When it comes to the interior design process, patterns are a huge priority for me to create a unique and dynamic space. While I often stick with a sophisticated mix of solid fabrics in multiple textures in a home, mixing patterns can be challenging and fun, and will elevate the overall aesthetic of a room. Doing this the “right” way can be the hallmark of a professional interior designer or decorator. Here are my top three guidelines that I personally subscribe to when layering pattern on pattern on pattern!
Color in patterns:
When layering pattern on pattern, first consider your color scheme. Your foundation color, or colors, serves as the ground for your overall design. For example, in the room below, let’s consider the aubergine color. Pulling similar shades of our base color is a great way to begin to layer. The patterns in the room range from pale mauve to deep plum. We selected a lead pattern, on the Euro Shams and this sets the tone and lays down the rules of the color palette. The pattern on the chairs at the foot of the bed is a handsome geometric, while the pattern on the euro shams (our lead) is a multi-color, soft watercolor print. And, taking it a step further, the bolster just in front of them is a lovely ombre showcasing the entire range of our palette.
In the room below, we have a color palette of just three – fairly equitably applied – colors: red, gray, and white. Using those three colors, we incorporate a contrasting stripe on the coverlet, a geometric on the drape, and a fun patterned tape trim on the solid red velvet pillows.
Scale of patterns:
The key to making multiple patterns work in a space is scale, scale, scale! If all of the patterns in the room below were of the same scale, they would fight each other. This is a room shared by twin boys so there is probably plenty of bickering going on already. Let’s have our patterns get along! Patterns of different scales mix together very well! Here, we mixed a super large-scale stripe on the beds with a medium scale flat-weave rug (Jonathan Adler) and then a small-scale printed wall covering on the ceiling. Then, we tossed in an accent pillow with a single, large starburst print in the center and a smaller scale patterned throw at the foot of the bed. Et voila! Patterns in perfectly scaled harmony!
Types of patterns:
Ikat, polka dot, stripe, geometric… it’s endless! And you can mix them all in the same space. It really does work. Check out this adorable breakfast banquette below. See how the stripes, geometrics, solids and pin dots all hang out together and get along swimmingly!
Color + Scale + Type = the Pattern Layering Trifecta! Finding variety and balance in these three areas is the key to layering pattern. As always, design is subjective and there is no “right” or “wrong” way. If you are crazy about large-scale polka dots, or red polka dots, or large-scale, red polka dots, then there you go! Otherwise, can’t wait to see how your room layered in pattern turns out!