How to Mix & Match Patterns Like a Pro

Pillows are consistently listed by interior designers as the perfect way to finish a room or freshen up an existing look. But how do you choose patterns that will complement the sofa, rug and curtains you already have without fighting the existing textiles?

There’s a tricky balance between finding coordinating pillows with enough interest to make the room look put together without crossing the line into matchy-matchy territory. You want the space to look cohesive but leaning too far into one accent colour can start to look a little dated. That being said, decor is highly personal and rules are meant to be broken. If it makes you happy, go for it!!

Below, I’ve put together a few tips I’ve picked up from designers plus some pillow combos to hopefully inspire your next mix. Three throw pillows - one solid, one striped, one patterned
Juniper Linen - Cream Stripe - Block Print

Odd numbers look best

Generally I’ll do pillow groupings of three or five. Keep it symmetrical if you’re going for a more traditional or formal look. When going asymmetrical, I find it works best to keep the colours closer in colour value/tone and fairly monochromatic - this makes sure the pillows read as a cohesive set vs. looking like a random mish-mash.

Three throw pillows in varying tones of grey and white

Sand Stripe

Consider the light/dark balance of the existing textiles in your room

Are you looking to add more contrast and energy, or do you want to keep the room more muted and calming?

Three throw pillows in black and brown shades

Camel Velvet

Mix materials

When planning your pillow grouping, don’t forget about mixing up textures. Keeping the tones monochromatic but varying textures is a super chic way to add interest while creating a calming space. Some amazing textural fabrics to consider are African mudcloth, boucle, velvet, linen and anything with a natural, open weave.

Three throw pillows in grey, black and green

Juniper Linen - Charcoal Check

Limit the number of colours

Keep the number of colours to 2-3 and look for muted and earthy tones. Most designers lately are going for subdued colour vs. the strong “pops of colour” that were popular a few years ago.

Three grey throw pillows

Sand Stripe - Charcoal Tribal

Let one pattern be the star

Choosing one bold print to mix with a solid fabric in a similar tone or textured neutrals is an easy way to experiment with pattern. Most designers advise varying the scale of the patterns to create a pattern hierarchy of large and small prints. For instance, if you have a large scale floral or abstract pattern, try a smaller stripe or block print as your second fabric.

Three black and white pillows
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Still have questions?

If you’re struggling to choose throw pillows, feel free to send me a message. I’ve helped tons of clients overcome indecision and visualize options in their space with a photoshop mock-up of potential pillows.

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