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Mixing Patterns

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I think everyone knows that mixing patterns can be tough. l actually remember the first time I did it. It was WAY back when Patrick and I lived in an apartment after college, and it was my first chance to decorate. I bought plain white sofas, not because I loved them the way I do now, but because I had no idea what the heck else to buy, and was determined to avoid realizing my worst fear of doing matching floral windows, sofas, and wallpapers like I grew up with (sorry Mom, but you know it was ugly)! But a little while later, when we had saved enough to buy bedding, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Since we were young and did everything together, Patrick came with me. After about twenty minutes, his eyes started glazing over and he became incapable of answering yes or no questions, so I sent him to the bookstore next door. I'll never forget TWO HOURS LATER when he came running back in to find me...he'd lost track of time, and when he saw that it had been two hours, he freaked out and panicked and thought something had happened to me. (Boy those were the days - now he'd just assume I was maxing out the credit card! ;) Anyway, he found me sitting on the floor of the store as happy as a clam, because I had laid out every duvet, curtain, and pillow combo I could think of, and had finally decided on a beige tonal damask coverlet, paisley purple silk pillows, a dark eggplant throw blanket, and green and beige patterened curtains. (I cannot believe I didn't get kicked out of that store, or at least get questioned, seeing as I was acting like a crazy person, running from department to department to collect more items to bring to my "spot" near the china department to test them all out.) And I know the design plan I chose is hard to envision, and boy I wish I had a photo, but that bedroom ROCKED. I had not only mixed pattern, but color and texture, too, and it was beautiful. I was oh-so-proud of myself, and it was my favorite room for a long, long time.

Now, people ask me all the time what the trick to matching pattern is, and I wish I had an answer for them.   Scale and color matter of course, but to me, it is whatever feels right and looks good.  Here are some that I think are really good examples of how to successfully mix patterns:


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The enchanted home said...

Wow Stacy this really does justice to mixing patterns and gets the mind thinking.......I like it but still need the room to feel peaceful and inviting, sometimes mixing is just too much, too loud and not restful to me. It can be fun and I often admire it though truth be told if I were to mix patterns it would be in a more subtle way, lots of fun though, many beautiful spaces. Happy Sunday!

Sunny said...

I love pattern, and I am just crazy for stripes. I am getting pretty good about mixing and I often get that "this won't go" look from my husband! It always does and he always likes it...my only problem now it that I tend to stay away from the great modern print that I love and stay with the more traditional prints that I know I will love. I don't know if I should accept that I love traditional or push myself to use more modern prints?

Nancy @ dream it ... build it...style it! said...

Sarah Richardson is amazing at mixing patterns. Some of her spaces are included above but one of my favorites was her beach cottage living and dining room- similar colors but different patterns.
beautiful images:)

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

I love fabrics. Being an artist this is one of my favorite things about being a designer. I love going through fabrics and putting them together. Mixing fabrics can make or break a room. Great post and you always find such great pictures.

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Mixing and matching is a lot of fun, and your eye can just feel when things are right or wrong~loved many of these examples!

Kathysue said...

Mixing patterns and picking out paint colors are two of my favorite task as a designer. I use to love to pick out my hubbies ties and shirts. Love mixing it up. You showed some great examples here. Loved hearing your story about your first master bedroom. Isn't it funny how we design types just thrive when we are in our element!! Happy Sunday,Kathysue

Barbara@HausDesign said...

I could justify buying endless combinations of pillows and then mixing and matching them! What a great idea for a post and beautiful examples... I also liked how you included the table setting - dishes and table linens are also a fun way to have fun with a fresh mix!

Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} said...

Oh man, how I *LOVE* this post!!! Mixing patterns is pretty much the only way to go for me anymore and the examples there are BOMB. You definitely (and obviously) know what you are talking about in this subject! That BB&B story is totally hilarious...(c:

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

I love to mix patterns. I think it makes for a more engaging space. Love all of your examples, Stacy!

Fashion-isha said...

This is a very helpful post. Mixing patterns can be quite confusing especially since there is no science to it just a feeling. When you are visual you can figure it out but if you're not you can study some of those pictures and get some great ideas. Thanks!
xo
Sharon

Morgan @ PepperDesignBlog.com said...

Beautiful inspiration! I've saved a couple of these to my inspiration folder ;).

classic • casual • home said...

Fearless mixing. Fun post.

Decor & Harmony @ 4290 said...

Stacy, I have been a subscriber for a few months and this post about mixing patterns is by far my favorite post. I love the photos you have given me some great ideas. I'm a bit of a "pillow freak." Your newest follower!

M said...

I'd love to find out more about the third photo you included. Did a search for hiya papaya with no luck. LOVE that room, and am currently remodeling my first floor and the flooring in that room is pretty spectacular! Any clues to help my search? Thanks in advance. Love your blog.

Stacy Curran said...

M- I am sorry I cannot respond to you directly because your email is not attached to your comment. Anyway, the photo to which you are referring was originally posted by Erin at House of Turquoise, and I cited it back to there, but can't find any citing from where she got it. I would suggest contacting her directly for sourcing. Thanks!
Stacy

M said...

thank YOU!