Mixing Patterns

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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