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Guide to Mixing Textures and Patterns in Home Design

0 14-06-2024
AlexRom 44
Textures and Patterns in a living room

Decorating a home is much like painting a picture. Each element adds a stroke of color, texture, and pattern, and when these elements are combined skillfully, they can transform a bland space into a visually interesting and cohesive environment. Mixing textures and patterns is one of the most effective ways to add depth and character to your home. However, it can also be daunting if you're not sure where to start. This guide will walk you through the essentials of mixing textures and patterns, helping you to create a balanced and beautiful space.

1. Understand the Basics of Texture and Pattern

Before diving into mixing, it’s crucial to understand what textures and patterns are:

  • Textures refer to the surface quality of an object which can be seen and felt. Textures can be anything from smooth and shiny like silk and satin to rough and rugged like burlap and raw wood.
  • Patterns are repetitive designs, which can be geometric (like stripes or chevrons), organic (like floral or animal prints), or abstract.

2. Start with Color

Color is the underlying element that ties different textures and patterns together. To keep your space cohesive, choose a color palette before you start mixing. You can opt for a monochromatic scheme with varying shades of the same color, or a complementary palette with colors that are opposite on the color wheel.

3. Mix Patterns with Care

Mixing patterns is an art. Follow these tips to ensure harmony:

  • Scale and Size: Combine large-scale patterns with smaller ones to avoid visual confusion.
  • Style Consistency: Keep to patterns within the same style to maintain a thematic consistency. For example, a vintage floral can be paired with a delicate damask.
  • Limit the Number of Patterns: As a general rule, three different patterns in varying scales can create a balanced look without overwhelming the space.

Living room patterns

4. Balance Textures

The key to mixing textures is balance. You want to aim for a mix that invites touch and adds visual weight without overwhelming the senses.

  • Combine Opposites: Pair rough textures with smooth ones to create contrast. For example, a soft, plush velvet throw looks great on a leather couch.
  • Layering: Layering textures can add depth to a room. Think a sisal rug under a glass coffee table or soft linen drapes over a wooden window frame.

5. Use Accessories Wisely

Accessories are your best tools when it comes to mixing textures and patterns. They're less of a commitment than larger furniture pieces and can be easily swapped out if you want to change your decor.

  • Cushions and Throws: These are perfect for introducing patterns and textures without much risk.
  • Wall Art and Rugs: Use these larger elements to set the tone for smaller accessories.

6. Keep the Room Functional

While aesthetics are important, functionality should never be compromised. Ensure that the textures and patterns you choose do not make the space uncomfortable or impractical. For example, a high-pile rug might not be suitable for a high-traffic area.

7. Experiment and Evolve

The most beautiful spaces are those that evolve over time. Don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations of textures and patterns. What might not work at first glance could turn out to be the perfect fit upon trying out different configurations.

8. Follow the 60-30-10 Rule

A useful tip when designing any space is the 60-30-10 rule. This decorating principle suggests that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% a secondary color, and 10% an accent color. This rule can also be applied to textures and patterns:

  • 60% Main Texture: This could be your walls or a large area rug.
  • 30% Secondary Texture: This could include upholstery or curtains.
  • 10% Accent Textures: These are your throw pillows, decorative items, and art pieces.

Applying this rule helps create a layered effect that feels intentional and professionally styled.

9. Consider the Impact of Natural Light

Natural light can dramatically affect how textures and patterns appear in a room. Brightly lit spaces tend to make patterns look more vivid and can enhance the depth of textures. On the other hand, in a room with less natural light, textures and patterns can appear subdued. Use glossy textures and lighter patterns in darker rooms to reflect light and enhance visibility. In very bright rooms, you might want to use matte finishes to soften the light.

10. Anchor the Room with Neutrals

While mixing patterns and textures can add interest and dynamism to your space, it's important to have some neutral areas to give the eye a place to rest. Neutral walls, floors, or large furniture items can help balance out the visual weight of bold patterns and rich textures. This doesn’t mean sticking to whites and beiges—soft blues, greens, and grays can also serve as calming neutrals.

11. Use Textiles to Your Advantage

Textiles are perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to experiment with patterns and textures. Curtains, rugs, throws, and cushions in various fabrics can change the feel of a room without requiring a complete makeover. Silk and chenille can add a touch of luxury, while cotton and wool provide a more casual, cozy feel.

12. Play with Wall Decorations

Don't forget the walls when mixing patterns and textures. Wallpaper, particularly those with tactile surfaces like grasscloth or beadwork, can add significant depth to a room. Similarly, a textured paint finish or decorative wall hangings (like macramé or woven baskets) can add layers of interest to your interior design.

13. Remember the Power of Repetition

Repeating patterns or textures in various parts of the room can unify the space while still allowing for diversity. For example, if you have a geometric pattern in your rug, you might echo that pattern in the shape of your coffee table, or in the prints you choose for your curtains.

14. Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, while there are guidelines to help you mix textures and patterns effectively, personal taste should lead your design choices. Trust your instincts and choose combinations that make you feel comfortable and happy in your space. Home is, after all, a reflection of those who live in it.


Mixing textures and patterns in your home decor is a dynamic way to express creativity and individuality. By understanding the basics, using accessories as your playground, and balancing your space with thoughtful design strategies, you can create a visually engaging and harmonious home. Remember, the best interiors are those that evolve and adapt, reflecting the personalities and lives of their inhabitants. Happy decorating!


Qu├ębec, Canada

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