Interior Design

The Art of Mixing Patterns in Interior Design

Mixing patterns is an essential skill for interior designers, offering a dynamic way to infuse personality and depth into any room. However, it can seem daunting without a clear strategy. This guide will walk you through the fundamentals of effectively combining different patterns to create a cohesive and visually appealing space.

Start with a Color Scheme:

Every successful design begins with a well-thought-out color scheme. Choose one primary color to dominate the space and 2-3 accent colors to support it. This color foundation will guide your pattern selection and ensure a cohesive look. For example, a primary palette of navy blue can be complemented with accents of mustard yellow and grey, providing a balanced backdrop for a variety of patterns.

Mix Scales:

Playing with scale is crucial when mixing patterns. Pair a large, bold pattern with smaller, more subdued patterns to keep the room from feeling chaotic. For instance, a large floral wallpaper can be beautifully balanced with smaller geometric pillows and a mid-sized chevron rug. The key is to ensure that no two patterns compete for attention at the same scale.

Balance with Solids:

Solid colors are your best friends in pattern-heavy designs. They provide breathing space between patterns and help highlight key features. Incorporate solids through larger furniture pieces, wall color, or large area rugs. This strategy not only breaks up the patterned elements but also brings attention to the careful detailing within the patterns themselves.

Vary the Types of Patterns:

To create a dynamic interior, mix geometric patterns with organic patterns. The structured nature of geometric designs (like stripes or chevrons) complements the natural, fluid forms of organic patterns (such as floral or animal prints). This variety can prevent visual monotony and keep the eye moving through the space.

Texture Matters:

Texture adds another layer of interest to your pattern mixing. Different textures can make the same color read differently depending on the light and angle, adding a subtle complexity to your designs. Consider a mix of smooth silks, rough linens, plush velvets, and crisp cottons, each featuring different patterns to enhance the sensory experience of the room.

Rule of Three:

A good rule of thumb for beginners is to start with three different patterns in varying scales. This provides enough diversity to make the space interesting without overwhelming it. Ensure that each pattern appears at least three times to create a sense of intentional design.

Consistency is Key:

Repeating each pattern in different areas of the room creates a rhythm that ties the space together. For example, if you have a striped cushion, echo the stripes in a vase, a piece of art, or a rug. This repetition helps the eye move around the room and gives the design a purposeful flow.

*Bonus Tip: Use Accessories

Accessories like cushions, rugs, and throws are perfect for experimenting with patterns. They’re not permanent fixtures, so you can swap them out as your design tastes evolve. Accessories are also an excellent way for clients to test their comfort level with mixing patterns before committing to larger elements.


Mixing patterns in interior design allows for creative expression and can transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. By following these guidelines, you can confidently mix and match patterns to achieve a professional and polished look. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your aesthetic and the functional needs of the space.

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