How to Mix Fabric Patterns with Confidence

A while back, I discovered that the images in most of my earlier posts were gone {After I updated my wordpress account.}  I was so disappointed back then, so I decided to take those posts down to be fixed at a later date . Well, today’s post is one of these earlier posts that I have written when I first started blogging almost a year ago {I can’t believe how fast that went and how far I came!!}.  It is now updated with new and better images, and hopefully clearer explanation.  

I know many people who are still using those toss pillows that came with their sofa when they first bought it. I was guilty of that until I learned how simple it can be to mix fabric patterns and create my own sofa pillow collection. You too, can add style and character to your home with some basic knowledge of pattern mixing. I am going to use toss pillows as the guide to pattern mixing, but you can apply these tips when you coordinate all fabrics in your home.

There are five elements to successful fabric mixing : pattern, scale, color, texture, and style.

1. Pattern is the repeated motif on the fabric. Fabrics come in different design patterns; such as Stripe, Check, Floral, Geometric,Toile, Paisley, Damask and Novelty, to name a few. You want to vary the pattern to add interest to your design. For example, floral against geometric. 

2. Scale is the size of the pattern which can be large, medium or small. You also want to vary this for added interest. Limit yourself to one large and one small scale pattern in a grouping so that you don’t overwhelm the space. 

3.  To create color harmony, you need to unify the color within your fabric grouping. In the example below, pink is the dominant color in one fabric and the secondary color in the other.  

Also, an understanding of color schemes will help you create color harmony within your fabric grouping. In the example below, blue and orange are complementary colors on the color wheel.

4. Texture is the feel of the fabric, either smooth or roughIt can be determined through the physical touch or the visual reading. Can you distinguish between the soft and rough fabrics below?

 You may also vary texture to create an interesting design as seen in the image below where leather chairs are combined with a fabric covered sofa and toss pillows. 

5.  Style refers to the style of the room. For example, You may not want to have a number of lace toss pillows in a modern style family room! However, since I am a fan of the eclectic style, I am going to suggest that you break that rule! Yep! I believe that a mix of styles add interest and excitement to any room. what do you think?

House Beautiful 

Note: the key word in design is balance...if you can balance a room with different styles, then go ahead and break rules.  

Style can also refer to the formal or casual style of your room. For example, silk and velvet fabrics add a touch of formality to spaces because of their soft and delicate nature. 

Northwest Quarterly  

So, how do you apply this information to your throw pillows? Next week I will share my experience in selecting toss pillows for my sister in law’s family room. Stay tuned! 


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