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Mixing Prints 101

Back when you were young and more inclined to experiment in fashion, your mom may have told you that mixing patterns was a big faux pas. But it’s 2022 and none of those rules apply anymore, my friends. Especially not when it comes to interior design. Mixed prints are a fantastic way to add bold visual appeal to an indoor space. They add dimension, personality, and make everything a little more fun. But mixing patterns is an art that can be tricky to master, which is why we’re here to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know.

Balance & Scale

When mixing prints, balance is everything. If it helps, you can think about it through the lens of yin and yang energies. For example, it’s a great idea to mix abstract patterns with geometric prints. The abstract patterns are your yin, with free flowing lines, and the geometric are your yang with tighter lines and less space between elements.

If you want to get technical with it, the sizing, or scale of the pattern elements should be contrasting to each other. Some patterns will have a larger scale (generally the more abstract ones) and some will have a smaller one (the more tidy, geometric styles.) Having a balance between the two will create a visually pleasing result.

Mixing patterns is a great statement move already, so our advice is to keep it simple. You don’t have to do much here, and mixing too many patterns usually results in a look that’s a touch too chaotic. Sticking to a few complementary patterns will make a beautiful statement without being over the top.

Stick to Your Color Scheme

Sticking to a solid color scheme is critical when mixing prints to keep it looking cohesive and pleasing. There is no right or wrong here but sticking to a scheme of 3-6 colors is recommended. If you are using busier patterns, a simpler color scheme may work better to keep things looking consistent.

When it comes to color schemes, it can sometimes be difficult to balance the colors in a way that looks appealing. If you’re struggling with this, try using the 60-30-10 rule. Your dominant color should take up 60% of the space, your secondary color 30%, and the accent color should be about 10%. This rule creates an appealing balance in your colors and will help neutralize the patterns you are using.

Break it Up, Let it Breathe

When your first learning how to mix patterns, it’s a good idea to break them up with solid colors and give them space to shine on their own to avoid a messy look. It’s a good rule of thumb to use your busiest pattern, or your “showstopper” for a big statement, which could be anything from a couch to the wallpaper. Geometric patterns like chevron or herringbone, are really great accent patterns but can be overwhelming in large quantities. For this reason, they’re great for small things like pillows or even lampshades.

As intimidating as it can be to step into the world of mixed patterns, the possibilities are endless once you get started. We hope you found our tips helpful. Be sure to let us know down below if you have any questions, or give us a comment letting us know which inspo image was your favorite!

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