If you have followed my blog for very long, you know I am a lover of fabric. I sometimes buy it without even knowing where it will end up. Mixing and matching fabric patterns may seem daunting but if you follow just a few rules, you can get the look you see in magazines at a fraction of the cost…and even if you don’t sew. My philosophy, and it’s not shared by some designers, is to use the same colors in all the main rooms of your home. Not only is it easier, but it allows you to move your soft furnishings from room to room for a completely different look. It literally expands your decor and the possibilities are endless. For example instead of investing in a rug for one room, you will be buying a rug that you could possibly use in every main room of your home. In my case, I have the same colors in my entry, living room, dining room and kitchen. I don’t have an open concept home but by using the same colors throughout, there is flow from room to room.
These 5 tips for mixing fabric patterns will work for any space. Include throws and rugs in the mix as well as pillows and window treatments.
1. PICK TWO COLORS AND A NEUTRAL.
Start with two colors that work in your space. Think about this for a while, decide and then stick to your decision. Believe me I know how tempting it is to throw in another color…and you could but not when you are just getting started. It helps for these colors to be on your biggest pieces, like sofas and rugs. In my case my two colors are blue and yellow…and my neutral is ivory. Whites and ivories make great neutrals but so do grays and blacks.
This is where your own style will come in so just choose what you love. The only rule is to stick with the two colors you chose in step 1. Some examples of patterns are florals, stripes, plaid, geometric, checks, toile, chevron, animal print. Here are the yellow patterns I use in my main living spaces. The bird print is on two slipper chairs in my living room.
Here are the blue patterns.
3. PICK AT LEAST ONE FABRIC THAT HAS YOUR TWO COLORS AND YOUR NEUTRAL.
This fabric will be what makes all the other patterns work together. Use it wherever you can along with the other patterns that you have chosen. Here are two fabrics I use that have both blue and yellow.
4. VARY THE SCALE OF YOUR PATTERNS.
Your patterns should be different sizes. For example if you have a very wide stripe, use a smaller floral pattern. If you are using a large buffalo check, use a smaller stripe such as ticking. Don’t use all stripes…or all florals.
Try to mix it up a little without over-thinking it. At the end of the day if you fall in love with three large scale patterns, and they follow the color rule, chances are they will work just fine. I honestly pay more attention to color than scale. If I fall in love with a pattern, I tend to use it whether it follows all the rules or not. The one rule I don’t break is keeping with my two main colors, with one exception. I do add seasonal colors. In the Fall I bring in browns and oranges…and at Christmas I add reds and greens.
So…what do you think? I have linked to fabric sources if they are still available. I have also linked to some great, affordable fabric collections that are similar to what I have. If you don’t sew, Etsy is an excellent place to buy pillow covers that are reasonably priced. Here are my favorite shops:
One last tip. Throws and rugs are important. Not only do they add layers but they add texture as well. Stick with your colors when purchasing these items and you will be able to freely move them from room to room.
For more inspiration on decorating with pattern and pillows just click the images below.
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