Mixing Patterns: How to Decorate Like a Pro

Mixing patterns is a great way to add style and personality to a room. However, it’s one aspect of design that many people are afraid to try because they’re not sure how to do it. Β Here are ten simple tips that will help you to get started and give you confidence when it comes to mixing patterns.

10 Tips for Mixing Patterns

1 Odd numbers work best in interior design. Use a minimum of 3 different patterns varying the scale by using small, medium and large patterns.

Mixing Patterns: Living room in teal, orange and white

Caitlin Wilson

Mixing Patterns: Living room in aqua, poppy and white

Woman’s Day

Mixing Patterns: Dining room in red, aqua and white

Sarah Richardson Design

2 Try using the 60/30/10 approach. Use 60% of your favorite pattern, 30% of a second pattern, and 10% of a third pattern as an accent.
Mixing Patterns: Bedroom in red, light blue and white

Better Homes and Gardens

3 Mix different types of prints such as floral, check, geometric, stripe, polka-dot, paisley, toile, or plaid.
Mixing Patterns: Bedroom in red and white paisley


4 Always select your largest pattern first, but do so carefully. This pattern will anchor your color scheme and the rest of the room will be based on it. This pattern should make a statement.

Mixing Patterns: Girl's room in red, light blue and white

Sarah Richardson Design

Mixing Patterns: Sunroom in blue and white

Sarah Richardson Design

Mixing Patterns: Living room with floral patterns, blue, orange, yellow and green

Better Homes and Gardens

5 The second pattern should be half the scale of the first one and have at least two colors in common with it. If you went with a floral on the first pattern, this one could be a stripe or geometric.

6 The colors of the third pattern should compliment the first two and be the smallest in scale.

Mixing Patterns: Bedroom with aubergine and orange wallpaper

Grant K. Gibson

7 If you choose to go with a fourth pattern, make sure it is even smaller in scale than the third and is used most sparingly.

8 The color intensity should be the same for all patterns. For example, don’t mix pastel patterns with jewel tone patterns.

Mixing Patterns: Bedroom in Brown, yellow and white

Better Homes and Gardens

Mixing Patterns: Living room in gray, blue and yellow

Better Homes and Gardens

9 Don’t forget that rugs and other accessories are an opportunity to bring in pattern.

10 Include solid colors in your design to help support the patterns.

Mixing Patterns: Master bedroom in black, creams, gold

Better Homes and Gardens

Mixing patterns can give a room the wow factor. These tips will help you to create a room that gets noticed. What are your favorite patterns to mix together?

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  1. 1


    Mixing patterns is my weakness. The next time I want to do it and I’m feeling clueless, I’ll take a pic and send it to you. πŸ™‚

    • 2

      Peggy Pardo says

      Works for me! I’ll give you a special ring-tone so I’ll know it’s a design emergency. Kind of like the bat signal for Batman! πŸ˜‰

  2. 3

    Durga says

    Very Nice…I always wanted to mix but was worried if it should not go mismatch…. but I guess, one need to do permutations and combinations, and then you will get better ideas!

    Thanks for inspiring!

    • 4

      Peggy Pardo says

      You’re very welcome; happy to help! Play with different combinations until you find one that makes you happy. πŸ™‚

  3. 5


    Great post.. so many of the color combinations look like themes I created in the Color911 app! Love seeing the color combinations come to life πŸ™‚

  4. 7

    Jenna says

    I am in love with the wallpaper on #6 above. Any idea where I can find that print or one similiar?

  5. 9

    Lisa says

    Love the paisley pillows in bedroom pic.! Do you know who makes that fabric? I can’t find anywhere!

    • 10

      Peggy Pardo says

      Those are beautiful, Lisa. The room was designed by Sarah Richardson and was on season 3 of Sarah’s House, Guest Room 1. The fabric was from Telio in Canada. I wasn’t able to find the pattern name and it’s not listed on their website. But you could contact them and see if they can give you more information. Here’s their contact page: http://www.telio.com/contactEN.html

  6. 11

    Lisa says

    I remember watching that episode! Loved that show! Thanks so much for tracking down the information for me! Will definitely check it out!


  7. 13

    Emily says

    These are all such gorgeous rooms! I have been looking for material with a specific type of floral pattern/color combination for quite some time. The curtains in the last picture under number 4 look very similar to what I’ve been searching for. Do you by chance know where I can find them, or the material? Thank you!

    • 14

      Peggy Pardo says

      I love that fabric too, Emily. There wasn’t any information listed on product or material sources for that room, but if I can find anything out I will let you know. πŸ™‚

      • 17

        Annie says

        This fabric was also featured recently in an hgtv magazine kitchen remodel and I have my entire home remodel on hold desperately searching for this fabric. Does anyone have any updates on it? I would be so very grateful as I have become quite obsessed recently with this fabric and color combo.

  8. 21


    Hello, I have been trying to figure out what patterns and colors would look nice around my apartment living room and I happen to come across your site. I love the yellow and dark blue living room. I have a big dark brown paisley rug with accents of light brown and light blue with a dark green that pretty much blends in with the blue, and creamy vanilla white. It pretty much takes up the whole living room floor. I have a couch that matches the light brown in the rug. I would like to add yellow accessories within the living room but not bright yellow or to pastel yellow. Would this be ok even though the rug has no yellow or would you stay within the colors on the rug?

    • 22

      Peggy Pardo says

      The rug doesn’t have to include every color you use in the room, Neysa. The 60-30-10 rule will help. Use 60% of a dominant color (brown), 30% of a secondary color (blue), and 10% of an accent color (yellow). I’d try to bring in a piece of art or fabric that has the yellow you want in it along with the colors from the rug. Then you can bring in more pops of the yellow. For tips on working with color, check out this post I wrote on creating a successful color scheme: http://decoratingfiles.com/2013/08/color-scheme-tips/ πŸ™‚

  9. 25

    Julie Ford says

    I was looking for some additional information on picture # 8 with the Schumacher Hot house curtains. I can’t seem to find this photo on BHG website, do you have any additional information on this photo?
    Thank you

  10. 27

    Kaliena says

    Could you please tell me more about the curtains in photo 8. I am crazy about this look but have trouble finding tasteful but modern patterned fabricordrapes. I absolutely fell in love with these. I can not find what issue of BHG you found it. If I can find the issue I can find the product purchasing info. Please help!!

    • 28


      Hi Kaliena. The vendor information isn’t always included with the source image. And often the pages the images were found on can be removed as the source site is update, as was the case for this particular image. This style of print is popular, so it’s fairly easy to find something similar. I noticed in your next comment that you’ve already found something! πŸ™‚

    • 30


      Hi Kaliena. This fabric is very close to what was featured in the post image. I happen to think the one you found is even prettier. It offers more colors on which to build the room’s color scheme. Thank you for sharing your find! πŸ™‚