Experts share their tips on how to mix and match patterns gallery

Colour has been used to unite the patterned Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis wallpaper in this space – the touches of ...
JANE USSHER

Colour has been used to unite the patterned Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis wallpaper in this space – the touches of green in the kitchen cabinetry and sofas coordinate the look.

For some, mixing patterns is effortless. Stripes, florals and polka dots somehow easily combine into a stylish interior infused with personality.

But for others, things can go frighteningly wrong. Clashing colours and jarring patterns create visual chaos from which you may want to run and hide.

However, with these tips and tricks you won't have to doubt your mixing skills any longer.

Let the eye rest: vivid patterned armchairs sit well against a calm white wall.
SUPPLIED

Let the eye rest: vivid patterned armchairs sit well against a calm white wall.

PATTERN MAKES PERFECT

Patterns add personality and interest to any space, says Hawke's Bay interior designer Jodie Robertson.

"They can enhance a small space by bringing the focus through to a feature wall, or attract your eye to an occasional chair. They create a talking point."

READ MORE:
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They also have the ability to change a room. A patterned wall in a small area can expand a space, stripes can change its shape, and florals add a soft touch.

Burnt orange in the cot and shelf draw out the colours in the geometric Bien Fait Mosaic Classic wallpaper in this ...
JANE USSHER

Burnt orange in the cot and shelf draw out the colours in the geometric Bien Fait Mosaic Classic wallpaper in this child’s bedroom.

They can distract you from imperfections or focus your gaze, so that you don't feel lost in a sea of white. But where do you start?

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COORDINATE WITH COLOUR

Colour is a key to cohesiveness. Bibby and Brady interior designer and blogger Victoria Bibby says to first pick a colour palette.

Using three patterns in three scales is an effective technique.
SUPPLIED and JANE USSHER

Using three patterns in three scales is an effective technique.

Three is a good number of colours to have in your palette, but you can include deeper and lighter tones of those colours and throw in some neutrals.

"Start by choosing your boldest pattern that features all of the colours in your palette and use this as your anchor. Then add a couple of other patterns that feature one or two of the colours," Victoria says. 

START SMALL

A tightly coordinated colour scheme pulls the patterns together in this bedroom.
CATHERINE GRATWICKE

A tightly coordinated colour scheme pulls the patterns together in this bedroom.

If going all out in one room is a little daunting, incorporate patterns into removable items.

Jodie Robertson suggests items such as cushions, throws and artwork.

"These can be updated easily and are more cost-effective than replacing curtains, which I like to keep neutral," she says.  

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Bonfire Table Lamp Base in Bamboo
Bonfire Table Lamp Base in Bamboo
$64.99

COUNTERBALANCE

The more patterns you mix into a space, the more you need to consider visual relief. Counter bold patterns with solid colour or neutrals.

"It helps to soften and ground the look," Victoria Bibby says. 

Soothing blues and greens unite several patterns in this room.
JANE USSHER

Soothing blues and greens unite several patterns in this room.

SIZE MATTERS

Using odd numbers of varying sized patterns will help blend them together.

"When you start experimenting with mixing patterns, try three different patterns in three different scales," Victoria suggests. "For example, a large floral or organic pattern with a medium-size geometric and a tiny classic pattern like polka dots or gingham." 

A consistent colour palette unites a host of patterns in this room.
SUPPLIED

A consistent colour palette unites a host of patterns in this room.

FEEL-GOOD FACTOR

Also try to vary the texture of the fabrics you choose. Using too much of one material can make a room feel flat.

"Patterns are of as much importance as textures, as they complement and enhance one another," Jodie Robertson says. 

In this room, patterned fabrics are counterbalanced by large blocks of neutrals.
SUPPLIED

In this room, patterned fabrics are counterbalanced by large blocks of neutrals.

Shop for your home
Vintage cushion cover in green
Vintage cushion cover in green
$145
Stripes and florals effortlessly combine as the red and blue link the two; the scale of the patterns has also been ...
SUPPLIED and JANE USSHER

Stripes and florals effortlessly combine as the red and blue link the two; the scale of the patterns has also been considered, with a mix of smaller and larger stripes in the cushions and chairs, and a large floral rug with a smaller floral print for the seating squab.

Being adventurous with patterns has paid off in this bedroom with fearlessly bright florals working well with the large ...
SUPPLIED

Being adventurous with patterns has paid off in this bedroom with fearlessly bright florals working well with the large geometric print rug – red, yellow and fuchsia unite the two patterned extremes.

 - NZ House & Garden

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