Design Inspiration

How to Mix Patterns | Back to Basics Week #2

How to Mix Patterns | Formula for Mixing Prints Like a Boss | This is our Bliss |

Hello & happy Monday! I think I was still recovering from Labor Day weekend at my in-laws up until last Friday and then another weekend away at my parents’ house sure didn’t help cure my tired & unorganized self, but its ok! Its a new day and the start of a brand new week! Welcome to Week 2 of our September “Back to Basics”! Today I am going to break down my formula for how to mix prints in order to achieve the ultimate “pattern play” with you all. s sort of intimidating, right?I mean…

Does this go with this?

Can I put these together?!

How can I tell if this actually works??!

I’m going to simplify things for you with just a few quick tips!
How to mix patterns - mixing patterns - mix like a boss - back to basics - pattern play - This is our BlissI may not venture too far into the color spectrum when it comes to decorating, but I do love to mix and match patterns. I tend to gravitate more towards a neutral color palette – varying shades of black, white, gray, tan – you know, neutrals. I am totally gaga over gray right now, but black and white will always have my heart. In order to keep things interesting with such basic colors, I’ve had to get bold with the prints & patterns I use throughout our home.

Bold geometrics, subtle floral prints and classic animal print or polka dots are some of my favorites.

If you know me well, then you know pillows are like the window to my soul – I love them so! They are also one of the best styling accessories to introduce pattern into your own space. Once you’ve experimented mixing patterns with a few throw pillows, it’ll be easier to start working pattern into other areas – rugs, furniture, art or even wallpaper. These tend to be pricier purchases, so starting with pillows is the way to go! Once you’ve become comfortable with what types of prints you like together, get creative, go bold and then move on to bigger, more expensive things!

I’m going to break down the process behind choosing these 3 patterns to work together with 4 simple tips!

Guestroom revamp - pattern play pillows - floral - dalmation - hexago - This is our BlissThis is one of my favorite shots of how I used pattern on our guestroom bed. The back print is the headboard, but we can just pretend it is another pillow! This image is a popular one, so I thought it would work well here today as an example. Why reinvent the wheel, right?!

Here we go!

Tip 1 | Match colors, not prints.
how to mix patterns - mixing patterns - tip 1 - match colors, not prints - multi color + 2 accent colors - This is our Bliss
I started with the floral print and built from there. It was the fabric I reupholstered my cane chair with and wanted a splash of it on the bed, too.

Here is the formula I used: 1 multi-color + 2 accent colors from the multi-color

The floral print acts as the “multi-color” and then I selected my accent color 1 as golden yellow and accent color 2 as black.

Next, I’ll tell you how I came up with the pattern choices.

Tip 2 | Vary the size & scale
how to mix patterns - tip 2 - vary the size & scale - small, medium large - This is our Bliss
Sticking with the guest bed example… The floral print is a medium print, so I knew I needed to add in a large print (yellow hexagon) and a small print (black & ivory Dalmatian) in order to create some variation.

Tip 3 | Similar & Opposite
How to mix patterns - mixing patterns - tip 3 - similar and opposite - geometric vs floral - This is our Bliss
2 similar prints + 1 opposite

Use two prints from the same pattern family and then one that is from another. For example, 2 geometric prints (hexagon & circular) and 1 opposite (floral), make up a nice combination. The hexagon and animal print have a very symmetric, predictable pattern, where as the floral pattern is free-flowing and multi-dimensional.

Tip 4 | Be brave & go bold (aka don’t follow too many rules!)
how to mix patterns - mixing patterns - back to basics - tip 4 - be brave, go bold and don't follow too many rules - this is our bliss
People typically notice and compliment more often when I mix & match to the extreme versus play it safe. If I’m drawn to a print, I will pair it with another print I am drawn to, while still trying to apply any one of my trusty tips. Again, if you are playing around with pillows, you hopefully don’t have too much invested in the game, so just go for it! If you try something out and don’t like it, return the pillows or stash them away until you find a new home for it 😉 I’m become a professional at pillow hoarding collecting. My…ahem…collection is quite extensive, but I like to switch them around and even try mixing different patterns and colors as the seasons change or as a holiday approaches.

For fun, here is another example!:
how to mix patterns - this is our blissAgain, the multi color has both blue & black, so I chose those colors. Then I decided to go with a large, classic stripe in the blue and then use a small polka dot print as the small. As before, there are 2 geometric prints and one floral. Easy enough, right?!

There are literally a gazillion different pattern combinations one could come up with, so I believe there are definitely lots of right ways to do it! I hope this made sense and was a helpful guide for you!

Try it for yourself and don’t forget tip #4, have fun with it! It doesn’t have to be a permanent decision 😉
How to mix patterns - mixing patterns - mix like a boss - back to basics - pattern play - This is our BlissHow comfortable are you mixing patterns? Do you feel like a boss yet?!

You can go here for my Back to Basics week 1 post where I share my Nightstand styling tips!

Don’t forget to swing by the other fabulous Back to Basics stops and pick up a few more tips today!

11 Magnolia Lane
Being Bianca
House by Hoff
The Heathered Nest
Southern State of Mind
This is our Bliss

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Love the look? Shop My Nightstand! [Sources + Free Printable]
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  • beingbianca
    September 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    Yep … so smart! Pinning to remember these tips!

  • Christy @ 11 Magnolia Lane
    September 14, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    Sweet! I love your pattern play–thanks for sharing how you make it work so well!

    • Rachael @ This is our Bliss
      September 14, 2015 at 7:35 PM

      Thanks, Christy! I don’t exactly have it nailed down to a science, but I tried to give a few helpful pointers on what works for me!

  • Amy
    September 14, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Great tips Rachael. I always have trouble combining patterns.

    • Rachael @ This is our Bliss
      September 14, 2015 at 7:33 PM

      Thanks, Amy! Hopefully you won’t have as much trouble now 😉 thank you for stopping by!! xo

  • September Four
    September 14, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Really great tips. No lie, mixing patterns gives me gives but you made it so simple! Definitely one to pin and refer to when I’m pillow shopping!

    • Rachael @ This is our Bliss
      September 14, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      Thank you!! It comes down to using what you like & not being afraid to experiment! Hopefully I was able to help a bit!! 🙂