Tips for Mixing Patterns
Patterns, whether on fabrics, rugs or walls, can liven up a room and add personality. To those not familiar with using patterns, it can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Use an odd number of patterns. Odd numbers look best. Start by mixing three patterns. As your experience grows, try for five.
Vary scales. It’s important to combine various print scales. Include large-, medium- and small-scaled patterns.
Mix pattern types. Along with varying pattern scales, another key to pattern design principles is to include diverse pattern types. Mingle florals with geometrics and classics, for example.
Apply equal color intensities. Match pastels with pastels and rich jewel tones with rich jewel tones.
Consider ambiance. Fabrics help provide a certain atmosphere, depending on the type of fabric you use. For example, cotton gingham has a casual feel, whereas silk embroidery lends a formal impression. Keep the ambiance and types of fabric consistent.
Provide a sense of balance. Spread patterns fairly evenly throughout a room to give the design scheme proportion.
Choose companion fabrics. Many fabric companies offer companion fabrics — complementary patterns in the same color scheme that work well together. This can be helpful as you enter the wonderful world of patterns.
Richard Gatling, ASID
Kate Franklin, ASID
Gatling Design, Inc.
3258-1/2 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92110