How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

When it comes to bold color and pattern choices at home, from wallpaper or tile to unique fixtures, Austin-based interior designer Maureen Stevens of Maureen Stevens Design knows a thing or two. The style expert specializes in utilizing all of these fun home decor details in her projects. So, we were excited to chat with her and figure out just how to mix and match colors and patterns at home. She shares a few general tips, below, as well as how you can implement them into different areas of your home specifically.

How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

What are your most useful tips for how to mix and match colors and patterns at home?

1. Take risks and have fun by mixing and matching 3-5 patterns at one time.

2. Make sure the patterns are sized in different scales – oversized, large, medium and small.

3. Repetition is key—repeat a color or a theme when mixing patterns, keeping in mind that just the intensity, texture and feel of a pattern can evoke a theme in itself.

4. Do not be afraid! Mixing is all about being open to new possibilities. Keep in mind that design and decorating is all about creating a space that inspires you, so have fun with it!

How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

How do these tips apply to different rooms in the house?

Kitchen: With the kitchen being utilitarian for the most part, there are a few main items that are almost always kept solid, including cabinetry and countertops. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the other finishes! There are two main areas you can add a pattern to— your backsplash and your floors. If you have a kitchen island, good for you! The face and sides of an island offer a third possibility where pattern can be added, as well.

Tiles are always a fun way to add pattern to your kitchen. Keep in mind that the pattern can be directly on the tiles themselves, or it can be created in the way your tiles are configured. For example, a simple subway tile can be applied in a herringbone pattern, to create right angles, etc.

If you’re afraid of having too much pattern, start with a small area. Perhaps choose a small focal point to add pattern to and add a coordinating same-hued treatment on the kitchen island—a sure way to create an amazing design!

How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

Bedroom: The bedroom is your space, so you can go as bold and dramatic as you would like, or move towards a subdued and calm design. While bold and dramatic is perfect for some people, the majority of people prefer a peaceful and serene space. To create that calming space, limit your patterns to about two or three. Go for medium to smaller scale patterns, rather than a big, bold, graphic one.

The headboard, bed or the area rug are a few of my favorite areas to add pattern to. If you’re afraid of implementing pattern on any of the prominent pieces in your room, then keep everything solid and just add pattern to some of the smaller items, such as the throw at the bottom of the bed or your accent pillows.

How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

Living Room: The living room should be both beautiful and functional with visual interest, subdued elegance with a laid-back feel. For the living room, you should first think about the items that are priority: main seating, accent chairs, coffee table, lamps, side tables, area rug, and accessories, such as throw pillows, throws and wall decor. Pattern can be implemented into all of these elements.

Keep in mind that even in a pattern-on-pattern space, there are still items that should be solid or devoid of any pattern. For example, if you have chairs with a bold hue with a medium-scale pattern, it may be smart to choose a solid color sofa, but with a bold, deep hue that is complementary to the color of the chairs. Sprinkle both solid and patterned pillows on these seating pieces. Your drapery may be in a small-scale pattern, but adding a simple contrast or solid trim would be great.

Also, remember that smaller items can have patterns, as well—a stool for extra seating, the shades for your floor or table lamp, decorative boxes, etc.

How to Mix & Match Colors and Patterns at Home

How do you avoid design direction going wrong? Are there any mistakes to look out for when mixing and matching patterns?

Edit, edit, edit. Always look at your patterns together and see if you like them. Do not jump without looking at the bigger picture—planning ahead always helps. Even making a design board with all of the available apps and software can be a huge help—plus many of these apps are free!

For more homes that master the mix & match, check out this designer’s chic bold home or this family’s art deco home

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