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A Bold New Hue

Interior Design and Inspirational Blog By Owner and Designer, Carissa Henderson


The Power of Pattern Play and How to Pull it Off

It is no surprise that I LOVE color, but I truly believe what makes my designs stand out is actually the use of pattern and mixing genres! WHO WOULD'VE THUNK IT!?

Color blocking and choosing vibrant palettes in your home are both easy to do, but what makes it magical is the extra layering of elements that feel unexpected and even contradictory to what you may believe is a design "rule". Playing with pattern mixing can feel totally intimidating, and we all know that some patterns can be tacky as hell, but there are some simple rules that, when mixed with following your heart, makes the process soooo much easier to grasp! Below are 4 steps to follow to become a badass pattern mixer.

Play with Scale

This is the most important aspect of pattern mixing. Everything is about BALANCE. Pattern can become overwhelming very quickly if there isn't enough to differentiate the patterns. Let's use this above picture as our guide. As you can see there are 3 different scale of prints used. The statement wall is a very large scale print with thick lines and open black space. In order to soften this look, the tile is a much tighter, smaller scale geometric print, that is also very symmetrical vs. freeform. By choosing a smaller, more uniform pattern in the tile, the eye is able to actually appreciate the details instead of being completely overwhelmed as a whole. Too much of one thing is never good. It's all about variety.

Go for Opposites

When mixing patterns, an important part of this is juxtaposition! If one pattern has a colored background, then pair it with a pattern that has a neutral background. By going for OPPOSITES there is a clear definition of space which is much more pleasing to the eye. So when in doubt, just play opposite day! if one pattern is vertical, have the other pattern be horizontal. If one is super colorful, maybe throw in some monochromatic or black and white. If one pattern has harsh edges or straight lines, have the other pattern be soft or abstract. (This is why stripes and florals make such a great combo!) You can see with the above picture, since the floor was a white geometric tile (white background with harsh and repetitive edges), I paired it with a wallpaper that had a pink solid background and a soft, unorganized pattern with the birds. Both patterns can be considered "busy", but since the patterns are opposite in their nature, they create a dynamic layering effect vs. overwhelmingly crazy. Remember, the key is balance!

Ground it with Solids

Yes, pattern is SO FUN, but don't forget to always have at least 1 solid in the mix. I would say for every 2 patterns, have 1 solid. If the rug and walls are patterned, then make sure to have a solid sofa. And if you have two different patterned pillows on that sofa, then make sure to also have 1 solid pillow! It is as easy as that!

Follow your heart

A huge part of my design philosophy is to only choose items that makes your heart skip a beat! Ultimately, if you are choosing patterns that you genuinely LOVE, then the personality of your home will shine through, whether you are following rules or not. Sometimes, I simply just choose pieces that I love, whether they match perfectly or not. In the end, it creates a space that just works. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's the tea that brings you joy with every sip!

So as you start planning your next design, I challenge you to add in that pattern play and make your home be a reflection of the crazy bold badass that you already are!


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