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Published: Thursday, 9/17/2009

Multiple Patterns Can Work Together


While paging through interior design magazines, have you ever noticed the amount of pattern that is incorporated into a room? Interior designers often mix stripes, checks, plaids, florals and other patterns into their designs. Even in the simplest of d cor, you can probably find at least two patterns.

It is a common misconception that patterns cannot be mixed in design. The fact is, they can be and often are.

If you are looking to redo a room and are interested in using various patterns, you should start by selecting a dominant pattern. This will be the pattern on which all other patterns will be based. Make sure that whatever pattern you choose complements the style and mood of the room. A zany plaid, for example, may not work in a formal room.

With your dominant pattern in hand, you can then start selecting various subordinate patterns. Keep in mind that whatever patterns you choose should be consistent in color and tone with the dominant pattern. If the dominant pattern is red toile, for example, you don't want to use bright pink polka-dotted fabric. Not only will the two clash in color, but the former will be too formal for the latter.

In addition to keeping the color and tone of your subordinate patterns in line with those of the dominant pattern, you should also use ones that vary in scale and type.

Don't go for big, bold patterns everywhere or you will end up with a very busy room. Mix small and medium patterns with bolder ones. Consider the scale of the pattern against the scale of a room as well. Large patterns can overpower a small room.

Don't use patterns all of one type either, such as florals, or you will end up with a dull room. Mix in some stripes or checks for interest and variety.

It may take some work, but you can mix patterns to create a well-designed room. Just select a dominant pattern that works with the style and mood of the room, and keep the basics in mind -- color, tone, scale and type.

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