Many people find it overwhelming to figure out how to mix patterns in a room so they stick to solids and the room never really comes to life. Follow some basic rules for a spectacular room.

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1.  Mixing different sized patterns is the only way to make this work.  The intricate pattern above the bed creates texture and goes nicely with the striped pillow on the bench and the delicate pattern on the bedding. Nothing looks out of place or takes over the room.  Source unknown.

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 2.  By using a strong pattern in the rug the designer anchored the room but then added the bold geometric pillows next to the softer blue prints to pull the room together and create a space that is not too harsh.  Source unknown.

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3.  This example mixes a plaid window treatment with several small scale prints in the pillows and two large decorative printed pillows for energy.  The whole room is anchored by the orange geometric rug.  This is a great example of using one color to tie the different patterns together.  Without the bold blue and orange pillows this room would fall flat even with the strong orange walls and rug.  The little bit of blue introduced is just what the room needed to be complete.Via

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 4.  This is another example of using a single color to tie the patterns together and in this case there are three different trellis type patterns and a subtle aqua on the bench. The lavender rug is  a perfect foil for the aqua and it has a subtle wave of aqua in it. The room is very soothing but this did not happen by accident – it took careful planning.  Source unknown.

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5.  Country French lends itself beautifully to the use of multiple patterns in a room. This very soft version uses an over scaled check mixed with a gentle floral pattern and the dark wood gives just enough contrast.  Again it has one color that ties it all together.

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6.  You don’t have to use colored patterns in a room – neutrals work very well too.  There are five different patterned fabric in the room but it has a very cohesive feeling.  The scale of each pattern is different from the others so they don’t compete with each other.  There should be plenty of solid colors too, like in this room, so the patterns don’t overwhelm the room.  Via

Every room needs a dominant pattern and smaller supporting patterns.  If the largest scale pattern is not very bold you may want to use stronger patterns in pillows or draperies for the accent pieces.

Mixing geometrics with curvilinear or organic fabrics works very well as they do not compete if selected properly.  Similar color ways is also another way to unify different patterns.  Sometimes you may find a fabric that is reversable or comes in two versions of the same design – the negative and positive forms of the design. That’s a very effective way to use patterns also.

Wall coverings are also a way to introduce pattern into a room and it can be the leading star or a supporting actor.  Just select all the components at the same time so you don’t find yourself in a bind and not able to find that one last piece that makes the room sing!

A good and safe rule of thumb is to use only three patterns, each of a different size, tied together by design, color or theme.

Happy decorating!