Fabric Frenzie, Mixing Patterns

2d634a2220d1e16f534f3280854db19dI love color, pattern and fabric and lots and lots of it! I know trying to mix and match fabrics can be confusing and overwhelming.  Okay, so the photo above has a far more pattern going on than most of us would ever even dream of attempting, but some how it work. So how’d they do it? This topic is widely discussed across design with many different tips but the most important ingredients are always color, pattern and scale. I agree whole heatedly with those three main elements. Here is how I use them.

This room shows how a work of art can be your inspiration for your fabric choices. Photo via HGTV

This room shows how a work of art can be your inspiration for your fabric choices. Photo via HGTV

  1. Start with an inspiration piece, one pattern you really , really LOVE. This will be your most colorful item it could be a fabric but don’t overlook other items like a colorful piece of art or a colorful rug. This pattern will give you all inspiration you need to mix and match a great pallet. Now as a beginner I might stick with three fabrics (odd numbers work best) and work your way up.
  2. Pick your colors using your inspiration. Your other prints you choose will include one or two of the colors from the inspiration print. For example if you have a large pink green and blue print maybe the next one is green and white, or pink and blue. Remember don’t worry about a perfect color match as long as they are close and look good to the eye.
  3. Vary the Patterns. If you started with a large floral add a stripe, geometric, or plaid you can even use another floral just make sure it is a different scale which comes to my next tip.
  4. Vary the Scale. I try to includes a small-, a medium-, and a large-scale pattern.

The two photos below show these techniques used in the most basic way.

Photo via BHG.com

Photo via BHG.com

9f246ae6d02d41d3e256c92abe6341ba 71939f11c85505466f7b23e49086b2f5 So that is the basics but sometimes those tips might not apply,  here some of those cases.

What about solids?

We are talking about mixing patterns but solids are welcome too. I like to use solids on my larger furniture because it alows me to switch out the accent fabrics easily. When I am using solids as accent fabrics like pillows I love to use solids with texture, like a big furry pillow, a quilted fabric or something with a heavy weave. Solid are a great place for the eye to rest. Too many patterns can just look like a mess if there is no relief.feminine-living-room

What your inspiration fabric only has two or three colors?  In this case I like to try an accent color completely unrelated to the inspiration fabric. Usually a color opposite the original on the color wheel works great. If you started with black and white almost any color will work.



What about monochromatic?

A single color can also work great just play with different shades of the color and be sure you still vary the scale and pattern,

Photo via Calico Corner

Photo via Calico Corner

Still overwhelmed? Don’t worry, if you pick your fabric from a single fabric line they will usually include all the fabrics you need to mix and match or Check out fabric sites like Calico Corners and they will do the choosing for you look at the great selections below from their Gallery


  1. I love your posts. Eye candy 🙂

  2. Maggie! You are SOOOO talented! I adore the blog and I’m pleased to see you are sharing all of the goodness that lives within you with the world! I miss you! 🙂

    • So glad you liking it. I am having a blast sharing. I need your photography skills her in Germany to help me out, and give me some pointers

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