Sep 192013

pattern in color gradation

You have seen the beautiful photos of rooms with multiple patterns placed throughout but does the thought of mixing pattern in kids’ rooms intimidate you? Well, take heart. Mixing patterns is much easier than you think…..if you know the rules.

Here are 7 basic rules to follow that will show you how to mix kids’ rooms patterns…..successfully!

Rule #1 – Use 3 Different Patterns

It takes using at least 3 different patterns in the same space to make it interesting but try to not use more than two large, contrasting patterns in one room—causes visual confusion. This room does use two large patterns but one (quilt) is bold while the other (wall) is subdued.

how to mix four patterns in teen bedroom
Rule #2 – Lead Pattern + Two Additional

Choose one print that you love to be your lead pattern then add two additional patterns in complimentary colors and slightly smaller scale. Your lead pattern usually inspires the entire room design from which other patterns are derived.

girls bedding set with 3 patterns
Rule #3 – Placement of Emphasis is Important for Compatibility

Establish emphasis but using a larger scale of one pattern. Placement of the large, bold stripes creates emphasis in this pattern mix while smaller patterns in the same colors serve to establish a visual connection.

girls pink room with geometric patterns
Rule #4 – Regular Checks, Stripes, Geometrics Become Easy-to-Mix Neutrals

Geometric patterns like checks, stripes, and dots are easy to mix, almost becoming neutral in a scheme but only if the patterns are regular. This room uses seven different patterns and except for the wallpaper and dark blue bedspread, all patterns are “regular” or uniform geometrics.

girls bedroom with 7 patterns
Rule #5 – Spread Pattern Throughout the Space

It is important to spread the patterns used throughout the room, not just a pile of patterned pillows on a bed. Unity and balance are achieved when patterns are used in all areas of the room.

striped canopy and chinoiserie pattern wall
Rule #6 – Keep Tones the Same

Use one pattern that is larger and bolder than the others but keep the tones the same to create a mixture that is pleasing to the eye. Tone refers to a reduction in color intensity when gray or a color’s complement is added to the mixture. Keeping all patterns the same tone adds emphasis to the patterns, allowing them to work together.

multi pattern pillows for kids vintage room
Rule #7 – Color is an Effective Link

Color is important part of mixing patterns effectively. The three patterns above are very different from each other but color ties them together thus fostering harmony between patterns. Shared colors link disparate patterns together but colors must be closely related to combine successfully.

mixed pattern fabric for kids room


Watch the Kids’ Room Pattern Essentials in design basics to cover the following:

More Wednesday stuff—animal patterns, argyle, paisley, polka dots, plaids, chevrons, and diamonds.


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