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I am often asked how I determine which colors and patterns to mix together in a space. If you are courageous enough to take a stab at it on your own, blending different colors and prints together in a room can be absolutely KIMPLISTIC… and FUN! However, without the proper planning and direction, this task may prove to be quite a daunting experience for even the most adventurous of amateur decorators. However, with some practice, a distinguishing eye, and a few simple guidelines, you are likely to find a much higher degree of success in your endeavors.  Here are a few of my guiding principles for getting the ball rolling in the right direction:

  • Begin by choosing ONE main pattern that encompasses all of the colors you would like to include into your overall design.  Generally, this print will be a BOLD print of medium or large scale.  Constantly refer back to this pattern as the “home base” when deciding if your other prints are blending with the central theme.

Notice the rug under the table was likely the starting point for the room, as all of the colors and patterns elsewhere in the space can be drawn from that original source. Photo from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.

The fabric on the ottomans includes all of the colors throughout the space, which grounds the overall perception. Photo from House & Home Magazine.

  • It is important to keep in mind, when selecting additional prints, that there must be contrast in their scale, as well as color variation. For instance, choosing prints of all the same theme, like florals, for example, or picking patterns that are all on a tiny scale, will not produce the desired effect. In fact, in the latter scenario, the result will likely be one that is boring or unnoticeable, whereas in the former example, too many flowers may overwhelm the eye and cause a feeling of unrest in the space. Variation is the key to creating a “layered”, yet “put together” look in your pattern mix.

This sofa (and surrounding space) shows a fabulous example of how many different prints can be blended together in different scale to produce a unified result. Photo from Country Homes & Interiors .

This photo from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine shows how a difference in scale can produce dramatic results. The large scale of the floral print, medium scale of the wallpaper print, and the small scale of the stripes on the stool all blend together fabulously!

  • Constantly consider the BALANCE of the entire room. It is easy to only focus on one piece of furniture and the patterns that work best for that one small area. However, it is just as important to consider where exactly in the room you are blending the various prints. If you end up with all of your beautiful, coordinating patterns glommed together in one place, but nothing anywhere else in the room, it will not likely create the feeling of continuity you desire. Rather, you may end up constantly feeling as if the room is “missing something” or “unfinished”. So, be sure to address the entire room when blending prints and colors.

In this photo from Cottage Living, the continuity of pattern and color is carried throughout the room and is held together beautifully by the afghan on the back of the sofa.

From the furnishings to the floor covering to the accessories and wall color, every part of this room featured in House Beautiful Magazine, remains true the the central theme.

If you keep these tips in mind from the beginning to the end of your project, you will most certainly find FABULOUS results! I would love to hear about your designing experience with pattern blending, so feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts!

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