Mix and Match Patterns Like A Design Pro
Celebrate Loud Prints And Avoid Eyesores By Following These Tips
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of bold patterns: if you’ve visited our Geneva showroom you know it’s bursting with luxe textiles printed with chevron and ikat and damask. Too many DIY designers shy away from mixing patterns because they worry their homes will end up looking too overdone—but integrating multiple patterns effectively can actually make a room look more cohesive and intentional. You just have to know how to play by the rules.
Follow the BB Interiors guidelines when choosing prints and we guarantee you’ll be wowed by the results. Here are Claudia’s tips for mixing patterns like a pro.
Pick One Unifying Color
Patterns are a great way to turn the monochrome trend on its head. A geometric rug beneath floral drapes will feel purposeful if both include large swaths of the same shade of pink. Against a neutral backdrop, pops of yellow scattered around the room—a throw pillow here, a candlestick there, a yellow-print bedspread or painting—are perceived as a unit, even if each element has a different print that incorporates a variety of colors or styles. Trick the eye into viewing an assortment of patterns as a unit by tying them all together with a base color. Try to stick to the same hue; this rule is less effective if some pieces are vibrant and others are pastel.
Keep Intensity Consistent
While we’re on the subject of hue, a uniform color intensity can have the same effect as a single unifying color: scattered, diverse pieces look more cohesive if they come from the same segment of the color wheel. Think: jewel tones with jewel tones, pastels with pastels, metallics with metallics. A selection of bold, deeply-pigmented accents in wine, sapphire and amber add up to a rich, romantic theme.
Balance With Solids
Whether there are neutrals in the backgrounds or large focal pieces that anchor your accents, neutrals serve as the perfect backdrop for a space that’s incorporating patterns playfully. If your loudest patterns are on the walls, windows or floor, consider toned-down furniture or accessories in the room to limit the competition for a visitor’s attention. If you have many, smaller embellishments arranged throughout the room, a solid backdrop will frame them nicely. Solids can be in complementary colors or in neutrals — the goal is simply to balance the loud and energetic prints with more placid intervals that give them room to breathe.
Distribute Weight Evenly
Even if your bold patterns are on featherweight throw pillows, loud, bright or complicated patterns are “heavy” additions to a room—they’re visual markers that draw attention, making them anchor points in the big picture of a stylized room. One key consideration for designers when playing with prints is visual movement: we want the eye to dance around the room, landing on various points of interest without feeling overwhelmed or, on the other end of the spectrum, unengaged. If too many of your patterns are concentrated in one part of the room, it will throw the whole space off balance. Distribute them evenly, and integrate solids between them to bridge the gaps between each.
Choose Three or More Patterns
Two mismatched patterns can feel like a mistake. With a minimum of three, you have enough elements to appropriately space your printed pieces so they interact across the entirety of the room instead of in one visually-cluttered corner. Aim for diversity in size and scale, and adhere to the rules above when choosing unifying colors or tone. We tend to prefer odd-numbered combinations in general to fight the urge to group accents in pairs both when you’re arranging your room or when a visitor is surveying it. Three to five patterns surrounded by solids or neutrals is often the sweet spot.
As with all design rules, some of these were made to be broken—but if you’re a first-timer trying to dip your toes into the world of interior designing, this framework will help you avoid common pitfalls. Each room is different, and no two homeowners’ styles or needs are alike. If you want to really push the envelope and bend the rules to make a striking statement unique to your home, your best bet is to partner with an interior designer who knows exactly how to balance the delicate and the daring. Visit http://bbinteriordesigns.com/, or stop into our Geneva showroom to peruse our 2,700 swatch books and find the patterns that speak to you.