Effortlessly Mix Patterns and Prints Using These Expert Tips

Want to pair florals and stripes like a pro? Designer Brooke Wagner reveals how to mix patterns to create chic, cohesive spaces. 

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Mixing patterns can be tricky business. Although you want to create a space that's modern and full of visual interest, you also don't want your home to seem haphazardly thrown together. So how do you achieve an interior that's more fashion-forward than faux-pas?

Master Bedroom Features Herringbone Textured Accent Wall

Master Bedroom Features Herringbone Textured Accent Wall

Shades of gray and white create a calm and stylish look in this master bedroom. A herringbone accent wall brings texture to the design behind a gray upholstered headboard and layered throw pillows. Two stone-based lamps add a unique touch, and light from the window and French doors creates a natural brightness.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

Designer Brooke Wagner of Newport, Calif. has a few suggestions. The master of mixing patterns and prints, Brooke knows that the right combination can create a space that feels calm and cohesive. To that end, she uses patterns to add subtle color, contrast and movement to solid pieces. The secret, she reveals, is to be strategic.

Establish Your Color Palette

Before introducing patterns into a room, Brooke works with her clients to choose a unifying color scheme for the whole house. “We'll generally pick two or three colors or tones," she explains. “We use those same colors throughout the house and try to really layer them."

Dark Accent Wall Adds Graphic Punch to Chic Bedroom

Dark Accent Wall Adds Graphic Punch to Chic Bedroom

Deep, rich shades of blue adorn the bed and floor in this transitional bedroom, making the space feel like a serene oasis. A graphic accent wall behind the bed adds movement and interest to the space.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

Having a consistent color palette not only encourages fluidity between rooms, but it also creates cohesion among different prints. Each piece will echo similar tones – and so seem less chaotic when mixed.

Accessorize by Size

Because bigger pieces tend to draw more visual interest, two large prints in the same space can seem loud and overwhelming. That’s why Brooke suggests keeping most of the furniture neutral and limiting patterns to accents. Not only are accents easier to mix and match, but they also adapt to changing tastes.

Sunny Rooftop Patio With Cozy Gray Sofa and Graphic Accents

Sunny Rooftop Patio With Cozy Gray Sofa and Graphic Accents

A covered patio creates a more intimate space while still being outdoors. This rooftop patio features a gray sofa decorated with patterned throw pillows, striped window treatments and a graphic rug. A wood coffee table adds a light element against the rich gray tones.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

“Patterns change, trends change, your personal style changes,” she says. “You might get sick of a pattern that you’ve had for a couple of years, and it’s obviously a lot easier to switch out a pillow versus a whole sofa.”

Mix + Build Visual Interest

With that said, consider accents an opportunity to build visual interest. If you have speckled pillows, pair them with a large striped rug or chevron throw to really achieve that chic, modern look.

Open Plan Living Room With Exposed Wood Beams

Open Plan Living Room With Exposed Wood Beams

Space is maximized in this home by opening the kitchen and dining area to the living room. Indigo throw pillows boasting mixed patterns adorn the brown leather sofa and white armchairs. Reclaimed wood beams add texture and warmth overhead.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

“When we mix patterns, we’ll do different sizes and shapes,” Brooke says. “We'd do a geometric and a floral or a stripe and a floral to mix the patterns, so they’re not too close.”

Match + Tie Together

Once you have all of your patterns in play, don't be afraid to match them. Pair the pattern of the shades with the pattern of the pillows, or bring a similar print in through rugs and curtains. In doing so, you'll make your space seem thoughtfully tied together.

Transitional Family Room Is Fun, Playful

Transitional Family Room Is Fun, Playful

Mixed patterns help cultivate a lively, playful energy in this multipurpose family room. Blue accents bring cool color to the room, and a lion's head art piece adds an unexpected touch of fun and fierceness.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

See More of Brooke Wagner's Work

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Country-Inspired Entry

With reclaimed wood floors and a weathered gray Dutch door, this entry boasts a rustic, country-inspired feel. Beautiful white moulding on the walls and staircase adds a touch of classic elegance. 

Rustic Stone Wine Room

A glass-enclosed wine room with rustic stone walls and whimsical accent lighting offers a striking focal point at the end of this crisp white hallway. Variegated wood floors lead up to the gorgeous display.

Powder Room With Textured Accent Wall

Located just off the hallway, this contemporary powder room is perfect for visiting friends and family. A textured accent wall becomes a subtle yet stunning focal point behind the unique mirror and vanity. 

3D Tile Backsplash

A more detailed look reveals a subtle "H" pattern in the 3D tile, which nods to the client's first name. Unexpected features like this give the home a personal touch. 

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Transitional Living Room

Rich blue sofas bring color, personality and comfortable seating to this carefully styled living room. For a contemporary edge, two lucite stools tie the space together. 

Indoor-Outdoor Functionality

A color palette comprised of soft neutrals and cool blues creates a calm, serene atmosphere in this transitional living room. Large sliding glass doors open the space to an outdoor seating area, providing endless options for indoor-outdoor entertaining.

Barcelona-Style Chairs

Two Barcelona-style chairs upholstered in a soft gray fabric provide stylish yet comfortable seating in this beautiful, family-friendly living room.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Kitchen With Lucite Barstools

Lucite barstools with a fun, contemporary design surround one end of the island in this transitional kitchen, creating a built-in breakfast bar for the whole family to enjoy. Reclaimed wood floors warm the space and give it texture as well.

Marble-Topped Kitchen Island

The stunning Delano marble island countertop takes center stage in the kitchen, providing a beautiful contrast to the black countertops. Lucite barstools offer trendy seating without distracting from the island.

Crisp Black Accents

Black details — the perimeter countertops, cabinet hardware, oven and window frames — pop against the fresh white cabinets and backsplash in this stylish kitchen. The island features a striking gray marble countertop for additional contrast and interest.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Solarium With Whimsical Chandelier

Dine with the beauty of natural surroundings but in the comfort of air conditioning in this elegant solarium. A bubble-like chandelier hangs above the stylish dining set, adding a whimsical touch to the space.  

Bedroom With Upholstered Platform Bed

A graphic accent wall pairs with carpet flooring to create texture in this transitional bedroom. An upholstered platform bed adds a clean, stylish touch, and glass French doors provide access to a private patio.

Bedroom Leads to Outdoor Seating Area

A bedroom opens directly onto this small patio with a charming seating area. The outdoor nook is perfect for morning coffee, afternoon tea or after-dinner cocktails.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Bathroom Boasts Gleaming Tile Wall

A metallic brown tile accent wall serves as a beautiful backdrop for the rich gray vanity in this contemporary bathroom. A gold starburst mirror complements the vanity hardware, and a marble countertop adds an elegant touch.

Built-In Storage

A unit of built-in cubbies stretches from the floor to the ceiling in this bathroom, providing ample storage space for towels and other bathroom essentials. The cubbies coordinate beautifully with the door and vanity, which are a similar hue of rich gray.

Classic Staircase

Variegated wood floors and treads lend warmth and rusticity to this classic staircase. White railings, walls and risers keep the space feeling open and airy.

Bright Home Office Feels Calm, Relaxed

Glass French doors allow natural light to flood this home office, ensuring the space encourages productivity. Shades of gray and blue keep the mood calm and relaxed, as well as connect this room to others throughout the house.

Striking Black & White Dry Bar

Textured black tile provides eye-catching contrast against the smooth white cabinets in this bar area. The textured backsplash coordinates with the backsplash in a nearby powder room, giving the home a sense of cohesion and flow.

Chic Master Bedroom

Deep, rich shades of blue adorn the bed and floor in this transitional master bedroom, making the space feel like a serene oasis. A graphic accent wall behind the bed adds movement and interest to the space.

Sophisticated Space With Blue, Gray Hues

A gorgeous blue velvet rug softens the wood floors in this bedroom and adds an element of luxury to the space. Charcoal gray doors pair with white frames and trim for a tasteful amount of contrast.

Master Bathroom With Pops of Contrast

Black doors and a dark tile shower create contrast in this light, bright bathroom, which features beige walls, white cabinetry and white floors. Patterned tile brings movement and interest to the space.

Fun, Playful Family Room

Mixed patterns help cultivate a lively, playful energy in this multipurpose family room. Blue accents bring cool color to the room, and a lion's head art piece adds an unexpected touch of fun and fierceness. 

Jack-and-Jack Bathroom

Two round mirrors provide a visual break from the otherwise sleek, clean lines in this boys' bathroom. The black vanity countertop offers a splash of contrast in the light space, which predominantly features neutrals and whites. 

Hidden Tile Message in Boys' Bathroom

A hidden message in the shower stall serves as a playful reminder in this striking Jack-and-Jack bathroom. A classic black and white color palette keeps the tile work from overwhelming the space.

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Laundry Room With Subtle Shimmer

Stainless steel countertops ensure this laundry room is fit to handle anything. A subtle shimmer treatment embedded in the floors gives the space a touch of elegance, while a dutch door closes the room for the clients' dogs. 

Basement With High-End Western Design

A cow skull adorned with horns dipped in gold centers the reclaimed wood wall in this basement area, making a chic, western statement. Below, a contemporary game table and chairs pair with a built-in banquette for fun, comfortable seating.

Basement Sitting Room Features Wood Wall

A reclaimed wooden accent wall brings texture to this basement seating area, thus balancing the formal design. An orange armchair and patterned pillows add muted yet energetic color to the space.

Outdoor Sitting Room

Classic yet clean-lined seating with rich gray upholstery and soft gray piping makes a classy statement in this outdoor sitting room. The gray hues in the furniture coordinate beautifully with the gray tile flooring.

Backyard Oasis With Pool and Lounge Chairs

A gray tile pool deck surrounds this backyard swimming pool, and wood lounge chairs provide a spot to relax poolside. Trees from the surrounding landscape and a tall wood fence offer privacy.

Side Table and Chairs

Mosaic tile detailing glimmers as the sun reflects off this gorgeous backyard swimming pool. A small wood table with two matching chairs creates the perfect spot for poolside cocktails.

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