Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mix Patterns Like A Pro

Home Décor Coordinating Tips
Do you love the professional look of coordinated colors, patterns and textures in fabrics and wallpapers for home decor? But does the idea of combining patterns and colors make you break out in a sweat? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. By following these simple rules, you’ll become a pattern pro in your home.

Think in threes! Whether designing home décor or planting flowers, odd numbers make it look right, especially number three. Three is the minimum number of patterns that should be used. The key to successfully mixing patterns is to vary the scale from small to large. If you choose two dominate patterns of the same scale, they will fight each other for your attention.


Pattern 1 Select the first pattern carefully. It’s your inspiration and anchor that pulls all the patterns and colors together. Choose something out of the ordinary to express your personality. Typically it’s larger scale pattern with multiple colors. Note: Keep in mind that this may not necessarily be used in the final scheme. It might be replaced with something else; however, it will be the inspiration for the fabric choices to come.

Pattern 2 Select a different pattern that’s half the scale of the first one. If the first pattern is a floral, the second one could be a geometric, such as plaid or stripe with some of the colors that are in the first pattern.

Pattern 3 This can be similar to either of the other patterns and use two or three of the consistent colors. For instance, a smaller floral could work well with a plaid and a larger floral.

Pattern 4 and more: This can be small scale texture or solid, with one of the coordinating colors.

Cheat it! Don’t have the confidence to mix and match the fabrics and wallpapers on your own? Don’t worry! Many textile manufacturers have done the hard work for you. They’ve created color schemes in two, three and four patterns which can all coordinate in one room.

Whites are tricky! Just ask any woman who’s tried to match her off-white shoes with her purse. When selecting whites, keep them in the same color family; this includes yellow-white, pink-white or bright white. View whites by placing other materials that are in the color scheme next to them, as they influence the white’s color. White is typically the last color to be introduced to the color scheme.

Patterns have personality! Pattern can make a major impact of how a room feels. Busy patterns raise the energy level, while simple, pale patterns calm the room. If you want the room to feel harmonious, use large patterns. Use small patterns if you want to draw attention to one part of the room.

Don’t forget the windows! Drapery fabric samples are best viewed with the light behind them rather that facing the light. This will give you a better representation of how the material will appear when hung in the window. Bear in mind, not all fabrics are designed for windows; do your home work. When selecting drapery lining colors, consider how the windows will look from the outside. Off whites are generally the safest colors for lining.

Fabrics have style! There’s more to fabric than just another pretty face. All fabrics have a style and a personality. Most would identify damask as a formal fabric, even if they don’t know its correct name. Most would also agree that gingham, muslin and plaid are informal fabrics. These levels of formality come into play when mixing patterns.

Watch your weight! It’s more aesthetically pleasing when patterns and solids are distributed throughout the room. Avoid putting all the pattern pieces on one side of the room; it will feel off balanced. Also consider the patterns of the other elements in the room, such as wood flooring, fireplace and granite counter surfaces.

Shed a little light! When selecting patterns and colors consider the room’s light source. Natural lighting, fluorescents, incandescent and LED affect colors differently. Bright daylight reflecting off a blush pink or sky blue creates an airy feeling; lamplight and candlelight reflecting on Moroccan Red produce a rich glow. View your fabrics with all the colors that will be in the room, such as carpet, fabric, wood tile, and solid surface as they influence the overall color palette.

Check your patterns! View them from a distance, at which they will be seen in the room. Whenever possible, get a large sample (memo) to see how the patterns play off each other. Keep in mind that small patterns viewed from a distance will merge and appear plain.

For a customized color scheme, that you’ll love, contact the VIRTUAL COLOR CONSULTANT. We’ll help you overcome your color and interior design dilemmas. We're the Paint Color & Interior Design Coach. We'll collaborate with you to create the ideal color palette and be a supportive ally throughout your home décor projects.

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