mixing patterns

How To Mix And Match Textile Patterns

Patterned textiles are making their return in a big way. We’ve seen the same creamy linens, velvet pinks, and worn-in black cotton over and over again. Don’t get us wrong, we’re big fans of all textiles, but it’s fun to see whose stepping outside the box and setting the trend toward something new. In 2022, designers are mixing patterns, and it’s a welcome change! 

We weren’t expecting so many large-scale prints and saturated colors, making 2022 an exciting time in the design world. Textiles have been trending in the commercial design world for a few years, and we’re happy to see it make its way into residential interiors.

The Art Of Mixing Patterns

Pattern is fun on its own, but what’s even better is bringing multiple patterns together to create something new! Our eyes have been craving this kind of contrast. It doesn’t matter if you’re into modern interiors or traditional, pattern is the key to staying fresh and new in 2022. 

So, where on earth do you even begin? Mixing patterns can be a bit tricky at first. We like to pull together samples and plan out how to layer the different textiles in an exciting and not overwhelming way. 

How does one define interesting vs. overwhelming?

Interesting: Mixing pattern with various scales in similar/complementary colors. 

Overwhelming: Mixing pattern all with the same scale in a rainbow of color.

Personal preference always plays a role in this. Maybe you’re someone who prefers only to use large-scale patterns – no problem! It’s important to consider what makes you happiest while also thinking about the overall design. So why would someone avoid using too much of one pattern type or too many colors on top of it? 

The human eye absorbs information better when it can rest. This information break can occur when looking at a blank wall or switching between two contrasting items such as a large scale and small scale print. 

In other words, seeing this variety is comforting to the human senses making the environment much more enjoyable. A sea of one-size patterns can begin to feel like a funhouse at a carnival, leaving you feeling dizzy or nauseous, seriously!

So how can we successfully bring multiple patterns together that are not just easy on the eye but also visually beautiful? 

Let’s break it down into these categories:

  • Scale – The variation between pattern sizes. 
  • Color – Colors that work well when combined. 
  • Layer – How to combine scale and color in a way that is pleasing to the eye. 

Scale 

When it comes to design, size matters. No matter how hard we try, you can’t fit a 12’ sofa in a 10’ room. Scale is probably the most overlooked design element but can make the most significant visual impact. Many people use scale to create drama or tell a story. With pattern and textiles, we use them to develop an aesthetic that matches the owner’s taste.

Do you find yourself more drawn to small, detailed prints or do you feel connected to larger scale designs? There’s no right or wrong answer! Its easy to get caught up in design “rules” and forget your personal preferences. 

How can you prioritize scale in your textile choices? Do you notice any designs within your current space that suggest one style over another? Would you prefer to combine plain textiles with a lot of texture or printed material? 

Head over to Kovi Fabrics and sort through the various pattern settings to find which prints you’re most drawn to. Follow your intuition when it comes to making these decisions. 

Consider which items you’d most like to see in your home, and go ahead and order a few samples! We always recommend this practice in order to see the material in your current space with your lighting, wall color, and existing upholstered pieces.

Color

Working with color can be a bit overwhelming at first, but we encourage you always to follow your initial instinct when it comes to what you’re drawn to. If greens and blues make you feel relaxed while yellow and purple remind you of your least favorite NBA team, then that’s information you can use!

If you know you want your space to be monochromatic with an orange accent color, then go for it! You can take it a notch up by using different patterns in the same color theme. 

For someone who is looking for a little bit of variety, try to select three to five colors you wouldn’t mind incorporating into your design. Two can feel a bit mundane, and seven can be overwhelming. 

If you’re unsure where to start, take yourself to the paint store and browse all the colors lined up together. Pull whichever ones call to you and mix and match a few until you find three to five that work well together.

When you get home, you can use this color palette as a reference to shop textiles and make sure you’re selecting materials that align with your vision.  

Layer

Now that we understand scale and color, we can combine these two design elements to create a gorgeous layered effect. Here are a few things to consider when building your layers:

  • What and where am I choosing to layer patterns? (Room or piece of furniture?)
  • What patterns exist in the background? (Wallpaper, rugs, artwork) 
  • Which pattern is my favorite?

Once you understand where you want to add layers and what patterns might already exist within that space, you can begin the process. 

We like to first pinpoint any favorites because we can do our best to put these in the foreground. For example, if we’re layering cushions on top of a sofa with a large scale pattern, we can first add a small scale on top and then layer another large scale over that. 

If you find that this formula doesn’t match your vision, feel free to switch the cushions around until you achieve the effect you’re looking for. The key is to be patient with yourself and remember that as long as you like the patterns in your space, you’re on the right track!

Q & A

Question: How do I add new prints into my home that will work with my existing patterned upholstery?

Answer: Take note of the color and scale of your existing patterned materials. Decide what you’d like any other scale and colors to be the best compliment your existing upholstery. Use the scale, color, and layer notes above, and when in doubt, always order a sample!

Question: How many different patterns can you mix within one space? 

Answer: Design revolves around the rule of three, so we recommend three patterns within one area. This can vary depending on the level of color and contrast each print has. If the prints are more subtle, you can easily get away with more! We’re all about mixing prints, but matching can be just as impactful. Before you run out looking for a new textile, consider if you already have one in your space that would also fit the bill. 

Question: Are there any textile patterns you recommend for Spring and Summer?

Answer: Absolutely, we’re excited to make seasonal changes to our space and have written all about Spring Textile Design Inspiration if you’re interested! As for specific textile options, we’ve had our sights set on K1964 SPRING TRELLIS and E1633 Coral for Spring and Summer of 2022. 

Question: How do I mix and match patterns for traditional interior design? 

Answer: While we recommend using the tips featured in this article, we have a few style-specific tips: Traditional interiors are known for their luxury and detail. Consider how much of that you may want to be incorporated into your upholstered items; contrast piping, fringe trim, tufting, etc. The more details you include, the more layering you need to plan. 

Question: What are some ideas for mixing and matching patterned textiles for a modern design aesthetic? 

Answer: Modern design enthusiasts always have the boldest and artsy patterned textiles in their homes! They’re not afraid to take after the commercial design styles and incorporate large-scale plaid, houndstooth, chevron, and tweed. If you’re looking for an interesting backdrop to these strong patterns, consider a metallic or pearlescent vinyl in a bright color such as blue or orange.  

The Art Of Layering

When designing your space, the key to success is pulling together beautiful items you love and mixing patterns in a visually appealing way. 

If this means combining five yellow and white striped patterns, it’s worth ordering the samples to give it a shot! 

Like any great project, successful layering takes time. Be patient with yourself as you navigate through materials and select options for your home. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to start with one and work your way up over time. You’re going to do great!

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