Why it Works: Pillow Pattern Mix

how to mix pattern

As a designer, I find one of the hardest things for people to pull together in their homes is how to mix patterns; specifically in pillows. Pillows are an essential part of the sofa (side note: I had a professor in college who corrected us every time we said the word "couch". Apparently, the proper term is "sofa", so that is what I call it now! It's been ingrained in me...) They provide texture, color, pattern, and a cozy feeling that make people feel invited to sit down. So when you have multiple pillows touching each other, the patterns obviously have to mix and play well off of each other. Here are my 3 steps for mixing patterns and a little peek into my own sectional sofa with my new pillow covers. Even if you're not in the market for new pillows, these tips will translate well into mixing fabrics in any context.

pattern mixing

1. Emphasis: use more of one fabric, making it dominant, and use supporting fabrics to accent. In this case, my dominant fabric is the floral pattern. It's bold and graphic, so I have one on either end of the sofa in larger pillows. The seaglass color pillow (it has a beautiful subtle gold fleck in it!) is the supporting fabric. I have two smaller pillows of that fabric on either end, layered on top of the floral. As an accent, I have one ikat chevron print in a lumbar.

2. Character: styles of 2 or more patterns need to be compatible in the following ways:

* Color: hues within patterns should be similar (not exact!) or should be complimentary to one another. Repeating colors within patterns helps unify the look.

* Scale: If you have three different patterns for your sofa, they need to be of varied scales. One can be your large scale print (my floral pattern seen in the photos), the second can be half the scale as the largest print, and the third can be a complimentary color palette to the first to and either in a small scale or a solid fabric.

My combination is this:
 - Large-scale graphic pattern for my dominant fabric.
- More subtle, slightly smaller scale geometric print for my supporting fabric.
- Solid sea glass color fabric for my third fabric.

3. Consider patterns that pair well: It's crucial to pair patterns that work well together. Typically floral and geometric prints pair extremely well together (and create visual harmony!) Here are some other favorite pairings:

- polka dots and organic graphics (florals)
- polka dots, stripes, florals
- plaid and paisley
- ikat and polka dots
- chevron/herringbone and floral
- animal prints and fabrics with a tactile texture
- stripes and anything :) 

fabric mixing

Hopefully these few tips will help you pick patterns that mix well together for your sofa pillows and other textiles in your home! If you want pillows like these, check out my etsy shop or email me for custom designer pillows. hello@michaelanoelledesigns.com.