A lifestyle blog from allen + roth

A lifestyle blog from allen + roth



3 tricks for mixing prints

April 13, 2016

A few savvy prints create a sophisticated and interesting look. ​​But how do you nail down a suitable fabric mix? Well, color and texture are important; but there's more to this interior-design art. What about mixing pattern sizes and choosing print types—and knowing when to stop? Print colors, textures and scale don't have to match—in fact, a smartly mismatched blend of each aspect is key. Basically, you're after a look, as a whole, that simply makes sense together by being varied. Achieving a magazine-worthy setting is not as difficult as you might think. 

photo credit: Inspired by Charm

The following few pointers can help you avoid a sea of matchy-matchy fabrics that lack visual interest, and, instead, achieve an attractive "landscape" of pillows, upholstery, rugs and more.

photo credit: City Farmhouse

Opposite Types Attract

Simply put, print differences are what create visual interest; but not so fast—here's where color plays a crucial role. As long as each print's color gets along with the others—similar neutral tones or a couple of contrasting shades—they make a good team; indoors and out. But size counts too.

Sizing Up Your Prints

This part's easy: the bigger the object, the bigger the print. Although this rule isn't stamped in concrete, it simplifies the process. So, let an upholstered chair, outdoor rug, duvet cover or trendy wallpapered focal wall flaunt the largest pattern. The medium-sized elements—lampshades, shams, ottoman, table runner—can have a medium-sized print, and the small stuff, such as throw pillows typically get a petite print, such as narrower stripes or smaller checks than the bigger items. But again, it's not necessary to link print size to the object's size; it's just an easy way to get your inner designer's feet wet.

Remember to mix textures—nubby, fluffy, leathery, silky, cottony. This keeps the overall look from falling flat.

Enough is Enough

Avoid overstimulating the design. Too many patterns in any room become visually confusing. But how many prints are enough? Go with 3—or 5 max. Why not 2 or 4? Basically, because odd numbered items create balance better than even ones do. That said, if you're into minimalist design, it's fine to use just one patterned "power piece" at the heart of a monochromatic or earthy scheme.

So, edit yourself; know your pattern limit; stop while you're ahead—you get the point. Then, simply toss in a few agreeable solid or tone-on-tone pieces to calm the design (envision them as the cool-headed teachers who keep the noisy students focused.)

It doesn't take superwoman effort to be a master of mixed prints; when you think you have it right, you're right. It's personal preference that counts most, after all.