How to Mix Fabric Patterns Like a Pro

A collection of fabric patterns that will work together to create a cohesive, but cozy dining nook.
A collection of fabric patterns that will work together to create a cohesive, but cozy dining nook.

Love that eclectic, but pulled together look of a room that has multiple fabric patterns on various surfaces? Me too. I like how multiple prints in a room lends a layered, welcoming vibe. Truly, I just love fabric, pattern and color in general, and over the years I’ve hit on how to balance it all, without making it feel like a visual assault.

I have plans to cover my dining bench in cushions and pillows to create a spot for reading, working and lingering over dinner. The color pallet is three parts indigo blue, one part poppy and one part golden pumpkin. My goal is for the nook to have a global-bohemian appeal, and to feel casual and cozy. Here are the fabrics I am choosing and how they work together.

1.Choose a print that incorporates most of the colors you intend to use in the space. This fabric or pattern will lead you through choosing all of the others. For me, this is a fabric by Robert Allen, with a medium-scale ikat pattern, that I will use for a pillow or two for the dining bench.

Robert Allen Ikat Bands Indigo. $20.99/yd.

2. Play with scale. This next fabric has a very large-scale paisley pattern, which I love. It will also be on pillows for the dining bench. A pattern like this would also look amazing on drapery panels. Conversely, I plan to use a small-scale dot print for the bench cushion, which will help in hiding crumbs and the inevitable spills.

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Lacefield Designs, Sultan Batik Indigo, $38/yd.
Golding Ikat Spots Blue. $12.99/yd.
Golding Ikat Spots Blue. $12.99/yd.

3. Pull out accents from your main fabric. The first fabric has little hits of poppy red and golden apricot. I’ll use these next two fabrics to warm and brighten up the room. They will provide a happy foil to the all of the cool blues.

Tizia Ikat Poppy
Tizia Ikat Poppy, $21.98/yd.

4. Provide a place for your eye to rest. Bring in a solid with texture, to balance all of the pattern. I like this linen blend for its softness and warm hue. I’ll use it on a lumbar pillow for the bench.

Waverly Orissa Blend, Pumpkin. $18.98 yd.
Waverly Orissa Blend, Pumpkin. $18.98 yd.

Mixing patterns is all about balancing scale and color. Repetition of the same hue in several fabrics weaves a common thread, while introducing pops of complementary colors provides warmth. Using patterns of varying scale, but with a similar theme (ikat), creates visual variation, but not discord. I hope that you’re now inspired, not intimidated, to combine different fabrics to add charm and cheer to your home.



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