Tag Archives: pattern mixing

Playing with Pattern

While I fully believe that rules are meant to be broken (I mean did they really expect me not to go into that pyramid in Chichen-Itza?), when you are learning a new technique, such as mixing patterns, it helps to follow some basic rules. While many well known designers have earned the right to break design rules, I am a novice and find them helpful.

There are four classic combinations of pattern matching which I will draw attention to and exemplify through pictures. Please note that the pattern matches I show are based on the colour as I see it on the computer screen. It is very important to see samples of the fabric in person before purchasing as the colours as shown on-line can be deceiving and colour matching is very important for a cohesive design look. Many fabric companies sell differently patterned fabrics with coordinating colours which makes pattern matching much easier.

Another  important element of pattern matching is mixing the scale of the patterns. A room with all large scale patterns would be chaotic looking. It is good to have a mix of large, medium and small scale patterns. It is okay to have more than one of each scale but if you are worried about making errors keeping it to one of each will help keep you on track (in the pictures below I have noted what scale the pattern is because each picture of the fabric is taken from different distances so unless you look at the scale at the bottom of the picture it is difficult to tell the size. Some look quite large in scale but are actually just a picture taken from very close up and vice versa.) 

Without further ado…

Geometric plus floral:



Due to the flowing lines of this ikat it could be considered a floral

Due to the flowing lines of this ikat it could be considered within the category of “floral”.

dwell studio mazascene taupe geometric

medium geometric

Dwell studio vintage blossom azure

large floral

Two similar patterns of different scale (eg. a medium scale and a large scale floral or a large scale plaid and a small scale plaid). The four fabrics below could also be used all together for a complex pattern mix.

Richloom whipporwill blue have, fabric.com

medium floral

large floral

large floral

large plaid

large geometric

small geometric

small geometric

     Same pattern/ different colours:

cheveronpurpleyellow zig zags

Complex Pattern mix:

Three different scale florals plus one geometric:

premier prints graffiti drew berries

small floral

preimier prints rosa drew berries

medium floral print

preimier prints hippie chic

large floral print

very small geometric

very small geometric

Two different scale florals and two different scale geometrics.

thomas paul dahlia aegean

Large floral

robert allen multiop slub pool

large geometric

robert allen mod lay out slub

medium geometric

robert allen luxury floral pool

medium floral

While all the pattern samples shown above are fabric samples, pattern can also come from other aspects of the room like wallpaper and rugs. A general suggestion for larger surfaces like these is to use larger scale patterns so that it doesn’t look too busy.

I personally have commitment issues when it comes to colour and pattern in my main living spaces and if you are like me an easy and less expensive way to start your exploration in pattern matching is throw pillows.

I hope that this little tutorial is helpful for you. Please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] if you have any questions. I purposefully only showed pictures of the patterns because I thought it might make things clearer. If you google search pattern mixing you will get a wealth of pictures with beautiful pattern mixes. Happy pattern mixing!


Filed under Decorating Basics

I love my couch

Okay. I love Jesus. But I really really like my couch.

My couch with home-made pillows

My couch with home-made pillows

I have started trying to make decisions more carefully in terms of buying furniture over the past year or two. When my husband and I were starting out as a newly married couple all our extra money went into paying off student loans and our whole basement suite was a la Ikea. I’m not hating on Ikea–just note the Ikea rug in the picture of my couch–but the quality is only just so.

We lived with a rather frumpy couch, which was graciously donated to us, for the first three years of our marriage. Once I started taking decorating classes I knew that the first big purchase I wanted to make to change the look of our home was a new couch. I looked for months. I wanted to be able to choose the style and the fabric and to make custom changes if desired. I also wanted the quality and look to stand the test of time (and cats).

I love looking in antique shops and whilst rambling along Main Street in Vancouver I came across a store named Novo Furniture. Not only do they offer a large selection of customizable couches and other living room furniture, but their furniture is locally made and their prices beat similar stores like Sofa So Good. Some furniture stores can tend to be uppity and unfriendly towards people with strollers and children but the owner, David, was delightful and welcomed our family, toddler and all, warmly to his store. They had a great selection of stylish and moderately priced couches (worth saving up for) and hundreds of fabric samples to choose from.

It was great from a decorating perspective to be able to bring the fabric samples home and see how they looked throughout the day in different light. I love the clean classic lines of this couch and, as someone who likes throw pillows galore, the straight unfussy back. I had a great deal of fun scouring around fabric stores looking for the perfect fabrics to make pillows out of and the resulting happy and colourful throw cushions add to the warm fuzzies I feel towards my couch. It was a great way of putting into practice the pattern mixing skills I had recently learned in my Fabrics class (a post on Pattern Matching to come soon).

The couch is still going strong after over a year and much abuse. I would definitely shop there again, not that I’ll be needing a new couch any time soon. However, here are some other fantastic pieces of furniture they sell:

Milo End Table

HGVF130Baxter Rectangle


Filed under At home