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  • Lisa Christie

The art of pattern mixing


Patterns can express character and style and can be the real differentiator in a space, particularly if well-chosen and curated. They add visual interest… and work best when combined with larger neutral elements. To master it, follow these tips.

Combine with Care

The use of mixed patterns in a room adds layers of depth, interest, and detail to a scheme. The result is a premium, luxe feel with an eclectic undertone. When using multiple patterns, it is crucial to consider both the texture and scale of a print. Successful combinations often involve a varied, textured palette. When mixing patterns, different scales, such as speckled prints combined with bold, oversized chevrons and stripes in neutral shades, are key to creating a look that works.

Using a palette of colours in different prints brings a sense of continuity between contrasting patterns and textures, while adding to the layering and depth of a room.

Adding neutrals helps to break up the look, preventing a room from feeling too heavy. Incorporated neutrals like creams and taupe are pause points in the midst of a bolder scheme. Light And dark neutrals will both do the same in providing visual relief to the pattern mixes.

Don’t be afraid to use pattern - it's an important tool!

It's common for my clients to feel a little reluctant to use a mixture of patterns when decorating and furnishing residential spaces. I realise it can be quite scary! When you get your head around the theory of pattern mixing, it's a lot less scary...

I typically try to incorporate prints and patterns when it comes to any interior design project that I'm working on because pattern and texture adds an element of character and originality. They also add visual intrigue and depth to a space.

I keep my designs modern and tailored through the subtle layering of prints. I usually like to place patterns on smaller items such as accent cushions on a bench and/or small lounge chair. For larger surfaces, like walls and sofas, we use solid-coloured fabrics or coverings that have interesting texture.

There is much interest in boutique style hotels where each room is different and the rooms have a lively level of character combining modern and traditional pieces and various patterns to create beautiful eclectic spaces.

Be Thoughtful About Your Patterns

Mixed patterns create design depth and make for elegant details, creating richness and luxury. Patterns are distinct to each and every design and are extremely individualistic in nature. They can be anywhere in a room - on the walls, ceilings, floors, drapery, pillows, cushions, and light fixtures. The scale can be large in a small space and small in a large space. The contradiction of scale creates a unique and impactful design, allowing the feature space—or feature walls or ceilings—to really stand out and be acknowledged.Colour allows for cohesion, and pattern allows for the relationship of that cohesion. Repetition is not necessary. One pattern does not need to be dominant.

Think About Placement

If you’re going to use mixed patterns, the best way to do this is via accessories, textiles, and smaller pieces of furniture as I said before. It’s much easier to change a cushion or two than a more major piece of furniture or a wall covering, so you can be much more adventurous at this scale. Try choosing which pattern you want to sing most loudly in the scheme and make the others more subdued or calming. If that pattern is small-scale, make the others large-scale and vice versa.

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Visual Edge is your colour consultant for Dulux, Inspirations Paint & Colour & Bunnings Warehouse  in the Mid North Coast region.

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