In interior design, mixing patterns is one of the more advanced things that you can learn to do, and since fabrics and patterns are actually meant to be layered and combined, it’s usually all good. But doing it the wrong way can look like a hot mess. At JAC Interiors, doing it well can be the difference between designing a dream room, or going back to the drawing board, so we like to get it right! The first thing you’ll need to know is this: Patterns don’t have to match. I repeat, patterns do not have to match. Like with many elements of decorating they simply have to coordinate with and complement each other, and there are any number of ways for that to happen.

The first thing you will want to do is pick out 3 patterns, as 3 seems to be the magic number when it comes to mixing patterns (you can do 5 fabrics/patterns as well, but anymore than that and you will have a circus on your hands, but an odd number of anything makes more sense to the eyes, especially whilst coping with varying patterns.) The best way to pick your patterns is to think of them in categories: large, solid and small. The second thing to do is to mix up the fabric patterns sizes so it will be visually interesting but not too busy. So for example, a fool proof way is to pick one of three patterns: movement (could be a floral or anything that has some fluid shapes to it), small scale pattern (this could even be a solid with a texture) and finally geometric or animal print or Ikat for example. These are usually the show stopper prints and the prints that lend the most amount of personality to a setting.
When using patterns it’s important to think about size and scale, the best looking rooms have a mix. For example, try using a large pattern on a large area such as window curtains or on the walls such as wallpaper; medium scale patterns on furniture; and small patterns on small items such as throw pillows. (These rules aren’t set in stone, use your judgment based on the room, the pattern, and the place you want to use it.)

Third, you want to vary the colors used, otherwise the color scheme can get too boring. Try to pick out three colors in each room to unite the patterns, but remember you can also use the size and scale of a pattern in similar colors to play up monochromatic rooms with texture and movement versus wildly varying patterns, just use your own common sense as your guide, and have some fun!