How to Mix Patterns like a Pro

This post was updated February 2021.
mix patterns in an entryway
We get it. Mixing patterns is scary. Between colors and scale and pattern, there’s a lot to consider, and the stakes are high because decorating mistakes can be expensive, especially when it comes to large upholstered pieces, rugs, and drapery. But there is hope, and we want to help you conquer your fears and teach you how to mix patterns.

mix patterns in a blue and white living room

 1. Balance

First and foremost, always keep balance top of mind when you mix patterns. If you’re starting with a very bold pattern, consider bringing in one or two smaller scale, tone-on-tone, or solid patterns for harmony.

If you are using a large, bold pattern somewhere in the room, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything else needs to be solid and subtle to work. For instance, if you have a pair of chairs in a large print, some bold throw pillows on a couch on the opposite wall may work nicely. That balance is important to keep in mind not just in the colors but in the locations of the bold prints.

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with a balanced living room2. Monotone Mixing

If you’re nervous to mix patterns together in a room, start by trying this simple strategy: choose one shade and try 3-4 different patterns all in that shade. This is a sure-fire strategy that we use when designing our catalog all the time.

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with one color palette

In the space above, you’ll see how we’ve mixed patterns in in a palette of blues. We’ve mixed together a pair of striped chairs with a rug and ottoman in a geometric pattern. We’ve brought in each of these patterns in equal portions which could have felt overwhelming, but because they’re all in the same color family, it doesn’t feel like too much.

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with pillows

3. A Foolproof Formula

A great strategy when mixing pillows together is to use one of each of these four: a floral/paisley, a geometric, a stripe, and a solid. As long as each of these fabrics is in a similar color palette, you’re sure to create a beautifully mixed and matched combination of patterns.

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro in your outdoor spaceIn the outdoor space above, you can see how we’ve used this formula. We have a pair of solid throw pillows in the chairs, floral and striped pillows on the sofa, a geometric print in the rug, and a stripe on the outdoor pouf. We’ve brought in tons of pattern, but it all works!

How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with stripes

4. The Magic of Stripes

Stripes are your secret weapon if you want to mix patterns together in your home because they go with almost any other pattern! Florals, ikats, geometrics, solids, or even other stripes, they’re very versatile!
mix patterns with ikats and stripes
How gorgeous are these ikats paired with this striped sofa? It’s almost a challenge to come up with a pattern that doesn’t work well with stripes!

And here, we’ve mixed two striped dining chairs in the same color palette as the rest of the room. Even with the patterned rug, the stripes work together harmoniously. Stripes are magic, what can we say?

5. Get Your Patterns Straight

Below we’ve grouped together our favorite ways to mix patterns. Learn about their strengths and where to put them below:

Textured Solids

Textured Solids are a great starting point in a room because they’re so versatile but have more detail than a simple twill or linen. We often use these on large upholstered pieces that need to have staying power.


How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with stripes

What more can we say about stripes? We love them! Whether it’s a ticking stripe, a cabana stripe, or somewhere in between, they’re a classic look that never goes out of style. We especially love the way this linear pattern pairs with almost any other pattern out.


How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with floralsFloral may often have a traditional feel, but with an unexpected application, it can feel modern too, Upholster one on an occasional chair for a classic look, or put them on a set of drapes for something unexpected. They’re a great jumping off point for a rooms color palette. Each of these florals has lots of different shades in it, which gives you a kind of road map for the other colors to bring into the room.


How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro with ikats

For a bold print that will take your decor to new heights, ikats are the way to go. Ikats are characterized by a bleeding look, where the dye resists certain threads creating this beautifully dynamic pattern. We love them because it only takes a little bit of this pattern to make a statement. On pillows, drapes, rugs, or upholstered pieces, ikats are fun and youthful. Just be careful when applying it to small pieces like throw pillows; you want to be sure the area where you’re applying the fabric is large enough for you to take in the full effect of the ikat.
mix patterns like a pro with a monochromatic color palette
 What do you think? Will you be able to tackle pattern mixing in your own home now? For more pattern inspiration, read these helpful articles next:

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How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Tricia Albiston

    October 11, 2021

    What patterns work with a moroccan trellis pattern? I bought a large rug for my dining room in neutral moroccan trellis pattern and I’m struggling to figure out what curtains to pair with it. Stripes? Floral? Or solid curtains that match the wall color?? I’m stumped.

    • Reply

      Mallory Thomas

      January 19, 2022

      Hi Tricia,

      It’s hard to make a suggestion without seeing your space. We have a team of free interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your questions here.

      Best of luck,

  2. Reply


    August 21, 2021

    What a great article. I have a neutral abstract-patterned floor tile. After reading your article, I think I could change my dining room chairs to a neutral pattern in same neutral tone as tile floor. Is it also possible to use a colorful pattern, since my floor tile is a neutral abstract pattern?. My attempt to copy and paste pic didn’t work.

    Thank you for any advice you may be able to give.

    • Reply

      Mallory Thomas

      August 24, 2021

      So glad you found the article helpful! I suggest connecting with our design services team in stores or online. They’d be able to help you pick out that perfect pattern for your chairs. You can sign up for an email or online consultation here.
      Happy Decorating,

  3. Reply

    Lyn A Sheely

    October 5, 2020

    Hi – can you tell me please about the pattern to the far right on #6 patterns to love, paisley in blues? I am trying to coordinate a chair fabric and an area rug. This article is very helpful in mixing patterns to thank you for the tips.
    Best, Lyn

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      October 9, 2020

      Hi Lynn,
      Unfortunately, we don’t sell that fabric anymore, but you can see all of our blue fabrics here. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this article. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  4. Reply

    Solange Abdulkarim

    September 14, 2020

    I need your help please , I bought livingroom furniture , french design with a lot of wood , hands and head, on the side of it and the back the fabric is stripe,but the cushions and pillows have print , i want to change the cushions and pillows to a solid color fabric, will it be ok? please help me. thank you Solange

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      October 9, 2020

      Hi Solange,
      I don’t think you can go wrong with changing your pillows and cushions to a solid color. We offer plenty of solid fabrics you could recover it with.
      Happy Decorating,

  5. Reply


    August 28, 2020

    Thank you so much for the help on mixing patterns but I have a question- The pattern on the second swatch with the Arryanna Spa fabric- what is it called ?? I can’t locate it anywhere except the fabric and I am looking for curtains already made ( i am no seamstress!) thank you in advance

  6. Reply

    Stacy O'Quinn

    August 6, 2020

    I would like to know how to send pictures of what I am wanting to do. Getting a new couch covered in a light cream. I want a bold material for two pillows and an ottoman. The wall color very close to fabric for couch. They wondering about a big room. I am terrible about mixing colors and prints. But first need to know how to get swatch pictures to your company.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      August 26, 2020

      Hi Stacy,
      We have a team of free interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  7. Reply


    June 9, 2020

    I have dark brown sofas, black and white geometric rug and cushions. I have just bought blue and white floral material to make a large table/footstool to add some colour. Do you think the patterned footstool will look ok on the geometric rug? And add blue plain cushions to the sofa. I’d love your opinion please

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 8, 2021

      We have a team of free interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  8. Reply


    January 7, 2020

    I have light blue buffalo check club chairs and a cream sofa in my hearth room. I also have a black ceramic lamp with bright pink and green small flowers and 2 cranberry glass lamps that I would like to keep. I like bright colors. How can I accent and decorate around these colors?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 8, 2020

      Hi Suzanne,
      We have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  9. Reply


    December 19, 2019

    I have the Paisley Ramagh Gray Pier 1 curtains in my family room which is open to my kitchen. I would like to cover my valences over the window and door in my kitchen with the Robert Allen Teague Dwell Studios gold fabric. I am not too sure if the patterns would work together, the rooms are separate but you can still see the family room from the kitchen. Do you think this would be too much?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 6, 2020

      Hi Jane,
      We have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  10. Reply


    July 20, 2019

    I have a red and gold damask sofa. I have painted the walls light grey. Having hard time with getting curtains and carpet to go with it. Any suggestions?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      July 24, 2019

      Hi Betsy,
      We have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here. Be sure to take good pictures and definitely include photos of the red and gold sofa fabric so they can coordinate with it!
      Hope that helps,

  11. Reply

    Kathy Snyderwine

    June 13, 2019

    I like the beige stripe chair in the photo. Where can I purchase the chair?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 20, 2019

      Hi Kathy,
      That is our Elsie Swivel Glider Club Chair in Dover Linen. You can purchase it here.

  12. Reply

    Sandra Carawan

    June 12, 2019

    I’m in a new home and in the dining area I have painted the walls yellow and have set down a floor rug (Laurent Collection, Design: Kubala), which is predominantly teal with blends of magenta, light orange and white. I am not sure what color of curtains to purchase. At first, I was thinking of a deeper yellow with a mixture of blue floral pattern, but I think that is going to clash. Now I’m just wondering about going with white. Thank you for any suggestions.

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 20, 2019

      Hi Sandra,
      We actually have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemmas. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  13. Reply


    May 15, 2019

    I have a small space where I want to put a chair on either side of a window. The chairs style would be exactly the same, but the fabrics would be related, in color but different patterns. Would that look stupid?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 5, 2019

      Hi Fran,
      That’s not stupid at all, we love mixing patterns!

  14. Reply


    April 4, 2019

    Where can I find the red/cream chevron woven rug in the first picture?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      April 25, 2019

      Hi Melanie,
      Unfortunately, we no longer carry this rug.

  15. Reply

    Sally Fumich

    October 1, 2017

    Please suggest coordinating upholstery fabric ideas to use along with an animal skin fabric (beige zebra) on two matching armed side chairs. I want you use the animal skin on the seat, wish to have a different/complimentary fabric on the chair back. The chair back is round shaped. The arms each have little upholstered pads. Also, the chair back is also upholstered on the backside. My room is traditional/transitional. I hope you can help! Thank you.

  16. Reply


    September 29, 2017

    This was a great article – but I am struggling to apply it to our living room! We started with a wall colorful, which is beautiful: Tranquility by Benjamin Moore. Then found gorgeous linen curtains with a matching embroidered design. We added an off-white sectional and went for a little splash of a pattern with the pillows. Then a bigger splash of a pattern with the recliner. Now I feel like these little moves we’ve made into patterns don’t necessarily work – and we still have to choose a rug! How much is too much? Is it possible to get a rug that ties everything together? Do I go solid with the rug and keep my fingers crossed? Help!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      October 2, 2017

      It’s hard to make any suggestions without seeing the space. I would say that you should pick a rug that you really love, regardless of whether it will work with any pillows you’ve already picked out. Pillows are easy to change if they don’t complement the rug, but a rug is an important part of a rug. If you want a patterned rug, then find one you really like and work from there. If you like the look of a solid rug, that will of course work, but get something you really like. Don’t compromise on a piece that big.
      If you’d like one of our designers to make more pointed suggestions, submit some photos and a description of your room here.
      Best of luck!

    • Reply


      November 11, 2018

      I two black buffalo plaid chairs and beige walls. What color/type of rug do I use?

  17. Reply


    September 18, 2017

    Looking for some help to decorate small living room with white sectional sofa and love seat. Having trouble with color.

  18. Reply

    Carla Macynski

    September 8, 2017

    I have a two story living room facing a lake with a loft in the top rear & above the entry way & my open kitchen is to the right facing the lake & the MBR is on the left facing the lake. We have large windows in the front so there’s lots of light. This entire room is painted a soft gold & I have a black baby grand with a black leather couch & dining table & several other black accents. My kitchen cabinets are a soft beige stained ash. I’m having the island stained a medium grey (granite counter is a grey, black peach mix with all SS appliances) I would like to paint the kitchen walls a light grey & the hood a darker grey & carry this same darker grey into the LR on my two story fire place. Can I accent a few walls in my LR with a lighter grey color to blend with a few gold walls that I already have or is it a faux paw to have different colored walls in one room?

    • Reply

      Heather Daly

      October 2, 2018

      Hi Carla,
      Without pictures it’s a little tough to make a paint suggestion, but before you paint would you consider adding other accents with gray? A rug or pillows with the right color gray could bring the color from the kitchen over into your living room.

      Good Luck!

  19. Reply


    July 27, 2017

    Looking for draperies to go with my floral furniture. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Cannot see where to attach photos.

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 28, 2017

      Hi Marybeth,
      We would love to help you pick out drapes to match your floral furniture! We offer a free design service in which our in-house interior designers help pick out fabric, furniture, and accessories for a space. Just send them a picture of your space along with your question here, and a designer will reach out to you with a solution.

      • Taruna Joshi

        May 8, 2018

        i have a patterned rug that i like, plain sofa and more considering a patterned curtain. i want to send a picture, how do i send it? what’s the email address ?

      • Caroline McDonald

        August 21, 2018

        Sign up for an phone or email consultation here:

  20. Reply


    July 4, 2017

    Hi my live room is two color grays not goal Graywas subtle Grey and gold I found a pair of curtains and the arm they have all the color grays this in my living room and in the hole and it has the exact same Gold my couch is the same color gray I couldn’t find any material that caught my eye to match the colors that I wanted but I found a pair of curtains that matches all the decor in my living room and I was wondering could I put it on my dining room chairs which are four of them and then put it across the room at the window would it be too much I also was going to mix it with two solid colors along with the pattering my living room is small so I had to make kitchen area and dining room area rather and then the live room I have to combine the two places together so that’s why I’m axing can I put the curtain on the chairs and then put it to the window I even got one side of the room A part of the wall is split in half Gold and gray so so I was wondering if I could do that would be OK fit I want to Join the room together

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 5, 2017

      Hi Jake!
      We’d love to help you with this decorating dilemma! We offer a free design service in which our interior designers help pick out fabric, furniture, and accessories. Just send in your question along with a picture of the room here and one of our interior designers will reach out to you with a design solution!

  21. Reply


    July 1, 2017

    I need help picking out some curtains, an area rug, pillows and a chair to lighten up my living room. I recently had new floors put in and a new kitchen countertop. Because the floors are darker now and more dramatic, I am unsure what to go with. I picked up these printed curtains but I am not sure. How do I send you Pics.

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 3, 2017

      Hi Shelley,
      We would love to help you with your living room! We offer a free design service in which our interior designers help pick out furniture, accessories, and fabric. Just send in your question along with a picture of your space here and a designer will reach out to you with a design solution!

  22. Reply


    June 7, 2017

    Thank you for the article. Can you recommend a rug to go with two chairs I have upholstered in a geometric print (colors are navy, taupe and gray)? Our living room is carpeted so I would prefer a rug that is wool and that will lay well over carpet. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      June 8, 2017

      We’d love to help you find a rug perfect for those chairs! We offer a free design service in which our interior designers pick out furniture, fabric, and accessories! Just send your question along with a picture of the living room here, and a designer will reach out to you with your design plan!

  23. Reply


    May 27, 2017

    Hi there,

    I really enjoyed this article and found it very helpful but I’m afraid I am still struggling with choosing a rug for my dining room and wondering if I could have some advice please? I have beautiful curtains made with crewel work fabric I bought in India. It’s a floral pattern with blue and red flowers, a cream background, green in there too – I am about to paint the room teal. It’s a small room but with lots of light although north facing. I thought a red and teal rug would look good but im finding it very difficult to find one that isn’t very busy in its pattern as I think that would be too much. Any advice gratefully received!

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      June 5, 2017

      We’d love to help you choose a rug! We actually offer a free service with our interior designers who help select furniture, fabric, and accessories. You can send in a picture of your room along with your question here, and a designer will reach out to you with a plan!

  24. Reply


    April 25, 2017

    Your post is very helpful, I love mixing patterns , but I am struggling with what to do in our family room. The sofa is a dark charcoal, the fabric has nice texture , so it does not appear as a solid color. We have a chair and a half in a large black and white houndstooth pattern. The ottoman is 36 x 48 and I want to reupholster it, but I am at a loss as what fabric to use. The sofa, chair and a half and the ottoman are the only upholstered pieces in the room. The room is at the back of the house, off by itself so, I could add color or should I stay with the charcoal/white and add color in my accents? Also, we have hardwood floors in the room. I plan to,purchase an area rug once I decide what I am doing with the ottoman. Suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      April 27, 2017

      It sounds like you have some great foundation pieces to work with. I definitely think you should add some color or pattern or both! Based on your description, I think something like our Beatrice Black fabric would look fantastic. It would work well with your houndstooth chair. Another great option would be our Vierra Gray fabric. It has the charcoal from your sofa and a large print that would complement your houndstooth. One more option, consider maybe doing a brightly colored solid on your ottoman. One of our Garrison Linens or velvets would be great!
      I hope that helps,

  25. Reply


    March 26, 2017

    Love your post! Still can’t decide on a drapery for my family room. It’s open to a kitchen which decorated in white and grey. The family room itself has a grey sectional sofa and grey walls in a lighter shade. I think going for a solid drapes will be too blend as everything is solid, but don’t want too busy pattern. I would love to introduce the color but not sure if it should be only 3-coloured fabric , for example or multi- coloured can be nice too? What about florals and ornaments, is it too traditional? I would like to keep it modern. Your help and advise is greatly appreciated!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      March 29, 2017


      I totally understand your indecision on drapery panels. There are so many options! I agree that since you have so many solid pieces in your space already, your drapery panels are the perfect opportunity to bring in color and pattern. And there is definitely a way to do this while keeping your space modern. Our Meyers Drapery panel would be a great choice because the Sky color has a gray outline.

      We can also make custom drapery panels in any of our 200+ fabrics. Here are my top picks for your space: Cleo Glacier, Louise Blush, Nicolette Sky, Mira Blue, or Vivian Navy.

      I hope one of these options works out for you!

  26. Reply


    August 16, 2016

    We have a light cream colored sofa and loveseat with 4 of the Courtney Spa Pillows (2 on each). I am stumped on what other throw pillows to use – any suggestions? The rest of the room is mostly neutral – white, light grey, cream and wood tones – with shades of light blue/green like the edge of the pillows.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 15, 2016

      We actually answered your question on our new podcast! You can listen here. We hope you like our suggestions!

  27. Reply

    Mary Jane

    May 22, 2016

    This article is so helpful but I am still stumped on what to pair with my Coventry Banquette in black gingham check. I don’t really want to do all black pillows, but not sure where to go to bring in color without it looking like a train wreck! I was thinking about a toile and buffalo check in taupe, but not sure if the small black gingham and taupe buffalo would play well together.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      May 23, 2016

      Mary Jane,
      We totally get why you’re stumped. Pillows can be hard to pick out! Without knowing which other colors are in your space, it’s hard to suggest something. But did you know we sell custom pillow covers? This might be a great option for you. We have a beautiful, heavy linen called our Garrison linen, and those bright, saturated colors would all look fantastic against your black and white gingham banquette. We especially love the idea of the Garrison Teal, Magenta, or Honeycomb with that black and white fabric. The colors are bright enough to pop off the black, but since they’re solids, they won’t compete with the pattern.
      We hope that helps. Let us know if you have any other questions,
      The How to Decorate Team

  28. Reply


    May 21, 2015

    What is the orange/coral fabric on the daybed in the first picture?

  29. Reply


    April 14, 2015

    I am trying to find a rug that will match with floral dining room chairs. I would like some pattern, but not sure which way to go. The chairs have orange, gold, spa blue, green and cream and are fairly busy. Our walls are a light gray. Would you pick up a color in the chair? or go with a neutral gray rug or some other neutral color? We do not have curtains. I am struggling?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 31, 2015

      Hi Karmen,
      We can definitely make some suggestions for you! Simply complete this form (don’t forget to include photos and measurements!), and our design team will contact you with a plan and next steps!
      The How to Decorate Team

  30. Reply


    March 31, 2015

    Very insightful & helpful article! Just need a little help in putting it to use in my home. I have a aqua/rain blue sofa & 2 chairs on either end of the sofa both of which have a woodblock leaf pattern in rain blue, gray & yellow/green g gold. I recently purchased curtain panels that have both the rain blue & the gray in a tangier ikat oval pattern. I am now in need of an area rug & am unsure of which direction to go with it. Don’t want to overwhelm with too much pattern. Based on my info is there a particular print/pattern/style I should go towards? Should I go more with a solid rug with a slight pattern? Thank you!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      November 5, 2015

      Hi Lauren,
      We actually offer free design services where our experts can help you design your space. They’d be happy to make some rug suggestions for you. Simply complete this form and our Design Solutions team will reach out to you. Be sure to include photos of your space so we can give you the most helpful advice and tips.
      The How to Decorate Team

  31. Reply


    March 23, 2015

    Would the document brown fabric pattern mix well with the Celine animal print rug in cream? After reading this article I want to say yes but I’m still not positive. What would be a good 3rd print to introduce with these two?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 25, 2015

      Hi Laura,
      We definitely think the Document Brown and Celine rug would work beautifully together. As a third print to complement these two, we would suggest bringing in a taupe stripe, like our Ticking Stripe in Sandalwood or our Suzanne Kasler Flax & Blanc Stripe.
      Happy Decorating!
      The How to Decorate Team

  32. Reply

    Dorothy Arnold

    March 6, 2015

    Thank you for this most helpful article!!! Great insight. I especially love the foolproof formula, and will be putting that to good use in my new home 😉