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An easy way to ensure your patterns will mix is to choose coordinating colors. Red and green are complementary colors because they are directly across from each other on the color wheel, but moving down one tint to pink adds a fun twist to this color palette. Yellow and green mix nicely because they share a common hue. Mixing solids and patterns in pink, green, and yellow creates a pleasing color scheme.
Cottage style has quintessential patterns that help define it. Choose three to mix within a room to create a look you'll love. Plaid seat cushions, a toile Roman shade, and a country French floral on the lampshades create a playful cottage look in this dining room.
When mixing patterns in a wallpapered room, using all the mixing rules is very important. Start with scale. The wallpaper pattern should have a scale all its own. Whether large, medium, or small, other patterns in the room should not match its scale. Here, the small-scale pattern is on the wallpaper and the large-scale pattern is on the area rug.
A living room with three sofas in three different patterns may sound like a mismatch, but this furniture arrangement owes its success to a pattern mix with one common hue: red. The cozy color appears as the background color in the floral and striped upholstery and in the accent pillows on the white slipcovered sofa.
Pattern scale brings the elements in this room together. Although the window treatment pattern is large, the floral also has large open areas of white space and a trellised vine that adds a sense of motion. The pattern is an airy contrast to the midsize linear stripes on the walls and the narrow stripes of the vanity chair.
Plaid is a smart place to start, and can help make pattern mixing easy. It comes in a variety of colors, often contains multiple colors to pull out in coordinating fabrics, and mixes well with most patterns. In this Swedish-inspired bedroom, the faint stripes in the wallpaper and neutral hues of the floral fabric on the chair give a little pizzazz to the neutral bedroom while allowing the plaid bedding and window treatments to stand out.
Not everything has to match from pattern to pattern. Instead, take advantage of colors that complement each other well. In this living room, the blue background of the area rug and the greens of the artwork coordinate beautifully but aren't matchy-matchy. Neutral walls and upholstery help the accent pillows pop. Their golden hues are drawn from colors found all around the room.