Mixing prints and patterns in any room adds so much interest, character and style. However, so many people are afraid that mixing patterns and prints will be too loud or disruptive to the eye that they avoid it altogether or overuse one particular pattern or print. Like anything in life, it’s all in “how” it’s done. The key to print and pattern mixing is to stay within the same color palette. Most rooms have a three-color palette, even if one of the three colors in the palette is white. In design we like to use three colors to play off of each other. Even rooms with a two-color palette, just using blue and white, for example, works because there are many shades of blue paired with white. The play that happens in a two-color palette room comes from the fact that there is so much depth and dimension coming from multiple tones of one of the two colors.
Pictured with today’s article is a recent guest bedroom project in Baldwin Park. This room was originally painted sage green. That wall color wasn’t working very well with the golden undertone of the spiced maple book cases that were staying in the room. It also wasn’t working with the buttery gold painted headboards seen in this photo. For that reason, we changed the paint color to a pale butter. Then, using a color palette of butter, orange, and lime with pops of crisp white, we went with two, strong graphic fabrics to make the room pop. On the duvet covers, bright orange was selected with a white graphic design running through the orange. For the tailored bedskirts, throw pillows on the beds, and the Roman shades in the room, a lime green and white graphic pattern was selected. Because the lime and white graphic is small and tight and the orange and white graphic on the beds is large and loose, it works to mix two graphics like this. Because we stayed within the color family of the room, we were able to successfully mix two graphic prints very well. Since graphic prints are strong, we chose not to add a third pattern. Had only one of the prints been strong, we would have mixed three fabrics together within our room’s color palette. Had we done so, a stripe, a small graphic, and a larger print would have worked beautifully. Remember when mixing prints, it’s all about a unified color palette. If you keep it clean by staying within the same color palette, you will be just fine. It’s all about balance.
A good rule of thumb for mixing patterns and prints is to start with just one thing. In a bedroom, let’s say it’s your bedding. Take one of your shams with you to the fabric store and look for patterned fabrics that have the same color(s) within the print as your sham. Pick your favorite fabric first and then, you will find it easier to pick a second or third fabric that works with it, but doesn’t steal the show from the fabric you hope gets the most attention in your room. If your bedding is solid, you can get even more interesting in your pattern and print mixing. A great pairing to pale blue bedding, for example, is chocolate brown and apple green. Throw in some white with this, and you have a crisp, interesting and timeless palette. If you have white bedding, the world is your oyster. Calico Corners in Altamonte Springs is a great place to go to mix patterns and prints. The store is organized in such a way that even if you aren’t a decorator, you can see the lay of the land. They keep like colors together specifically for ease in print and pattern mixing. If you are at Calico Corners and feeling stuck, ask for my favorite sales person, Judy. She comes with a wealth of knowledge and exudes enough joy to light up the rest of your day.
I hope this little lesson in pattern and print mixing is helpful. If you don’t already adapt this idea into your home, you have no idea what you are missing! It brings rooms to life and that’s what makes a house a home.