How to Elegantly Decorate with Multiple Patterns

PatternLivingRoomSolid colors are the easiest way to decorate a home.  Right?  Simple maybe, but solids are not necessarily the most visually interesting.  Patterns add contrast and can showcase a person’s personality.  But before you head to the store and purchase a multitude of patterned items, find out how to best pull off a mix-and-match without making your space visually overwhelming.

Choose a color palette

The best way for patterns to pull together to create a cohesive design space is to first choose the room’s color scheme.  For starters, pick three colors that will constitute the primary palette for the room.  Consider the room’s current furniture and décor.  What color is the wall?  What colors are the major furniture pieces?  If you won’t be purchasing new furniture or repainting the walls these are very important points to consider.

Use a neutral as your primary base color.  White, cream, or beige are great base colors.  Next, either choose a secondary main hue or two accent colors to incorporate into the room—these colors will be in the patterns so be discerning.

Pick the patterns

Again, the best way to avoid clashing patterns and a visual monstrosity is to start small.  Choose three pattern designs that you will want to incorporate in various ways throughout the space.  There’s no reason why stripes, polka dots, and florals cannot coexist harmoniously if done correctly.

The key to making multiple patterns pleasing, instead of gaudy, is to coordinate the colors of the patterns with the room’s color scheme.  Feel free to experiment with bold patterns and bright colors as long as they make sense with the rest of your choices.  Something to keep in mind is that you will want to keep the hues within the same color intensity and not mix jewel tones with pastels.

Balance is elegance

Don’t concentrate the patterned pieces in one spot.  For a refined look, mix them throughout the room.  Also, consider the patterns themselves in order to balance the mood they evoke.  Busy patterns liven up a space while simple designs infuse subtle interest.  Refrain from overwhelming your room with several busy designs.

Another key to balancing is to incorporate a variety of pattern scales when mixing and matching.  Choose one dominate print to incorporate as a large-scale item—such as a piece of artwork, a rug, curtains, decorative chair—then use two other patterns within the same color scheme for accessories like accent pillows and vases.

Shades of gr any color

Monochromatic rooms don’t have to be boring!  Play with tones and tint levels to achieve interest while keeping it simple.  Select a statement piece with a bold pattern and contrasting color to invigorate the space then choose decorative pieces with patterns comprised of the tones and accent color to achieve unity.  Want patterns but in an even more subtle way?  Play with the textures of a fabric to add patterns without introducing additional colors.


 Decorating with multiple patterns in a nutshell: if the patterns are comprised of matching hues it is good to use!

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