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Home furnishing basics: how to mix patterns

01 April 2015

When done right, a mix of patterns looks amazing. But when it goes wrong, well, it ends up looking like one big mess. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can follow to get the balance right. Here’s our guide to mixing patterns like a pro. 

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 Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.  Cushions with different patterns can go together on a sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with floral cushions and bold geometric prints also work with more detailed patterns.
Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa. Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa. Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa. Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa. Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa. Watch as a plain blue cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa.

1: pick a colour

To start things off, pick a plain cushion in a colour your love. This colour will be the common thread, tying different patterns together. 

 Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.  Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.  Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.  Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.  Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.  Watch as a blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushion makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion already in place.

2: go big and bold

For your first pattern you want to go simple but bold. Choose a pattern that picks up the colour from your first cushion. But you can also add other complementary colours too.

 Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.  Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.  Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.  Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.  Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.  Watch as a grey cushion, covered in circles half coloured yellow, half coloured blue makes it way, as if by magic, onto a beige sofa to join a plain blue cushion and blue, pink and yellow geometric-print cushionalready in place.

3: add some detail

This third pattern can be busier, smaller and more detailed than the first because patterns on different scales don’t compete. They actually compliment each other. But be sure to pick up on that base colour from your first cushion. 

And remember: we’re mixing patterns. They don’t need to match. So have fun and experiement.

A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa. A plain pink cushion looks great with two florally decorated cushions with different sized prints on a beige sofa.

A few little tips...

Play around with cushions of different shapes and sizes. It adds extra dynamism and makes it easier for you to customise your look. And don’t try too hard. If you have a small sofa, you don’t need to overload it with cushions.

A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa. A plain black cushion looks great with two black and white cushions with different geometric prints on a beige sofa.

Next steps...

Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can take your pattern mixing up a notch. 

Mix up styles, think floral and graphic. Opposites attract, so try vintage and modern. And crank up the pattern scale from small to medium and large.See all cushions and cushion covers