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I was recently asked to share some insight on how to mix and match different patterns and colors in your home. This is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about recently, because – while standing in a very slow line at the fabric store this past weekend – I had a really nice conversation with the lady behind me, who just happened to be struggling with this exact “patterns” issue on her quest to redecorate the family room.



While I don’t claim to have any formal interior design training (full disclosure!), I can definitely call on my graphic design background and experience styling event spaces to share some easy color and pattern pairing techniques. The overarching principles of designing a stylish everyday space are actually very similar to those of a well thought out party or event space. You want to make sure the entire color palette is carried consistently throughout the space, and that patterns are introduced in different ways that make the space look interesting and fun, but not overwhelming to the eye (although I’ll admit you can take a few more liberties at a temporary event than you can in your everyday living room!). You can definitely use a few different types of patterns as well – as long as the colors and styles of the patterns coordinate well. Variety is one of the things that keeps a space design interesting!

Here are the 4 simple rules I personally use when it comes to working with color and pattern:


1. Start with a few inspirational pieces.
This step is so incredibly important, and I’ve found that – at least in my personal experience – inspirational pieces are most often things like textiles or accent decor (pillows, artwork, vases, etc). I’m using the above accent pillows (Printed Flower and Yellow Geometric) and Zig Zag Chair from Target as my “inspiration” for the purposes of this example. It’s best to keep your inspirational pieces minimal, to somewhere between 1-4 items.



2. Get specific with your color palette.
Picking a color palette itself goes without saying, but another important thing is to determine which colors in your inspirational piece(s) are going to have the most “weight” in your space. If your inspiration has several colors, as textiles often do, you should still decide which are your key colors and which are secondary accent colors, and make sure to determine which type of neutral (warm or cool) they’ll go with if one isn’t already included in the palette. In this example, I’ve got a deep teal blue as the main color, bright yellow as the secondary, and a softer blue as the third. All of these colors can be found in my design inspiration. My neutrals are cool grays and white as the foundation of the room.



3. Introduce patterns in small doses.
When it comes to large spaces like a room in your home “small doses” can even apply to items like accent chairs, bed spreads, curtains, etc – so just make sure to go for a good balance and not overdo the amount of patterned items. Solids should still make up the majority of a space. Save the really busy or bold patterns for things like accent pillows, vases, wall decor or just 1 or 2 great accent chairs, like this Turquoise Zig Zag beauty.

When using patterns on a larger items like window treatments, opt for designs that are little more tame and will fall into the background easier – like the subtle but stylish pattern of these Jacquard Ikat Window Panels by Threshhold™.


teal and yellow mood board - living room

4. Group and “bookend” colors and patterns throughout the space.
Display small groupings of colored vases on a wood shelf or bookend a solid neutral couch with patterned accent pillows or table lamps. I love creating some “pattern consistency” by having small doses of a pattern pop up in more than one type of item, which is also a nice way to “bookend” the pattern. For example – display an accent pillow and lamp shade with coordinating patterns in the same room, as shown the example above.


Hope you find these tips helpful for any spring decorating projects you might be planning at home! I’m hoping to finally make some much needed and long overdue decor changes in my own home soon too… bet you can guess the color palette I’m crushing on! ;)

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.