One of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day is to cruise around in the air conditioning. While I will often go to the aquarium or a museum, sometimes it’s just as much fun to run errands or go window-shopping. My daughter and I will stroll around the mall, the grocery store, the home improvement store or furniture stores.

Window-shopping is a great way to check out what’s happing in both home and fashion. What I have found is that there are many similarities between the two. There are classic ways to decorate and to dress that will stand the test of time, and there are trendier ways that can be changed up for fresher vibes. I used to think that pattern mixing fell into the trendier end of the spectrum, but what I’ve found is that it is here to stay. If done right, mixing patterns can add a fun, yet polished air to your home.

Choose one bold pattern


This can be the one that you use in the greatest scale. Then, play off of this when choosing the others. Pull in similar colors or shapes. For instance, if your bold pattern has geometric shapes, your other patterns can incorporate either the same shapes in complementary colors or different shapes, such as floral, in the same colors.

Treat simple patterns as neutrals

Stripes and polka dots can serve as neutral backdrops if they incorporate simple colors as well. If you want to start pattern mixing, simply try pairing these.

Break them up

Add in some solids to give the eye a break between patterns and to help pull them together. Use colors that complement the patterns, and choose the subtle, cool tones rather than the bold, warmer hues. You can incorporate your solids in larger areas like in your floor or sofa. Break them up spatially as well. Spread the patterns throughout the room rather than clustering them all in one area.

Allow them to work together


Think of the patterns as if they were people. If you put several loud people together in a group, it will give you a headache. Patterns can be the same way. Pair one bold pattern with clean, subdued patterns. Add in some solids and neutrals as well. This will lend some balance to the space.

Think outside of fabric

Stripes can reappear in the form of tongue-and-groove paneling, for instance, and an “X” pattern can reappear as the base for tables and ottomans.

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