How to Mix-and-Match Patterns

Shea walks us through incorporating pattern into a room, no matter what look you’re going for.

07 February 2023 -

We’re currently heading into a more traditional place with design, meaning we’ll see more pattern play, pattern on pattern, and intricate motifs. From the textures of natural, living materials to printed fabrics, pattern brings movement and expression to any space.

When thinking about how to incorporate patterns into your space, it’s important to consider the entire room as a whole. Inside the room, you have a floor, walls, a ceiling, and all the items within them. Do you have an intricate tile motif in your bathroom? How will that pair with the wallpaper or texture of your shower curtain? In a living room or bedroom, consider all of the textiles involved, the material of the furniture, and the wallpaper or wall decor. How this pattern will interact with the other elements of the room is the most important question to ask yourself.

While mixing multiple patterns in one space can seem intimidating, understanding the basics of how a variety of shapes and scales and color palettes work together simplifies the process. Here, a few tips and tricks to mixing patterns in design.

No. 01 | Fundamentals

No. 02 | Texture

No. 03 | Wallpaper

No. 04 | Where to Start

“At Studio McGee, we love to keep the staple pieces subtle and timeless, and incorporate seasonal and trending patterns and colors through pillows, textiles, and rugs.”

- Shea McGee

patterned throw pillows on velvet sofa
textured gauze quilt
pattered rug layered on natural jute rug

No. 01 | Fundamentals

When incorporating patterns into a room, we like to follow a few guidelines. First, pay attention to both the scale and the type of pattern. If using a bold, large-scale pattern, work in smaller-scale patterns and some solid tones, as well. If you choose a large floral pattern, you can complement it with stripes elsewhere. Mixing patterns can help you achieve either a refined and traditional look or a collected, eclectic feel. Simply put, make sure there is variety in the patterns you are choosing to layer, while maintaining a unified color palette. This will avoid a crowded, unbalanced, or confusing feel to a space.

pattered lounge chair
patterned rug
patterned rugs in living room and dining room

No. 02 | Texture

A textural material, even if one color tone, can also be considered a pattern when designing a space. Especially in rooms with a refined look, the pattern layering becomes more about the textured solid fabrics or natural materials in furniture – think a boucle lounge chair or a travertine side table. Textures can serve as a more subtle version of a pattern, as well, lending a backdrop to intricate or bold motifs within the entire look, from traditional to eclectic.

textured settee
bed with textured pillows
textured chair

No. 03 | Wallpaper

If you are considering incorporating pattern on a wall, this is one of the places we believe you can really go for it with bold and large-scale designs. When we choose a patterned wallpaper, it helps the space achieve an eclectic look with lots of mixing going on. The rest of the materials in the space can act as subtle complements to this bold pattern. Think about the materials in lighting fixtures and furniture and consider more subtle textile choices. If, instead, you choose a more neutral or simple wallpaper, then you can mix in extra layers of pattern through textiles and still achieve the same eclectic look.

“When we choose a plaid or linear wallpaper, we stay away from linear textiles, and instead, choose to layer in organic patterns and textures.”

- Shea McGee 

nursery with patterned wallpaper
office with patterned wallpaper
bathroom with patterned wallpaper

No. 04| Where to Start

Pattern choices and combinations allow for personalization. They allow you to achieve a number of distinct looks, depending on how you choose to go about it.

Where should you start? We love starting with one piece that we’re passionate about—a floral pillow, textured coffee table, or bold wallpaper—and building the look of the room around it through complementary pattern choices. Whether choosing pattern on a large scale, like starting with wallpaper, or simply mixing and matching pillows on a solid upholstered sofa, following these tips and tricks will get you going in the right direction.

patterned rug and pillows
patterned pillows on white sofa
patterned pillows on settee
Date Posted
07 February 2023