Simple Pattern Mixes and Why They Work

Posted by: Rebecca Atwood

Now that you have the basics of pattern mixing down, I thought it would be fun to look at a few pattern palettes and why they work. Sometimes it’s easiest to understand with examples. 

A Monochromatic Color Palette

Rebecca Atwood | Simple Pattern Mixes and Why They Work

An easy two color palette is a great place to start when you’re first mixing patterns. Color is the common denominator along with the painterly hand. The Marble pattern would be your statement piece in this collection, and the two other patterns would support the story. The Looped Mini Circles and Speckled pattern have a similar small scale but work together because they each offer something different in the assortment instead of competing—this is primarily because of the difference in the ground color. One is light and airy and the other is more grounding. Each pattern should have its own purpose.

Another example of this same concept is shown below with all grays using our Leaves, Waves, and Dashes pattern.

Rebecca Atwood | Simple Pattern Mixes and Why They Work

This warm mix of patterns below is a great example of how the tones in a color palette don’t need to be a perfect match. The Blooms pattern has the largest scale and most interest in terms of motif, making it a great place to build off. I chose our Speckled fabric because the small painterly marks mimic what’s going on in the Blooms design but in a more textural way and on a smaller scale. The colors speak to each other but they don’t match. The Speckled fabric is taupe, but it has a bit of blush which makes the connection with the color in the Blooms design. The addition of the Dashes in tangerine adds a little punch. The tangerine is a brighter color than the Blooms, but because it is a smaller textural pattern it doesn’t compete. I like adding this pop because it livens up a neutral look.

Rebecca Atwood Simple Pattern Mixing

Simple Three Color Palette

Rebecca Atwood | Simple Pattern Mixes and Why They Work

Here the Hills pattern is the boldest one of the group because of the color and graphic shapes. I chose two supporting patterns for this look. The Painted Stripe has a hint on tangerine which ties it to the Hills design, and then the gray opens the color palette so that the Dashes pattern makes sense in the mix. Each pattern here has a different scale so the eye keeps moving.

This same simple three color palette concept is shown below. The Painted Stripe has brought in the blue but is otherwise neutral. The Looped Mini Circles has the small-scale texture, and the Overlapping Circles plays off the same circle concept but at a bigger scale.

Rebecca Atwood | Simple Pattern Mixes and Why They Work

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