The Fine Prints: 5 Rules for Mixing Patterns in Your Home

Mixing patterns in your interior design plans is easier (and more acceptable) than you might think. It takes a small amount of bravery and a touch of imagination, but by following these few basic rules you’ll be mixing different patterns and prints like a total pro.

How to Mix Patterns:

    • The Rule of Three – As a general rule we would always suggest you limit the number of patterns you use in one room to three or less. Three patterns can work perfectly together in the right ratios, and a great rule to follow is the 60/30/10 rule. Use 60% of your favourite pattern, 30% of your second favourite and just 10% of the supporting third pattern to keep things working in harmony.
    • Vary the Scales – Alongside the rule of three, you should use a variety of pattern scales to give the room depth. For example you could use a big, bold floral pattern as your main style, with a medium geometric print and a narrow stripe to accompany it. Stick to the 60/30/10 rule for your scales as well as your patterns.
    • Intersperse with Solids – Having a room made up of pure patterns would be a little overwhelming on the eye. Use solid, harmonising colours as supporting roles on key elements such as floors and sofas to break up the patterns and prevent the room from looking chaotic.
    • Use Similar Hues and Intensities – Mixing different patterns tends to work better if you’re using colours of similar hues and intensities. For example, using two tones of blue will look great, but don’t be tempted to mix vivid jewel tones with softer pastel tones as this doesn’t work as effectively.
    • Distribute Evenly – Don’t cramp all your patterns into one area of the room or you’ll be left with a very unbalanced look. Spread them out as much as you can to keep the room feeling even and sophisticated.
  • Don’t Overload or Overmatch – If you’re a big lover of patterns it can be easy to get carried away and cover your entire room with patterns. Do your best to reign in your creativity and use patterns more sparingly to avoid a visual headache. And don’t be tempted to overmatch your colours and prints for every element of your room, or you’ll end up with a very intense-looking environment indeed.

Our Favourite Patterns

Now you’ve got some basic rules to work with, here are a few of the best patterns you can introduce into your interiors:

Geometric/Abstract

Geometric patterns are a rising trend in interior design, bringing a soft yet contemporary look to any room. A bold geometric pattern used on a feature wall, staircase or floor is the perfect base or backdrop upon which to layer up solid-coloured furniture and decor for a truly vibrant space. Geometrics should be used sparingly, so choose which room element you want them to be on and use solid colours of the same hues and colours for the rest of the space.

Tartan

Tartan and checked patterns add classic, country-style elements to any room in your house, and are available in a huge range of colours and styles. Tartan is great for use on soft furnishings from rugs, carpet runners and curtains to cushions and upholstery. Tartan and plaid patterns can work nicely with florals or stripes if you want to mix up your patterns, but don’t pair big bold stripes with bold tartan patterns or it’ll look overbearing.

Stripes

You can’t go too far wrong when decorating with stripes, as this classic, evergreen pattern will never go out of fashion. The best thing about stripes is that you don’t even need to mix them with other patterns; you can easily mix and match different stripe line widths to create depth and variety, and you have lots of fun playing with colours too. Different stripe styles can achieve different effects, from fun and informal to classic and smart, but remember to pay attention to the stripe direction. Use vertical stripes in rooms with lower ceiling heights to create the illusion of more height, and use horizontal stripes in narrow rooms to give the illusion of greater width.

Animal Print

Animal prints are bold choices for interior decor and can look elegant and classy when used correctly. Don’t be tempted to plaster them all over the walls, or you’ll end up with one heck of a dark (and rather tacky-looking) room. Instead, use accents like animal print carpet runners, rugs, cushions and wall art to give that perfect pop of wilderness chic without overwhelming the room. Mixing prints? Stay bold and contemporary with other graphic prints like polka dots or checks, but be more careful when using classic prints like florals as these can clash stylistically in some cases.

Floral

Floral patterns are great for creating a romantic or country aesthetic in your home, and are commonly applied to walls and upholstery as well as rugs, carpets and carpet runners. If you’re looking to mix up your patters, florals work especially well when paired up with stripes, but can also work well with checks and polka dots so long as you use the same colour or hue. A floral carpet runner is great for adding a splash of colour to hallways without being too overpowering or full-on.

When it comes to decorating with patterns we’ve got plenty of inspiration to help you add the finishing touches. Carpet runners and stair runners are the perfect vehicles for carrying off both bold and understated designs, bringing just the right amount of pattern and style to your hallways and staircases. Shop by style here in our patterned carpet runners collection and – now that you know the rules – start mixing and matching your favourites with our corresponding patterned stair runners range.

Have fun!

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