Top 5 Tips for Mixing Pattern

Posted by: Rebecca Atwood

I see pattern all around me—the scaffolding shadows on the sidewalk, the crisscross fence, or the patterning on a leaf all spotted when I’m walking to work. Putting pattern into a space can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Pattern is personal and can reflect many aesthetics and moods.  Pattern is one of the easiest ways to tell your story-- I wrote my book Living with Pattern because I wanted to help you tell yours and create a home that reflects it. Today I want to share my top five tips for using pattern.

Rebecca Atwood Top 5 Tips for Pattern MixingPhoto by Lydia Hudgens

1) New to pattern? Keep your color palette tight. Sticking with a narrow color palette can help unite different styles of patterns because it gives them something in common.

2) Mix up the scale with an assortment of small-, medium-, and large-scale prints. If you use patterns that are all the same size your eye reads them all as the same, but by creating a hierarchy there’s visual organization that helps move your eye around a room.

3) Use bigger prints on areas you want to draw the eye, and smaller prints on areas you want to recede in space. It’s an easy trick to help you draw people into a space.

 Rebecca Atwood Top 5 Tips for Pattern MixingPhoto by Emily Johnston from Living with Pattern

4) Consider proportion-- about 40-60% of the room should be patterned. The rest of your space should be made up of textures and material differences. Think about building your foundation with architectural details like the striping of wooden floor boards, the rustic surface of stone, or the matte sheen on a tile surface, as well as items you bring in like sisal rugs, textured linen, chunky knits, rattan, and velvet.

Rebecca Atwood Living with PatternPhoto by Emily Johnston from Living with Pattern

5) Remember to have fun! Pattern is the best tool for telling your story.  If you love it, you can make it work. Focus on finding the connection between what you love and the other pieces you own so that there’s a conversation happening between the different pieces.

Want more? Pick up a copy of my new book at one of the many places it’s carried, or purchase a personalized signed copy in our shop.

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