One area of interior design where I find people to be most sheepish is in mixing patterns. The fear of creating a chaotic and disturbing space causes people to avoid patterns altogether. I admit that it can get tricky, but there are a few simple tips to combining patterns in a way that is pleasing.

Starting with a color palette is the first step. The easiest palette would be monochromatic. Let’s start with a blue palette. I love Chinoiserie, so I might choose a toile wallpaper like this one to start.

Photo of Thibaut: Grand Palace in Blue and White.
Thibaut: Grand Palace in Blue and White

I’ve chosen my color palette and I know that I want to use this toile as my jumping off point. For that reason and the fact that it is a large pattern, I think I am going to use it on my walls so it will cover the most surface area; this would be at the top of the pattern hierarchy. That is step two, determining which pattern will be the star of the show. We don’t want the headache of competing starlets!

In our imaginary room, the star of our show is the toile. Who will be the supporting characters and how can we make sure they don’t try to steal the show? Well, we could choose a smaller pattern for starters, and then we put it on a smaller area within the room. If the above toile is the wallpaper, then the fabric below might be the dining chair cushions.

Photo of Thibaut: Labyrinth Velvet in Navy.
Thibaut: Labyrinth Velvet in Navy

Are you seeing it? This pattern definitely is smaller, it is still in the chinoiserie vibe, and the pattern, though busy, will be on the upholstered dining chairs where it won’t overwhelm the room. It doesn’t beg for attention, but it definitely supports the main pattern.

Let’s add one more for the draperies. We will choose something that can hold its own next to the wall-covering. The best supporting actress is only so good because she is working with the lead actress. That is the pattern below. The way it plays off the wall-covering is what makes it so effective in this scene.

Photo of Thibaut: Yukio in Navy and White.
Thibaut: Yukio in Navy and White

The pattern is consistent in theme and palette and the blue background helps it to “pop” out from the wallpaper. Let’s see it all together.

Rendering by Happy House Interiors.
Rendering by Happy House Interiors

What do you think? Are you ready to mix it up?

Next time we will mix patterns and colors!

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