A Pattern For Success

They say opposites attract. Here’s how to create the perfect marriage of antique and contemporary furnishings.

Subtle patterns in the pillows match the textured rug below

Keep it Simple
If you have patterned rugs and other
textures, consider solid tones or white
for furnishings.

Patterns are everywhere in our homes – from pillows and curtains to armchairs and wallpaper. But sometimes achieving a seamless look by mixing and matching patterns can be daunting. Here’s a few tips to demystify the process, and have your space looking polished and picture-perfect.

Colorful Choices
If you’re starting with a blank canvas, you can get started by choosing a color that you love. Whether you are looking for a bold or a subtle look will determine how you go about selecting the complementing colors in the fabric and upholstery. For a pattern that pops, the rule of complimentary colors reigns supreme – select colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel – think rich eggplant and amber-yellow. If you prefer a subtle use of patterns, go with tone-on-tone, using your wall color as either a foundation, or as the complement. If you have a monochromatic room, you can still vary the patterns, using shades of the same color paired with neutrals, such as white, sand or “greige” – a very popular new blending of grey and beige.

With bedding, walls and even area rugs, a solid color can ground a grouping of patterned pieces. Pick your favorite color from your patterned pieces and paint the room or a feature wall that color to give the room real impact.

Choose fabrics that both look and feel great.

Tip: The Scales
When mixing patterns that will be seen close together, such as a grouping of accent pillows, try finding fabrics with three different sized patterns – one large, one medium and one more intricate. Patterns with the same color scheme or complementary family will pull the look together.

That’s Odd
Always group an odd number of patterns together, such as a grouping of three – and make sure they complement, not clash with one another. If one piece has a strong, illustrative pattern, choose more subdued patterns to complement it, such as small stripes, plaids or tone-on-tone patterns.

The same pattern on throw pillows and other furniture gives a cohesive look

Be Inspired
Let the view outside your window
inspire your pattern palette, and
go for the green.

Camouflage isn't just or the army - it makes a great design on accent pillows

Tone-on-Tone
Liven up a monochrome color scheme
with fun graphic patterns.

Get Inspired
Anything can inspire you to find patterns you love. The colors and style of a painting or vase can be the starting point of a happy search for the perfect print. Patterns and colors from your favorite travels can bring back treasured memories, and create a look that will make you feel right at home. For example, a trip to India can awaken a color palette you may not have considered.

Start Small
If you’re still wary of making a big design mistake, just start small. Choose three or five patterned pillows first. Then, try your hand at a bedding combo. Like what you see? Soon you’ll be mixing patterns all over the house like the pro you really are!