How to Mix Patterns for Interesting Interiors


Designer Mario Buatta was known for decades as The Prince of Chintz and expertly combined numerous patterns in his rooms with very successful results.  Many people are very hesitant to take such bold steps unaided and resort to rooms filled with solid colors.  Many furniture stores and fabric suppliers have addressed this through offering coordinates that are pre-mixed for you making it easy to buy a packaged look.  Some people just like to look at the catalog from major stores with professionally designed rooms and just order from the page. If you are looking for a more personalized expression of you in your space, there is both a knack and a system for effectively layering patterns for a more unique look.

For the beginner it’s best to start with 3 patterns.  The scale (size of the patterns) should be varied at large, medium and small.  Your largest pattern will set the tone and be the inspiration for your mix. It can be a floral, Ikat, paisley or wide stripe. Your other patterns should always work with the colors within that large print.  Be aware that the fabrics should have a similar design style. For example you would not want to pair a contemporary print with a country calico because the design styles are not compatible. Your 2 remaining prints can be floral, organic or geometric as long as you remember to unify them with color.  Always consider the background color when mixing (for example white vs off white) and keep color intensities uniform. Textures and solids can be added to create more interest and be sure to consider other large non-fabric patterns in your room. For example, an Oriental Style area rug makes a big statement and can be a large item in your space.

Once you have chosen your patterns it is important to walk the pattern around the room to create balance in your space.   The example of mixed patterns below was created for a Living Room. The sofa was covered in the rich brown suede with 2 chairs in the small scale navy geometric print. Large pillows took advantage of the multicolored linen print and drapes in the vertical stripe added height to the room.  

If you would like any other information about this or any other design areas please contact me at or call the office at 732 270-4546.

Liz Balogh   Chrysaliz Design,LLC