Design Confidently, Live Comfortably

A designer tells how to create a rich, lively look without going over the top

by Mathilda Cox

Pattern is everywhere -- on walls, drapes, rugs, even in the texture of furniture and decorative objects. It’s a good idea to consider the big picture -- your room and all the details in it -- as well as the print that is inspiring the combination.

I believe patterns lend a room interest and depth while bringing energy into a home. Some of my favorite rooms are layered with multiple patterns and prints on walls, windows, floors, and upholstery. But as a designer, I know there’s a fine line between a pleasing mix and a mish-mash. With so many vibrant colors, fabrics, and pattern choices available today, it can be challenging to get it right.

I’ve mixed patterns in dozens of ways, but if you’ve never so much as paired a solid and a stripe, I suggest starting with one of three strategies. If you work with a color theme, allow one pattern to dominate, or combine patterns against a neutral background, you will have success, no matter the size of the room or the style of its furnishings.

NEXT: Work with a Color Theme

Work with a Color Theme
Let a Dominant Print Take Over
Start in Neutral
Finding Inspiration and Getting Started
Pattern Language
More Tips for Mixing Patterns


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