September 14, 2020 4 min read

According to reports, 73% of people who are happy with their homes are also happier in other areas of life.

A lot can go into designing a space you're happy with, and one of the most essential parts is combining colors, patterns, and textures that you enjoy and which create a pleasing overall effect. 

However, when it comes to patterns, this can be easier said than done. Because of their complexity, patterns can either go together like good cheese and wine—or clash like chalk and cheese.

Fortunately, there are are some handy guidelines you can use when learning how to mix patterns. 

If you are scratching your head over how to mix and match fabric patterns (and other items), you're in the perfect place. By keeping the following tips and tricks in mind you can successfully perfect the pattern play in your home. 

Ready to learn how to mix patterns in interior design like a pro? Don't go anywhere, because we're about to share with you all of the secrets.

Surya Frontier FT-295 Area Rug 

Consider the Overall Aesthetic You're Going For

When deciding on patterns for your home's interior, the first to do thing is consider the overall aesthetic you're aiming for. Is it bohemian? Minimalistic? Modern? Eclectic or whimsical?

Once you get clear on this, you'll have a much better understanding of the overall pattern types to consider incorporating. For instance, if you are going for a minimalistic look in your living room, then you probably won't be adding in chintz patterned wallpaper and floral scatter cushions.

Pick an Anchor Piece

Once you have narrowed down the types of patterns that will fit with your intended decor style, the next step is to pick out an anchor piece. 

This is the piece of patterned furniture, art, or decor that will call the most attention to itself. Generally, it will also be the biggest patterned item, and in some cases the brightest or most contrasting. 

In sitting rooms, area rugs are a common patterned anchor piece. Wallpaper is another. 

Once you have selected an anchor piece, you can then go on to make sure the rest of your pattern choices complement it. The logic behind this strategy is that the anchor piece will be the item that makes the strongest impression. 

From here you can then layer in other patterns. If something doesn't work, it's easier to swap out a smaller item like a scatter cushion or a throw than something like an area rug or wallpaper. 

Choose One Pattern Style

One of the easiest ways to achieve harmony in pattern play is by sticking to one style of pattern. 

For instance, geometrics are a strong trend at the moment and can be easily combined together in one room. By working in a few different elements that incorporate geometric patterns, you can achieve a feeling of cohesion, while gaining a lot of visual interest in the space. 

A quick example of this would be combining a geometrical pattern rug along with geometric patterned scatter cushions and modern wall art that incorporates geometrics.

Combine Two Strong Patterns

Another method for getting a bold pattern-on-pattern effect that still feels harmonious and intentional is to combine two strong patterns together. 


If the patterns go well together, this can be an easy way to get some vibrant pattern play going, without having to try and match too many different patterns together. 

To get a visual on this, let's say you combine a bold orange and white patterned rug, with a lively white and jewel-blue patterned wallpaper. Can you see how this could create a striking combo that still looks intentional and put together?

Another easy way to get a multi-pattern look going with minimal effort is to layer two patterned area rugs together, one on top of the other. This ramps up the texture factor and gets that effortless pattern-on-pattern look going.

If you are wondering how to mix rug patterns, simply apply the rest of the tips in this blog post.

Go for Odd Numbers

Surya Vase Set MCC-001

There is a rule in decor that odd numbers of items are more pleasing to the eye. It's sometimes called the rule of threes.

The rule of threes creates both balance and visual interest at the same time, which ties in perfectly with getting one's pattern play on. 

Therefore, when aiming for multiple prints, try to work in odd numbers. One, three, five, seven, and if you are super daring—why not 11?

Create Cohesion With Scale

Scale is another element to consider when planning your prints and figuring out how to mix patterns. For an intentional look, a top tip is to choose three prints of a descending scale. One large print, one smaller, and then another that is the smallest of the three. 

You can also go with, say, one larger print, and two that are smaller but the same size as each other.

By doing this, you can create a pattern of scale between your patterned items, which can bring harmony and decrease any sense of chaos that too many prints can bring. 

Match Color Intensities

A great way to match "clashing" patterns together is by keeping the color intensity the same. This way you can play around with color and pattern combinations, but have one common element that ties the different items together. 

An example of this would be matching pastels with pastels, jewel tones with jewel tones, etc. 

Another way to link patterns together and create a sophisticated cohesive feel is by going the tone-on-tone route. For instance, you could stick to shades of white, black, and grey, or shades of beige, shades of blue, etc, etc. 

How to Mix Patterns: Practice Makes Perfect

Learning how to mix patterns can be an art. However, it doesn't have to be unapproachable. Besides these tips, the real secret is to get in there and start practicing. 

Also, don't be afraid to break the rules. Yes, we just gave a seven-point strong list of principles, but they are just there to act as guideposts. The exact aesthetic patterns create when combined are unpredictable, and that is the beauty of pattern play. 

Are you inspired to start brainstorming how to mix your pillow patterns with your rugs, wall art, and more? If so, head on over to our store section to browse some of our top decor pieces. As you will see, we love patterns over here at Flaird as much as you do!

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