Every Room Needs 3 Patterns

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Lack of pattern is one of the top 3 design mistakes that most of us make in decorating our homes. That’s usually because it can be a challenge to successfully blend patterns. The task becomes much simpler though, once you know a few design rules that you can follow to make it easier to create a great look.

Basically, you need to have 3 patterns in each room and you need to alternate the scale of those patterns.

The three patterns that you should have are:

A solid.

A geometric: Basically any pattern with circles, checks, plaids, diamonds, stripes, chevrons to name a few.

Geometric Pattern







An Organic: Organic means living, so patterns would include botanical designs such as flowers, leaves, trees, vines; seashells, fish or herringbone designs; pets, birds or animal prints, toile or pretty much anything that isn’t a solid or geometric.


A critical part of blending patterns is to  be sure that you alternate between large, medium and small scale patterns so that your patterns do not compete with one another. If there are too many large patterns, your eye does not know where to look, and nothing ends up standing out.

A good way to get started is if you have a print you really love. You can let it be your guide.  The more color in it, the easier time you will have incorporating other colors and patterns in your room.

If your print has 3 or 4 colors in it, then for your next print, look for a print that has a combination of 2 or 3 of the colors in your guide. Colors do not have to match exactly but should blend well.

Vary the style of the patterns. If you started with a floral then your next pattern could be a stripe, plaid or geometric. You can also still mix another floral in but select a  different types of floral, for example, a two toned floral with a mixed colored floral.

Jennifer Bishop of Jennifer Bishop Designs walks you through her process of blending fabrics. Different designers have different ways to approach choosing fabrics. Some like to use more solids; others use more pattern — or even a blend of the two. I love patterns, so I tend to shy away from solids and use textures in their place. I also like contrast, so I vary my fabric from light, to medium, to dark.

Here’s how I used my rules of thumb to come up with this pattern palette:
Blending Patterns1. My starting print. I started with the snake-chain pattern, then chose the big polka-dot pattern. Both are large-scale patterns, but there is still enough contrast between the patterns because the dot is dark, with a heavy texture, and the snake has a light linen texture and well as color.

2. Build the color palette. The snake-chain pattern has a very subtle caramel color in it. This gave me the ability to pull that color in using the diamond pattern and the crocodile. I really like mixing in some warmth whenever I use grays.

3. Vary the style. The crocodile pattern almost reads as a solid rather than pattern but its texture adds depth and interest. I originally tried this with a more uniform snakeskin pattern, but it just looked flat. The croc added more richness.

4. Vary the size of the pattern. The houndstooth I found last. This gave me a smaller pattern to mix in. I also liked it because it was a little unexpected and it had a nice range of grays. There were darker shades to pull in my polka dot and lighter to pull in my snake-chain pattern.

I also like to think in terms of shapes when choosing fabrics. I did use a lot of geometrics, but in this case they seem to work well. The snakes have a softer curve, the polka dot a more solid of a curve and then the diamond a very straight angle that acted more as a texture.

Source: Design Guide, Houzz

As always, we hope that you enjoy this post and find it helpful in restyling the place you live into the place you love!

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