Most people consider mixing patterns too daring. Many see it done in magazines and see that it works, but have a hard time accomplishing it in their own home. Mixing designs is all about color and scale and of course the homeowner’s comfort level, which is why neutral rooms are so comfortable for most people and why decorating out of catalogs is so popular.
People that like change are more comfortable with bold moves and color choices; If you think decorating is done only once, and you never to change the decor, or at least not for change for several decades, read on; you may be intrigued enough to make a change or two.
Rooms that are painted different colors can avoid the “rainbow” effect, by unifying the rooms with a similar color or the same color in a different value or intensity. The same is true for mixing patterns.
People that feel bold color is too stimulating for them, can still mix patterns, but in more subtile colors and thus create texture.
The rooms illustrated here are a good example of color and pattern. The common color used in these two rooms is bold blue in the rug under the table and in the seating on the left, but the blue is not overpowering, as it is not on the largest surface, the walls. A calm sage green in the living room allows the sofa to be a bold accent, and the rug with the pops of color, including blue, continue to unite the room.
Moving to the dining room, the same blue is repeated, but in a different pattern, a trellis pattern. The walls are a warm golden color, which is repeated in the circles of the rug in the living room, along with a pillows on the sofa.
The previous rug in the dining room was darker and hid a myriad of sins from pets, but it didn’t make the dining table stand out, even against the colorful walls. Now the table stands out as well as the painting, that relates to the rug under the table as well.
The large pieces of furniture are not patterned but solid, allowing pattern on the floors to work, nor does the floor dominate the room because it is typically below eye level. Patterned pillows relieve the solid pieces giving them a little notice and allowing more color relationships.
Additionally, this room is clearly a mix of periods: the architecture is 1930s complete with arches and rounded edges. The furnishings have a decided contemporary feeling, but the only contemporary piece is the sofa, the club chair is from the 1950s and the dining table is from the 1920s, and the coffee table is from the 1920s, but they all work in harmony because of color and scale.
You can make small changes using less bold colors to begin with and build on your design as you feel more comfortable.