6 Tips to Successfully Pairing Patterns & Colors

June 27, 2018

6 Tips to Successfully Pairing Patterns & Colors

Do you find yourself decorating challenged when it comes to pairing color and patterns? To help you, we consulted with Barbara Weston, our design and global trends guru, for her easy pairing tips. Get ready to live in a more harmonious and stylish environment.

Tip #1: Keep the color palette either tonal (tints and tones of the same color family) or limited to two colors, and anchor them with a neutral color (white, cream or gray).

This living room epitomizes using neutral shades with a touch of color, but mixes it up with different fabric textures (macramé and velvet pillows), balanced with softer contemporary linen. The pillow color scheme is reflected in the damask area rug, and the art, wooden console, and coffee table unify the room’s décor.


 Go with a tonal palette. 

Shown: Contemporary Neutral Living Room

If you are a fan of bolder colors, “get started by using the two color compatible scheme” says Weston. As shown here, we combined green chevron accent pillows, a green jacquard throw and a bold yellow/gold pineapple toss pillow, with the neutral tones of the cream furniture accents and a wicker resin sofa with soft gray upholstery. The green and gold palm and leaf motif rug allows the colors to come together from furniture to accessories to flooring.

Simplify with a two-color look.

Shown: Outdoor Living Room

Tip #2: Use different scales of patterns so prints don’t compete with one another. Stick to the rule of three: one large, one small and one medium.

Adhering to the rule of three keeps the combination of patterns from overcoming this room. On the couch, the large wishbone leather hide throw pillow is counterbalanced by the smaller gray embroidered triangles on the rectangular decorative throw pillow. The look of the room comes together with the geometric rug in the same tones as the rest of the furniture, accessories and wall art. The look: soft and tranquil, yet visually dynamic.

Try the rule of three.

Shown: Pretty & Polished Coastal Living Room


Tip #3: Work with the size of your space: small patterns for a small space: larger patterns for a large space. The exception: the bath. Here, large-scale patterns can be used for a dramatic effect

“Go bold with the wall decor or the shower curtain to help give a small-size bathroom some character and charm,” suggests Weston. “Add an accent piece, such as wall art or a bath rug, in a smaller pattern with similar colors and your bathroom will look like a decorator spent hours designing it.”



Large patterns make a dramatic statement in a small bath.

Shown: Global Evolution Bathroom and  Odette Shower Curtain Bathroom

Tip #4: Your largest pattern should incorporate all the colors of the other two patterns.

You don’t have to shy away from a bold floral design as long as you incorporate the main pattern colors in your room’s other decor. The rug, curtains and sofa designs easily meld with the classic floral upholstered armless chairs. The outcome: A statement-making centerpiece that visually anchors, not overpowers, the living room.


Floral boldness meets stripes and textured fabrics.

Shown: Classic Floral Living Room

Tip #5: Adding neutral solids will anchor and calm the space.

The accessories set the stage for this room. The neutral sand chairs and stone-color sofa provide a soothing and tranquil space that softens the striking toss pillow patterns in shades of teal and green. The result: a simple look that says your home is comfortable and elegant.

Neutral solids anchor a room.

Shown: A Touch of Teal Living Room

Tip #6: Balance your patterns in the space to avoid making “heavy” visual areas. Be sure to have your pattern colors present in carpets, curtains and throws.

“The solids and patterns in this open living space are in perfect harmony,” observes Weston. The neutral gray, blue and beige solid furniture elements are complemented and casually integrated in the colors of the geometric patterns in the rug, toss pillow, and wall art. The acrylic flower side chairs add a little whimsy while not overwhelming the other décor. The effect: An open space split for two purposes, yet connected through design.


Balance colors and patterns through out the room.

Shown: Open Living Area

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