Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Patterned Fabric and Accessories

Patterned Fabric

Pattern is making a big comeback. It's popping up in drapes, rugs, shower curtains, wallpaper, dishes and all kinds of accessories. Major design trends, like this one, start small to give us time to adjust. But I'm already seeing a layering of fabric patterns reminiscent of the 80's. Chintz is in our not too distant future.

If you're hesitant about adding pattern, or not sure how to start, Top Ten Tips for Mixing Fabric Patterns will help you understand the basic formula that helps us achieve balance and beauty.

Nature mixes color, pattern, contrast and texture with perfection. Designers study the subtleties of nature and aspire to recreate its brilliance in furnishings and fabric. The perfect mix of pattern and color can literally make a room sing. 

Breaking down the following examples will give you an idea of how and why these combinations work. 

Image Pottery Barn


  • Burnt orange is the primary color.
  • Mossy green is secondary.
  • All the backgrounds are the same (soft linen white).
  • Suzani and floral patterns are different scales: large, medium, small.
  • Striped pillow is essential to balance the florals.
  • Chevron provides a strong solid, calming the combination along with the paisley and the Ikat (all in orange and white).

Image Schumacher


  • The theme is rustic, organic and earthy.
  • Custom tribal print in black and white.
  • Cowhide rug is a larger scale pattern in contrast to curtain.
  • Pale gray walls (like Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter). 
  • Snow white trim.  
  • More white in the vase and cotton.
  • Dark cotton stems that pop against the window.

Image West Elm

Start with a pattern you love and build from there.

Eclectic Living Room design by Los Angeles Interior Designer betsy burnham

Tips for Adding Patterned Fabric 

  1. Choose a mood or theme.
  2. Use the 60-30-10 rule to balance color.
  3. When adding more than one pattern, vary the scale and include both geometric and flowery designs: Top Ten Tips for Mixing Fabric Patterns.
  4. Give the eye a place to rest with solids in fabric, walls or furnishings.
  5. Use consistent backgrounds (white or off-white).
  6. Relax and have fun.

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Personalize your landscape with patio furniture, designer garden sheds or even a new deck.
For small bathroom ideas, browse photos of space-saving bathroom cabinetry and clever hidden mirrored medicine cabinets.

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Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.