Do’s and Don’ts of Mixing Patterns

August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


Please read on to see the color board that is styled after this outfit!

Mixing Patterns is so fun! As long as you know what you are doing :)

This year the new fashion trend, if you haven’t noticed already, is to mix multiple patterns in one outfit. I personally LOVE this new style. It could be because I can NEVER make up my mind when it comes time to get ready in the morning so I can get away with multiple looks all together! Lazy on my part? Prob. Fun and edgy and a great way to show your personality in your clothing even more? YES YES!!

The only thing about this is it should come with a cation sticker. :/

CAUTION: ONLY mix if you have color and pattern knowledge!

Seriously folks, this beautiful idea can go horribly horribly wrong if you are not careful!


Just like mostly everything, this concept makes me think of the interiors that I work with everyday.  There are Do’s and Don’ts in creating this potentially beautiful idea. What are they may you ask?! WELL before that I want to give you a SUPER brief and basic design lesson.

“Mixing patterns aren’t easy, but they can make the space look more perfect than imagined.”-Macy 

There are MANY design elements to be aware of while designing but these 3 are my most important… :)

BALANCE: The state of equal tension. This in the interior design world can be applied to mixing pillows with one large in the back and two smaller ones in front, or two candle sticks flanking a fireplace mantel. These things make the eye feel like it is looking at something that is equal. In this case we will apply this to the amount of pattern vs. neutral in the space. There needs to be some neutrals if that is white, taupe, or gray. There needs to be a stable color throughout.
SCALE: The size of an item compared to another. In this case we will apply this to the size of the patterns that are going in the same space. This could be the size of the prints on the furniture, pillows, decor and etc. Just make sure that it varies. THIS IS A “BIG” one to remember!
COLOR: There is a rhyme and a reason to color. Green and Red= Christmas and Black and Orange= Halloween….stay away from those unless your holiday requires it.:) Color can make or break a space. If the space is on the small size, use lighter hues because darker ones will make the space seem even smaller. If the space is larger with windows, use darker hues and incorporate lighter furniture. This will fill the space with an even balance of light and dark.

OK OK I am sorry but these things needed to be addressed first :) I have put together just a few do and don’ts to keep in mind when mixing patterns. Read on at your own risk…..

CAUTION: These will make one want to start mixing patterns NOW!

1. Stick with the same color palette- Look back at the outfit picture I posted at the beginning look at those colors. Black and white with floral (incorpoating all colors) this can be tricky. Just pick your favorite 2-3 colors and stick with those and the black and white so that there is a focal point. If you stick with the same colors you can bring in many patterns but they all have the same hues, so they are all friends! In this case I went with a goldenrod, teal and pink with the black and white.

2. Mix big and small prints- Big and small prints can be friends! If you have a busy print mix it with a more simple print. Or a few simple prints! Always use odd numbers. 3 and 5 are great numbers of different types of patterns in a space!
See my board at the end of this post to see a mixing of the same patterns that are in the outfit at the beginning of the blog! 

3.Keep the design elements previously talked about in mind (Balance, scale, color)- Remember how to balance your space, like making one chair floral and the drapes with pattern but keeping the large sofa a solid to make the space not overwhelming. Remember to keep things in scale, like One big print with a few small prints, or 2 big prints with a few small prints. Remember to keep the colors consistent, by creating a color scheme and sticking with those 3-5 colors only.

1. Add too much pattern that you have to squint or get a head ache…-Pretty sure this speaks for itself but…DUH. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your guest. Less is more at first.
2. Over think it- Remember the details of the Do’s and stay simple with only 3 patterns and then over time be bolder and bolder with adding more patterns!
3. Forget to add a basic color!- This will help bring all of the colors together with a solid basic color.

I have also added this color board that shows how to create a room based on the patterns that were in that outfit picture at the beginning!

Mixing Patterns to create one cohesive design!

Mixing Patterns to create one cohesive design!

I hope this helped! Keep looking for new posts soon!

With design love,

Designs by MK Team