Five Ways to Mix Patterns

By Kate Riley April 3, 2013

Hello everyone, I’m so happy to welcome back contributing writer Michelle from Ten June today to offer some tips on a hot topic in interior design: how to mix patterns. Each designer has their way of bringing a space to life with the use of mixed patterns and if you study them carefully, there are always tips to glean from great design. Today Michelle is back to share five helpful ways to mix patterns. 

“Hello, hello! It’s great to be back here writing at Centsational Girl. After taking some time off to have my first little one, I’m ready to dive back into discussing the world of interior design. And where better to start than one of designs most puzzling concepts: mixing patterns. 

First off, bravo to you if you are already a whiz at pattern mixing! It’s one of those skills that I marvel at, kind of like when someone can do long division in their head or remember the capital city in every state. For me, the concept of mixing patterns in interior design is tough and is something I strive to learn more about as I play with patterns in my own home.

Today, though, I’ve done my homework and am excited to share with you a few tried and true methods to mixing different patterns in interior design. Think of it as sort of a “Pattern Mixing For Dummies” approach if you will. Without further ado, here are five approaches to effectively mixing patterns in design.

five ways to mix patterns


1. Start with Solids. If you ever feel overwhelmed with the patterns you are trying to piece together, simply start with a solid foundation and mix in a few more solid pillows to help break up the patterns.  It’s an easy way to get polka dots, florals, and graphic or exotic prints to work together when the backdrop is a solid, or you’ve separated the patterns with solid color fabrics.  

living room oh happy day

Oh Happy Day


pottery barn pattern mix

Pottery Barn



Amber Interior Design

    mixed pillows bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


2. Mix small scale and large scale prints.  Every once in a while, I see a room filled with mixed patterns and and I notice there are too many graphic prints competing with one another. One way to avoid this dilemma is to mix smaller scale patterns with bolder patterns in a similar palette, such as big botanicals or medallion prints paired with a smaller trellis. By using different scales, the varying patterns work together and not against each other.

pattern mix

The Lettered Cottage


blue and white patterns house and home

House & Home



Little Green Notebook


living room house beautiful

House Beautiful

 southern living bedroom

Southern Living


3. Stick with One Color. By simply using one color or shades of one color, you can easily compose a palette of multiple patterns that work together in a space. Stripes, damask, suzani, floral and graphic prints all work together seamlessly because they’re made up of the same color schemes.


Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper


complementary patterns house beautiful

House Beautiful


blue and white pattern mix

Country Living


black and white pattern marmaladeinteriors

Marmalade Interiors

  pattern mix in bedroom bhg

 Better Homes & Gardens


4. Keep the styles of patterns similar.  This approach dictates that you mix classic patterns only with other classic patterns and trendy patterns only with other trendy patterns. Damask and toile are traditional motifs and not always suited for mixing with with chevron or large graphic shapes. By keeping the types of pattern similar in style, the medley will be more cohesive.


Adore Magazine


toile house beautiful

House Beautiful


pattern mix style at home

Style at Home


traditional fabric and wallpaper

source unknown


global fabrics

source unknown


5. Throw all of the rules out the door.  This method to pattern mixing is the most fun approach, but it takes a good eye! Sometimes, you’ve got to break the rules and simply do your own thing. If it looks good and you love it, do it!

jamie meares bedroom

iSuwannee on Flickr


bold floral patterns

source unknown


On To Baby



Linda Bergroth



Style At Home


So there you have it, five approaches to mixing patterns!  Don’t forget, mixing patterns is also a really big trend in fashion right now, so many of these rules can apply to both interiors and clothing.” 

Thanks so much Michelle, congrats on the little one, it’s so nice to have you back talking about great design!  You can follow Michelle’s adventures at her blog Ten June.

What other advice can you share for mixing patterns in the home?



  1. Great post & round up ! I definitely agree that when it comes to patterns, anything goes. No rules apply if it looks good to the person who has to live with it! :)

  2. Love this post! Thanks for helping to de-mystify the art of mixing patterns well. It’s also the area of design that I feel the least brave about, so a little theory goes a long way! ~Kerri

  3. I love pattern! A room without a mix of colors and patterns just bores me to death! Great collection of rooms in this post—-Cindy

  4. These all look great!
    I feel like ig I tried to do this on my own it would not look this pulled togther. :)

  5. This is so timely! I was just thinking about pattern mixing and then this popped up. I love that you focused on 5 different ways. Great post.

  6. So much good information! Thanks Michelle! And watching for updates to your new home!

  7. Tip 5 is my favourite. I’m definitely a no-rules kinda gal. For me interior design is about how a room makes you feel, and I’m always feeling the eclectic look ;). Love all of the inspiration here though, patterns of any kind make me very happy.

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