April 30, 2013

Decorating Tips: How to Combine Pattern

If you saw my DIY glue pillows yesterday, you may have noticed that they were kinda colorful. I know this shocked quite a few of you, as this is a total departure from my usual beige-obsessionI've come to a realization. I need a pop of color or two. I think I've avoided color in our house for so long because I just didn't know how to make it look good. I'm learning as I go, and sometimes I need a minimum of ten decorating failures before I succeed. As time has passed I've slowly learned to incorporate color into my decor. Slowly.

And my fevah for color only grows stronger. 
My prescription for cowbell just isn't helping.

I've been experimenting over the past month with how to make multiple colors/patterns work with our house. I've been playing around with fabrics and I've been doing lots of researching online. I thought I would share my findings with you because I happened across some really helpful nuggets of info along the way and I know you will enjoy them, too. 

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern


Here's the deal.
I went to the nearest fabric store and took pictures of different fabrics so that I would have some examples to show you. I think I took pictures of 50 bolts of fabric. And I think the employees thought I was some sort of crazy fabric paparazzo.


If you are wanting to know the info on any of these fabrics, you can find them at Joann's fabric. 

Here's what I've learned so far about adding pops of color & pattern to your decor. Let's cover the basics first, and then we'll look at pretty fabric.

Pick 3
Three is the magic number. (One is the loneliest.) 
Everything looks better in groups of three, and pattern is no exception. I tested this out myself, and it's so true. 2 patterns look great, but 3 patterns combined successfully will change your life. (If your life revolves around fabric. And whose doesn't?)

Vary the scale
The key to combining patterns is varying the scale. Vary the scale of your patterns from small to large. For example, pick a large scale fabric for pattern 1. For pattern 2, pick a fabric that is half the scale. Then for fabric 3, you can use either scale, but mix the colors.

Vary the colors
Pick 2-3 colors. Try limiting the color on fabric 1 and/or fabric 2 and then combining all the colors on fabric 3. This ties everything together. 

Add solids & texture
Adding a solid or textured fabric into the mix will also help bring everything together. For solids, pick one of the colors in your patterns that you love. You can take it one step further by picking a textured solid fabric. For example, if your patterns have an ivory background, try adding a soft, woven ivory pillow to the mix. 

Use friendly fabrics
This is my favorite tip, and the one I had the most fun playing with and learning about. Apparently there are fabrics that just inherently look great together....they're fabric friends. Who knew?
I tested out this theory at the fabric store, and it's my favorite thing ever.

Here are some examples of fabrics that go well together.

1. Damask, Polka Dots, and Chevron

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern



2. Floral, Ikat, and Plaid

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern


3. Toile, Geometric, and Stripes

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

4. Geometric, Paisley, and Solid

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

5. Stripes and 2 Ikats of different scale

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

6. Geometric, solid texture, and floral

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

7. Floral, Stripes, and Houndstooth 

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

8. Geometric, Floral, and Chevron
How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern

9. Floral, Stripes, and Damask

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern



Isn't that so cool? I love having a list of things that work together when I go to pick out fabrics. 
So, what's your fave?
Can you guess which one I'm obsessed with?

Don't forget to pin this post so you'll have it on your next run to the fabric store!




How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern






32 comments:

  1. Great tips and I love the examples you shared! Pinned so I can reference it when I finally take the plunge and add some colorful pillows to our living room!

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    1. Thanks so much Keri! You are such a sweetheart!!! :)

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  2. "One is the loneliest" <-- spewed my drink everywhere over that.

    Kelly @ View Along the Way

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  3. I may end up with exact copies, I looooooooove some of those examples! Beautiful!

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  4. Great post! I'm switching things up pillow wise and it harder than it looks!

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  5. Love your post. Your idea to mix and match fabrics is excellent . Julia
    LaSillaChic

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  6. Hi I am just getting to your Blog and I love it. I am thinking to change my sectional pillows; the back of the sofa are big pillows and it comes with small decorative pillows, but they are the same old boring black, orange and Yellow more like a mustard color. I want to bring color to my living room. what do you suggest due your research that I should do:use a solid color for the back cushions and mix patterns for the small cushions?? please help..
    I forgot the seat cushions are beige.

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    1. I would maybe stick to a solid for the large back cushions and try adding pops of color with a few prints on the small decorative pillows.

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  7. Beautiful fabrics girl! I love color so much and the way you matched the fabrics and made them go. Brilliant!

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    1. Yay!!!!!!!!! Thanks J! Glad I got the stamp of approval!! <3

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  8. Great post! I would love to know the source of the chevron in number 1 and the ikat in number 2 if possible. Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Amanda! I'm not sure of the names of the fabric but they all come from Joann's Fabric.

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  9. If I were to guess your favorite, I'd shoot wildly for selection #8. But the only reasoning I have for that is the soft blues with neutral backgrounds, which incidentally could be said for selection #9 as well.

    But THANK YOU for posting this!! I needed help badly with my pattern choices, and this has made it so much easier! :D

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I love it! You were close! And thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  10. Thank you so much! I visited a huge fabric store earlier today but came out with nothing, but now that I have your guide I'm sure I"ll be able to make some choices.

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    1. You're so very welcome! So glad you found it helpful! :)

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  11. I just have to tell you that I LOVE your blog...and your house. I secretly want to come live in it while your on vacation or something. :) Wonderful post on the pop of color. I am your newest follower and I follow you on facebook as well. I can't get enough of your blog...and your wit. (more cowbell...ha!) Anyway, that probably sounded like a total creeper, but thanks for doing such lovely work and inspiring so many.
    -Ali
    www.adreamcrafter.blogspot.com

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    1. Awwwww! Ali that is the sweetest thing ever! Thank you for letting me know! I'm so happy to have you as a reader!!!! :)

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  12. I adore this blog! I just stumbled upon thanks to Pinterst and haven't been able to tear myself away. I just became a homeowner and am SO inspired by your ideas. I love your humor, your attitude of trial and error, and especially love your thriftiness. Keep up the wonderful work, darling!!

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  13. What a fun post girl. I bet this will be helpful to so many people!!

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  14. First, I already vary my colors and size of patterns similar to what you suggested - so I was thrilled to see that it's actually a trend an not some wacky thing I made up. Second, the part I've always struggled the most with is which patterns to combine. thanks so much for the coherent list! I've been wanting a new look for the guest room and I had one or even two patterns but couldn't figure out a third :)

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  15. Love this post, Virginia. I just started following your blog. I learned years ago that as long as there is a consistent color in your fabrics, that you can mix the patterns. I love how you showed that in this post.

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  16. Just read another blog which used the rule of (big) geometric + an organic (e.g. floral) + a small scale print for pattern mixing. Was interested to see that at least 80% of your selections fit that "rule".

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  17. just came across this via pinterest and this is great! i'm type-a and need it SPELLED out for me. my new "go-to" guide. thanks!

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  18. Best ever post on fabric. Awesome.

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  19. This is the BEST post I've read on mixing and using patterns!

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  20. Love this post Virginia--even though I blog about fabric I'm definitely still learning the nuances of pattern and color mixing! P.S. www.OnlineFabricStore.net carries most of these fabrics too :)

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  21. Awesome! Thank you so much, now all I want to do is redecorate every room in the apartment!!:)

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.

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