a different pattern (unless you are trying to bring similar chairs together for a conversation area). You may choose the same pattern in two different colours as well if you have two separate groupings of chairs for seating areas. When selecting complimentary patterns consider the shape and size of the pattern you are starting from. Is there a diamond shape throughout? Try to repeat the shape without repeating the pattern. Here is an example:


Notice the repeat of the diamond shape in 3 (4 could be argued with the yellow geometric) of these fabrics.

By repeating a pattern and changing up the colour you get the WOW factor without visual clutter.


Just because it matches doesn’t mean it will work. Here is an example of using the same amount of patterns without the flow of repeating the “shape” of the pattern:


The colour combinations have stayed the same – everything matches right? Hmm not so much. The smallest pattern doesn’t really work that well with the other fabrics and wouldn’t be useful in multiple applications without creating visual clutter.

There will be some trial and error so make sure you have all of your fabric choices together when making decisions. Don’t rely on memory! If you feel like maybe this is too much to handle on your own, keep in mind that Designers are more than happy to help you with a consultation. There is typically a small fee involved but the assurance from a professional eye to get you the room you desire is priceless. http://www.tallpinesinteriors.com


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