Our homes are sacred places where we restore and reinvigorate ourselves. But for it to fill you to the brim, it needs to be a place where you feel fully yourself.
The key to creating a haven is to thoughtfully decorate so your spaces reflect your personality, passions and lifestyle.
There are lots of design techniques that will help you achieve this. Among them, pattern mixing is a great way to put your thumbprint on your home decor. You can turn a generic space into a singular celebration of your distinct style simply by pulling together a unique assortment of fabrics.
Pattern mixing is a design term that basically means tumbling together textiles with different patterns, colors and textures to create a layered but integrated look. Picking the fabrics to accessorize a space, whether it be the mix of accent pillows on your bed or sofa, your window coverings or table linens, has gotten to be as important a step in the design process as selecting the furniture.
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Coming up with just the right collection of textiles can be tricky. So here are three steps to consider when you try your hand at pattern mixing.
1. Combine three or more patterns
It’s time to toss aside those old rules that forbade us from mixing a wild assortment of patterns. Pulling together patterns that might clash but somehow don’t is at the heart of this technique.
Experiment by throwing lots of fabrics together — even patterns and colors you are sure wouldn’t play well together in the sandbox — because sometimes the most unlikely of pairings is the most sublime.
When creating a family of textiles to use on a sofa or bed, pull from a range of pattern groups: florals and botanicals as well as stripes and solids, geometrics, toile and menswear patterns like plaids and checks.
2. Select different scales
Opposites attract when pattern mixing, so it’s key to have a wide spectrum of pattern sizes. Having too many small-scale patterns or too many large-scale patterns will torpedo your look.
An effective trick is to include a fabric or two in a small, repetitive pattern, like a thin, two-toned stripe. After that, bring in a medium-scale pattern, like a floral or geometric print, then finish it off with a statement fabric with a big pattern, like a toile.
3. Thread together colors
The design trend today has moved away from matchy-matchy, where sameness rules and every tone used in a room is extremely color-coded. And that’s a good thing — evolved spaces should have some unexpected elements.
One technique for achieving this involves picking a general color palette and implementing it by using an assortment of shades. Picking the right palette for your spaces can help visually connect adjoining rooms, like a kitchen and a family room.
A recent example of a home with a design challenge that benefited from pattern mixing involved a bright kitchen island in turquoise that was accented with citrine, and an adjacent family room that featured gray furnishings with blue accents.
To coordinate these much-used spaces, designers chose a palette with navy toile enhanced with touches of citrine and turquoise. It pulled in the kitchen hues and added zip to the gray furniture.
Next, pillows were banded with a solid citrine fabric and paired with a solid turquoise pillow and — for a bit of fun — a playful accent pillow with a blue cheetah print.
How far you go with your color palette is up to you. Some people love lots of bright colors blended together. Others like to keep colors limited and play with variations on just a few tones, like navy and cream or black and white. Others may blend a handful of quieter tones using different fabrics from the same family. Your job is to find the mix that’s right for you.
Remember, as you experiment with pattern mixing, there are no hard and fast rules. Play until you come up with the combo that sends your heart soaring.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at www.nellhills.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.