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Perhaps one of the trickiest parts in interior design is the mixing and matching of patterns. While this can be a fun task for someone who loves playing with patterns, for many others it leaves them overwhelmed or confused.

Working With Patterns Like a Pro

Patterns really do contribute to the dynamics in the room, no matter if it is a living room, bedroom or bathroom. They add color and interest while providing a custom look. However, they are one of the trickiest parts that require a keen eye for style and proportion. We know there are infinite styles of patterns, but fortunately, there are few general guidelines that are useful for making a successful mix&match combo.

interior design patterns tips

Set the ”Base” Fabrics and Color

Begin with a preferred color scheme and theme. For example: grey colors with a seaside vibe theme.  A moodboard is always a good idea to begin with and from there search for patterns that match those preferences. Choose the ”base“: a dominant color for the walls or flooring, and a dominant pattern that will be noticeable right away – it could be a carpet, curtains, or sofa upholstery. A solid color as a base will ”set” the room and be the foundation upon which the patterns will lay.

Next, the secondary colors and patterns

These are colors and patterns that will be used in smaller proportions, on smaller surfaces. These could be shades of the base color or colors that complement the base one. For example, for the above mentioned theme ‘seaside vibes’ the base color grey could be pulled together well with a white, teal blue, or marine blue. Apply the same method with choosing secondary patterns that will add up well with the primary pattern.

mixing patterns in inteior

There is a Limit though

There are no written rules for patterns, but there are few strong suggestions, and one of them is to limit the number of patterns to up to five in a room. Also, the other suggestion for mixing multiple patterns is that the odd number of patterns works better for the eye than an even number of patterns. These can be applied to lamps, cushions, vases, smaller rugs, etc.


Proportion is very important in mixing patterns and it can often become a mishap in decorating the interior. The general rule is to apply large-scale patterns on larger surfaces, and vice versa. As with many things in life, balance is key. Usually, the golden rule is to have one large-scale pattern, one middle-scale, and one small-scale pattern applied.

patterns in interior design

Have Fun and See What Works Best

Patterns are to be played with, not to make you more stressful. After all, patterns are not set in stone. If, after a while, you see that some detail won’t work for you in a room, there is always a way to change them or switch them for something else. Refinement is a constant process – and we as designers are certainly aware of that.

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