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"Pattern Mixology"

In response to my last blog post, Fanatical about Fabric, I received an interesting message on Facebook from a dear friend of mine.  It read, 

“It was like you were describing me…..Were you?? Haha.  ‘plain couch/plain wall….’ The reason I always end up with plain is because I literally don’t understand how to put patterns together.  I looked at your photos of rooms of different patterns working together and of course it looks lovely, but what do you suggest for someone who is completely design challenged, like me??”
-Dwell by Cheryl Reader

It’s a really great question.  One I’m certain that others would loved to ask.  So, I asked this dear friend if I could use her question as the subject of my next post. She agreed.   So let’s call this one Pattern Mixology.

First you need to understand that using prints in a space is a great way to create a custom designer look.  Think about the difference between the look of a room in a furniture store verses that of a room in your favorite design magazine. 

Rooms to Go

Sarah Richardson Design

It’s the difference between having a “Nice” dwelling and having one that evokes a “Wow!”.   
Note: designers don’t typically buy the “set”. 

So, how do you achieve “wow” status?  Well, I have to be honest.  I think some of it is innate.  There are those who buy the outfit off the mannequin and there are others who like to create their own magic.  However the good news is, if you don’t have that innate ability you can certainly learn to fake it.  Here are five steps to get you started, and it's not even FAB 5 FRIDAY. 

Step #1- Pick a jumping off point.  Doesn’t matter what it is, just start somewhere.  A pillow, the couch color, the wall color, etc.  This becomes the linking factor to which all other materials will relate. 

Step #2- Get out of your mind the thinking that every print has to “match”.  It’s not about matching.  They just need to coordinate and work well together.  Easier said than done, I know, I know.

We can probably all agree that this is a beautiful room.  FYI- Sarah Richardson is the master at mixing fabrics.

Sarah Richardson Design

But if you were my client and I came to you and said we were going to use the print on the lumbar pillow along side the print on the ottoman, you’d think I was losing it.  But look at how well it works in the big picture.

Sarah Richardson Design

Note: Trust your decorator/designer/stylist. 

Step #3- Begin with a large scale print, then add a medium scale and a small scale print.  Make certain that at least some of the colors are repeated.  Remember that sometimes even prints read as neutrals in the big scheme of things. 

Large Scale
Amy Butler Fabrics

Medium Scale

Amy Butler Fabrics

Small Scale

Verona RB Fabrics

Step #4- Don’t go overboard, leave some negative space.  Your eyes really do need a place to rest in the room.  Too much print just becomes distracting.  So, using the example above.  You probably wouldn’t want to put those fabrics on a print sofa. 

See the difference. 

Step #5:  Go for it!  As I’ve said before, what’s the worst that could happen?  Just save your receipts and if something doesn’t quite “go”, take it back. 

Hope this helps.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Great Giveaway Coming on Next Post!

7 Comments - Click here to join the conversation!:

Nadia said... Reply To This Comment

Beautiful post as usual. However, the take home message for me was at the very end. Thanks for the scripture. I needed to see/read/hear this applied in another context. Who would have ever thought interior design and the word. Wow!!!

Dwell by Cheryl said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks Nadia! That's totally my mission. I believe "abundant life" includes dwelling in a lovely place!

Stacey said... Reply To This Comment

Good one, Cheryl. I do like the idea of mixing multiple patterns.

Kim said... Reply To This Comment

Cheryl, I love your post!!! I am inspired each time I read them. As of now, the zebra print is my favorite. I have an entire room dedicated to the "wild life". Keep them coming!!!

Dwell by Cheryl said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks guys!

Liz Flynn said... Reply To This Comment

Cheryl, I love your style tips! You have amazing taste, but I would expect no less from (my dear friend) Chaundra's sister! God bless and good luck! PS: Chaundra referred me to your blog. I'm enjoying it already!

Dwell by Cheryl said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks Liz!! And Welcome!

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