June 08, 2023

How to Use & Mix Patterns in Interior Design with B&B

We’re back this week, and we’re talking all about patterns. If it’s more your style, you can stay the safe route and stick to monochromatic schemes, but if you’re looking to go a little bolder in your space, keep reading! When done properly, mixing patterns can create visual interest within a space, making it fun and captivating, yet still cozy. From timeless classics to bold and eclectic combinations, this blog will guide you through the dos and don'ts of mixing patterns, offering tips & tricks, inspo., and designer advice along the way. We want to help you create a space you love, so let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics of Pattern Mixing: Before you start going crazy mixing patterns, we should talk about the fundamental principles of pattern mixing. These include pattern scale, general color scheme, and complementary styles. Be mindful of the scale of your patterns- first and foremost! You don’t want patterns of the same scale next to each other because then that will become visually overwhelming. You might mix a small dot pattern with a larger plaid pattern. This choice would not overwhelm the eye. Next, the general color scheme needs to make sense. You wouldn’t want to bring in a random color that’s nowhere to be found throughout the space. Lastly, while I do encourage a mix of modern and traditional styles, you do want to be mindful of what styles you’re mixing. The goal is to embrace and mix different kinds of patterns, while still creating a balanced overall look that flows from space to space.

Starting Small: Mixing Patterns in Accessories: This can all be a bit intimidating, especially if it’s outside of your design comfort zone, but you don’t have to move right into bold pattern choices on larger items, such as furniture. You can start with accessorizing and build from there. For example, maybe you choose to add in some floral embroidered throw pillows, alongside some plaid curtains and an oriental-styled rug. Then you select an art piece to complement the pre-existing selections. You can certainly layer patterns in a way that adds interest and personality, but be sure to stay within a general color scheme and try to balance out the volume of patterns throughout the overall space. The room doesn’t have to be overwhelming- In fact, you don’t want it to be. You want the eyes of your guests to seamlessly float across the room in awe of the harmony you’ve created. Here are a few patterned accessories that would flow well together. 


Playing with Wallpapers and Wall-coverings:
Wallpapers and wall coverings are all the talk these days! If you’re open to inviting tradition back in, they can be the perfect way to make a statement and introduce pattern mixing into your space. I love how they often add so much character and tell a story specific to the owner of the home and/or designer. While accent walls are a fun option to play with, I am currently loving the look of a fully wall-papered room. In my opinion, it creates a whole different experience full of life and personality that you can’t get elsewhere. I particularly love floral patterns, as well as murals and geometric patterns. You’ll want to be sure that your color scheme flows with your other patterned-choices and that the scale coordinates well, as mentioned above. Lastly, make sure you know what you’re going for. Do you want a simple pattern for some visual interest or are we looking to tell a story? Either can be done. Check out some of our favorite options below!


Mixing Patterns in Upholstery and Furniture: Gone are the days of matching furniture sets. I like to mix not only the colors of my furniture pieces, but the patterns, styles, and textures, as well. The colors and patterns of your furniture choices should still flow cohesively, though. For example, we could start with a living room space. Maybe we have one brown leather sofa, one cream boucle sofa, and two plaid patterned chairs. These choices have the power to mix it up without being too overwhelming. I recommend putting your pieces of choice in a simple mood board, along with the patterned accessories, and examining the space from one side to the next. Do your eyes stop anywhere? If so, where is it feeling choppy? Let’s help it flow! See a favorite patterned furniture choice of ours below!


Layering Patterns with Textiles: There’s so many ways to add patterns into a design, but my personal favorite is through the use of textile, and I generally like to start with throw pillows! Using pillows with different sizes and patterns will add interest to the scene. Make sure to be mindful of the scale and denseness of your patterns. You don’t want to do a pillow with a tiny plaid print next to another pillow with a tiny floral print. I like to do one pattern with a smaller scale next to another pattern with a larger scale. Generally, one will also be more “busy” than the other. You also want to consider the direction of your patterns. If you have large stripes that are horizontal on one pillow, you don’t want to put another one next to it with a pattern in a horizontal direction. And of course, you want the color scheme to flow. See the pillows below for an example of what patterns I would mix!


Pattern-Mixing Inspiration: Before I send you off on your pattern mixing journey, we have some real-life examples of successfully mixed patterns for reference! Check it out!


I know it can be overwhelming when you first start, but don’t be afraid to play around with your patterns and have some fun! Can’t wait to see your new project! Talk to you soon!
Hanna Ruddock
Birch & Bind

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