Toss Cushions and Home Decor – Mixing Patterns in 4 Easy Steps
Pattern mixing is a great way to add pizzaz and personality to any room, however, it can be downright impossible if you don’t know the basic rules and guidelines. Does this stripe go with that floral? Does this ikat work with that jacquard? What the heck IS an ikat anyway?
That’s why I’ve decided to share with you a few trade secrets to help you mix patterns til’ the cows come home! But before you read that, you should read this…
Food for Thought re: Mixing Patterns and Colours
1. Consider Quality
Don’t mix junk with quality. It’s like having a $100 bottle of wine with a 2 cheeseburger meal – it just won’t feel good in the end. If it ‘looks’ like quality then you’re okay, but if it looks cheaply done and you put it with a super fab piece then your cheap piece will look even more tragic. Just don’t do it…
2. Consider Texture
The more neutral your palette is, the more texture you need to add. Texture adds interest. Texture adds substance. Texture makes my world go round!
If you don’t have a neutral palette, you don’t necessarily need texture to add interest or substance, so keep it to a dull roar.
3. Consider Style
If you don’t like florals, don’t pick a floral just because it has your colours. Make sure that the patterns you pick ‘suit’ the feel and the theme of your room and suit each other. You’ll find you’ll be naturally drawn to certain patterns and textures, so follow your gut and choose what you like!
4. Fill it with Feathers
I personally detest cotton fibre fill cushions. It’s like stuffing my bra with toilet paper. It looks good from far, but it sure doesn’t feel good to grab! Make sure your cushions have a cover that can be removed and replace the innards with a lovely feather insert!
And now, let’s dig into the guts and the glory of matching patterns!
Figure out Your Colour Family
If you live in the land of neutrals, then you’ll find it easy to incorporate almost any colour scheme into your room. However, chances are you have a few things in your room already that will give you clues as to what family you belong to. Here’s a list of a few colour families to consider…
Neutrals are by far the easiest and can be incorporated INTO other colour families.
- Neutrals can range from white and brown to gray and black and everything in between!
- Neutrals look best when there are a variety of depths and textures (if they aren’t mixed into other palettes)
- Don’t be afraid to throw in even 1 colour from another family to add some life to a neutral on neutral palette!
Pastels are the softies of the bunch.
- They don’t have to be as light as I’ve shown here. Pastels can have more depth to them as long as they keep that soft, Easter-inspired colour!
- Pastels best suit white, fresh cream and soft gray when it comes to neutrals, although, you can pull off the odd beige
Primary Colours and Brights
These colours are jacked right up! A little goes a LONG way with these bad boys.
- When it comes to neutrals, these go best with black, white, clean charcoal and dark brown
Earth tones are colours that have some gray or brown in them, meaning they are toned down.
- These can be light and soft or dark and deep, as long as they have that neutral base
- Earth tones are the more popular choice right now (2nd to beach colours)
Beach Inspired Colours
Beach colours are those muted blues, greens, grays and creams
- This palette can also look wicked with a muted mustard or cold
- You can also do a ‘bright beach’, where the colours have considerably less gray in them (ie: teal/seafoam)
So that covers just some of the families. You might have your OWN colour family that you love, ie: vintage, traditional, romantic, etc…but these basic families should at least get you on the right track!
And now that you’ve chosen your colour family, you can follow these easy steps…
Choose Your Main Pattern
From your colour family (either above or your OWN colour choices), decide on your 3-5 fave colours. These will be for your MAIN pattern – the pattern that holds ALL of the colours that you want to use.
- Aim to have 1 each of a light, medium, and dark (plus 2 more)
- Aim to have at least 1 NEUTRAL if not 2-3
- Don’t be afraid to vary the depths of a colour, you don’t have to stick with one particular depth
- This doesn’t need to be the LARGEST surface area (ie: rug or drape) it can be a simple bolster cushion, just as long as it contains your colours!
- It is ‘ideal’ to have only 1 dominant pattern
Main Pattern Ideas
- Floral (fave)
- Nature (fave)
Choose Your Secondary Pattern
Choose 2-3 colours from your MAIN pattern that you’d like to repeat in a secondary, more simple pattern.
- If you only have 3 main colours, you may want only 2 secondary colours
- If you have 4-5 main colours, you may want 2-3 secondary colours
Larger patterns often suit graphic large scale toss cushions, ottomans, couches, area rugs and drapes. Make sure that the SCALE of your pattern suits the pieces that it is on
- You can have 2-3 secondary patterns with different colours, as long as they are colours that are found in the MAIN pattern
Secondary Pattern Ideas
- Stripe (fave)
- Plaid or check (2nd fave)
- Mild floral
- Polka dot
Choose a Solid
The solid piece should be a colour, either textured or smooth. It might have MINOR flecks of another colour in it, but keep it simple.
- You can have a multitude of solid colours in a room as long as they exist in your main piece (I wouldn’t do more than 3)
Now Check out the Results of Steps 1-4
If I take my own tips and combine the above cushions, this is what I have…
Kylie M Interiors Edesign Virtual Design Online Paint Colour Consulting Based in Canada, serving the whole darned world!