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how to mix pattern at home with blue and black decor in living room from lorraine lea

How to Mix Patterns at Home, plus other Print Hacks

People get very confused around how to mix patterns at home. But trust me when I tell you, it’s not as hard as you might think.

There are a few general rules to keep in mind when you’re bringing pattern into your home. And also a few easy ways to mix them together. And that’s what I’m going to delve into for you today.

Above you’ll find a video I created in partnership with my mates at Lorraine Lea, that’s probably the easiest way to digest the information on how to mix pattern. But if you love a good read instead, scroll on, because we’re going to get started!

I want to go into three ways pattern can do wonders for your interior, and then show you how to mix patterns together.

black and white patten bedding set from lorraine lea in monchomatic bedroom

Adding pizazz to a neutral room

I have nothing against neutral rooms. In fact, in this post I went into how amazing they are and how you can elevate them for the better. So believe me when I say that a room filled with white, black, grey or beige is right up my alley.

But you do need to add interest. And that’s what pattern can do for a room.

One of the easiest ways to bring pattern into a room that’s pretty colourless is through bedding. An intricate pattern on a bedspread can really invigorate the space. You can change it up affordably and as often as you wish, too!

Feeling too pizazzed?

The simplest way to tone down a room that’s got a lot of pattern in it is to introduce more block colours. You can easily do this in a bedroom through solid coloured pillows, sheets and cushions. The more you add in, the less visually intense the room will become.

how to mix pattern at home lorraine lea tropical bedding with palm leaf pattern

Giving your room a focal point

Every single room in your home needs a focal point. In fact, every room already has one. It’s the first thing your eye goes toward when you walk into the space.

If you haven’t created a fab focal point, chances are the room has dictated it to you, and it’s probably not a good one! So use pattern to create a stunning visual moment instead.

Bedding is again another beautiful way to create a focal point in a bedroom, as you can see in the shot above. But you could also use an artwork, a painted feature wall, a dazzling rug or even some subtle wallpaper designs like these ones.

One moment only, please!

As a general rule, a room should only have one focal point.

In most cases, if you try to squeeze more than one in, the space can begin to feel claustrophobic or overwhelming for you. So let one decor moment shine. The other pieces in the room can be the supporting players.

lorrain lea pink and white floral bedding set with floral artwork in bedroom

Injecting mood into the space

People often think that colour does all the work in making a room feel something; inviting, chic, relaxed, luxurious, and so on. But pattern plays a big part here too.

Here are some different moods that can be created using different patterns in your space:

  • Calm and Soothing: Use floral, toile, damask or paisley patterns
  • Formal and Sophisticated: Go toward houndstooth, chevron, ikat and stripes
  • Playful and fun: polka dots, leopard print and stars are your friends
  • Dramatic: larger prints that dominate the space always bring drama

The starting point for any room you’re putting together is mood. So have a think about how you want your room to feel. Then, you’ll be able to gravitate toward a pattern that reflects the mood you want to evoke.

how to mix pattern interior design black and blue decor ideas for living room

Different Patterns, Same Colourway

The image above is an example of how you can easily mix a number of different patterns and shapes in a space if you keep the colourway the same. Not the exact same colours, of course, but an array of the same shade. Blue is the colour I’ve used above, but any hue will do!

There are a few different patterns here: polka dots, geometric flowers, circles in the rug and ovals in the artwork. Because they’re all blue, they all play nicely together without any issues.

black and white bedding set from lorraine lea with yellow european cushions

Patterns of Different Scales

It’s wise to avoid patterns of the same size. For example, having a large-scale floral wallpaper on your wall and then a large-scale geometric bedspread. It’s all too much for the eye to handle. Instead, try one in a larger print and the other in a smaller.

It’ll work best if one print is hard (geometric) and the other print is soft (florals). Too much of the one type of pattern will feel too full-on.

Notice it in the photo above: Intricate, busy pattern in the bedding, paired with larger, softer circles in the art.

Restrain yourself!

My golden rule is to not mix more than about three patterns in a space. As I said above, pattern can easily make a room feel visually chaotic, so you really need to apply a little restraint here.

As they say on Project Runway: edit, edit, edit. Don’t be afraid to stand back and look at your space. Figure out what pattern is not working and take it out. And remember, if you’ve gone too far and need to reign it in, just add in block colours.

how to mix pattern at home in black and white bedroom with yellow euro cushions from lorraine lea

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Otherwise, drop me a comment below if you have any questions on how to mix patterns at home!


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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2 Responses

  1. Chris! This is my biggest hurdle in decorating my home. I love the look of mixed patterns, but I can’t seem to trust my own decisions. I’m always fearful of mixing the wrong patterns or too many patterns or colors which always leads me to settling for the “safe choice”. I am NOT a safe choice woman, Chris! I haven’t made a safe choice since I was 5 years old! Our master bedroom is painfully neutral; so neutral it always looks dirty to me. I have longed for a serene, calming space for so long, but…whenever I start creating a mood board, I find about three things, then my mind starts to run amok. Off the top of your head, what colors do you think of when you think, “calm, serene, master bedroom”? Just asking a pop question, no deep thinking required. Just curious about the direction your mind starts to move. BTW, love your mix of blues; patterns, shades and texture, all of it!

    1. Hey Judith. Sounds like you’re having quite a tough time sorting out your bedroom! It can feel a little overwhelming can’t it? If you’re in Melbourne I’d suggest we do a consult so I could sort it out for you. In the meantime, though, check out this post: https://www.tlcinteriors.com.au/trends-inspiration/calming-bedroom-colour-schemes/ – it’s on calming bedroom colour schemes and you’ll find whites, creams, soft greys and cool colours like blue and green in there. That’s what I’d be veering toward to make the space feel calm and serene. Hope this helps 🙂

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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