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How to Mix Prints & Patterns Like a Pro

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you; I came to live out loud."

- EMILE ZOLA

When scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest for decorating inspiration, you’ll definitely see those eye-catching rooms that feature a fabulous array of patterns, prints, and colors. They're executed so flawlessly that you can’t help but think “how did they do that?!” Blending patterns and prints into your spaces makes a house feel like home with a capital H—and your own home at that. Rather than shying away from the bold end of the design spectrum because it feels like “too much,” let your rooms (and personality!) live out loud with the pieces that speak most to you! Read on to get all the pro tips with our print-mixing primer.

01. Start Small

Mixing prints does not mean you need to immediately jump into the deep end by using Chinoiserie with Toile in the same room! If you’re a little afraid of going big, dip a toe into the pattern pond with 2-3 simple prints in one space. Notice how the central piece of art in Kate Dreyer of @kate_decorates’s dining room picks up every color in each of the patterns—bright pinks, cool blues, and poppy greens. The bold stripes of our Always Greener Indoor/Outdoor rug grounds the space, while the tie-dye blue pillows complement the sea-hued walls. Kate calls this room a “tropical vacation,” and with good reason!

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02. Harmonize Your Hues

Another simple way to incorporate pattern-on-pattern is through a limited color palette. Stick with a curated range of 1-2 colors so that the prints play off of each other without feeling too overwhelming. In the Barbados home of Kit Kemp, the designer and Annie Selke collaborator stuck with green as the primary color and incorporated various shades of the verdant hue into this incredible outdoor scene.

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03. Neutral Base = Breathing Space

Building off the idea of a limited palette, this bedroom is positively bursting with brilliant colors and bold patterns—yet it’s all grounded through a neutral rug! While the vibrant pinks and oranges of the Far Out floral bedding plays off the large polka dot curtain of the same hues, having a neutral carpet where the eye can rest takes this room from too much to just right.

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04. Use Texture as a Print

We at Annie Selke believe that textures are a print! Using various materials (rattan, leather, metals) with different textures can add that one-of-a-kind touch to your space. One of our favorites to use is grasscloth because it adds subtle dimension and depth that elevates every space. Take this living room designed by Jewel Marlowe—the grasscloth wallpaper creates the perfect textured background for a myriad of other materials and patterns.

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05. Mind Your Scales

When mixing and matching a variety of patterns and prints, the most important thing to consider is the scale of each one. Think in terms of categories: small, medium, and large. You never want to use too much of the same size in one space because it can overwhelm the eye. Megan Zietz’s colorful Queens, New York, apartment is the perfect example of this idea: the tropical-themed wallpaper is large-scale, our Jelly Roll rug is medium-scale, and the subtle stripes of the neutral runner are small-scale. Layered together, they all work to create a powerful (and stylish) space.

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06. And Sometimes, Just Go All Out!

Less can be more, but there are times when more is definitely more! A major decorating trend we’re seeing is the all-over pattern look. Sometimes you fall head over heels for a pattern and just want to use it everywhere—think walls and upholstery and even custom lampshades! Here, our amazing stylists used a connective color thread of lush greens and vibrant reds from floor to ceiling to let this all-over patterned bedroom bloom bright.

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