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Whether you’re in the process of designing a new home or redoing an older one, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is about patterns. Patterns and be spectacularly beautiful or they can be a nightmare. It’s all about balance. Here are some things to try that will keep the crazy at bay and focus on the magical.

Choose one color

one color multi pattern patio furniture

Image via Flickr by Wickerfurniture

One of the best and easiest ways to merge an assortment of patterns together is by picking one color and add white to the scheme. You can choose a Navy blue, add white to the color palette, and then mix patterns that have both Navy blue and white.

Put blue china plates on the walls, have striped curtains, use floral print furniture, and add chevron pillows. By sticking to one color you create a continuous feeling. The white sets of any color to make it less powerful and overbearing, you don’t want it to take over the room.

Choose many colors well

many colors sunset

Image via Flickr by Pilottage

If you want to add more than just one color, that’s great too. You’ll just want to choose colors that go well with one another. If you feel like you don’t have an eye for color, consult a color wheel. You can go for a scheme that displays the many different shades of a certain color like red, pink, and even orange.

Or you can choose complementary colors that are across from one another on the color wheel like red-purple and yellow-green. Colors that reflect nature are always a win too whether you use blue and green, red and green, or green and orange.

Think about sizes

grey cat and pillow

Image via Flickr by Radarsmum67

You can mix and match the sizes of patterns for balance. A good room will have big, medium, and small scaled patterns for contrast. Keep them all within the same color scheme and you can have big polka dots, medium squares, and tiny floral print that pairs amazingly with each other. You want to keep contrast and balance while leaving out overwhelming and crazy.

Anchor the colors

You can find inspiration in anything, it doesn’t have to be with the paint chips you get at the home improvement store. Find a piece that you really love whether it’s a picture, a pillow, a rug anything you feel is reflecting what you want. Then pull all of the colors from that one piece.

Say you have a striped rug with the colors purple, green, blue, and white. Find a polka dot lamp shade that matches the purple in the rug. Look for a pillow with a geometric design that reflects the green. Continue on until your whole room is furnished with patterns and colors, but anchored with one design.

Ready for a magazine spread

Designing a room can be tricky, but a lot of fun. Whether you’re a pro or a first time pattern mixer, you can create a beautiful space in any room. By sticking to a few guidelines you’ll produce a room fit for a magazine spread in no time.


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.