Tips for Mixing Colors

Tuesdays are tip days and todays’ tips are focusing on mixing patterns. This is a topic that came to me from a viewer this past week. The question was:

“Natalie, how do I know if I am picking the right patterns when I am redecorating? I never know if my patterns go together.”

If you’ve ever been in a basic art class, you know that there are basic elements and principles of design. One of those being harmony. This comes in handy when you are picking patterns for your space. After all, pattern is one of the most important elements of a space. So I have decided to give a foul-proof list of ten tips to keep in mind when it comes to picking the right patterns. These are sure to get you the results you are looking for.

1) Work in odd numbers. Odd numbers seem to work best when mixing patterns, so start when three different patterns with three different scale. Once you’ve mastered that, try for five!

so many wooden headboards in thrift stores. this would be a great makeover

2) Use varying scales. Incorporate varying scales to the space so that the prints don’t compete with one another.  Stick with the rule of three: pick one large, one medium and one small pattern to work with.  For example, try one large floral/organic pattern, plus one medium geometric, plus one small classic pattern.

A monochromatic color scheme keeps these mixed patterns from being overwhelming. Tour the rest of this home:

3) Large patterns work best on large pieces and vise versa. When choosing the location of your patterns, keep in mind the space in which you are working.  A large pattern works best on a large item, such as a wall, window treatment or area rug because the space is large enough to accommodate the pattern in its entirety.  A medium pattern is better suited to furniture and a small pattern to accent pieces.  (Note: Sometimes, small patterns can look busy when used is large amounts.)

Art orla kiely lovely-corner

4) Look for a large pattern that incorporates all of your colors. One approach to begin building your mix of patterns if your space has several colors in it, is to think of the large pattern as your anchor.  It should be the biggest, boldest and incorporate ALL of your colors in your color scheme.  From there, pick a different, medium-sized pattern (about half the size of your large pattern) that utilizes SOME of the colors.  Lastly, the small pattern can use just TWO or THREE of your colors.  One easy way to do this is to look for a fabric that has coordinating patterns available.

Love the happy vibe this colorful decor gives off ... reminds me of a cozy cottage in the mountains or a tiny beach house.

5) You can use pattern even if you have a monochromatic room. Alternatively, if you have a single color, play with different shades of the color.  So long as you still vary the scale and type of pattern, you can create a very cohesive look of mixed patterns this way.

Monochromatic bedrooms always initiate a soothing effect; have some fun with same-toned patterns, textures, and accessories for the bedroom –– 15 Decorating Ideas to Steal From This Stylish Bachelor Pad!

6) Consider adding a solid to the mix. Don’t be afraid to throw in a solid to soften and ground the look!

Designer Jamie Herzlinger chose a metallic paint design on colored wallpaper to create a dramatic look in this contemporary guest bedroom. To balance the space, she chose a neutral, solid headboard and accessories. Add fresh flowers in a feminine vase to soften the look and bring a smile to guests faces, she suggests.Share This Photo Gallery  Facebook Twitter Link to this Photo Gallery:

7) Group together patterns that have similar styles. If you have a defined style in your home, also give some thought as to the types of patterns that you mix together.  Traditional patterns tend to mix easier with other traditional patterns, versus mixing them with bold, contemporary prints.  So for example, traditional prints such as florals, plaids, and damask don’t always blend easily with chevron or ikat.  This doesn’t mean you can’t mix patterns across styles – in fact, sometimes, an unexpected print gives a pop to the room – but if you’re just starting to experiment with pattern, it is often easier to stick within a style.

Get the look! The LAPPLJUNG textile collection of rugs, cushions, curtains, duvet covers and more, is definitely IKEA but in a style that drew more from global influences, handmade traditions and graphic patterns.

8) Be sure to balance your patterns in the space. Balance is key!  This includes not only balancing the scale of your patterns, but balancing them equally throughout the space to avoid a lop-sided feeling.

Bedroom - I dream of this charming bedroom, whose yellow wall invites you in to rest in the voluminous pillows and cuddle with Buddy. It adds so much life and light. I think patterned wallpaper is an easy and effective way to make an artistic statement while avoiding clutter.

9) Stick with a consistent hue. Within your color palette, use colors with consistent intensities.  If your palette is pastel, don’t mix in a bold jewel tone and vice-versa.

Mixing patters is hard to do... This makes it look effortless.  5 Tips for Mixing Patterns

10) Don’t be afraid to break the rules! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so break the rules if it looks good to you!  Sometimes, complementary patterns and motifs come together in an organic and unplanned fashion, so if it looks good to you, go for it!

Jonathan Adler's Fall 2013 Catalog #homedecor #interiors - @Freshome

These 10 tips will hopefully get you started to become a pattern mixing master!  Just remember to keep scale and color in mind, regardless of what approach you take to mixing patterns. The whole idea is to create a space that is both harmonious and reflects your personality. And most importantly, now that you know the rules don’t be afraid to bend them! :)

Happy styling!



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