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Monday, September 10, 2012

Mixing Fabrics

     Do you ever look at a picture in a magazine or on the web of a beautiful room and see a great mix of fabrics and say to yourself, "I could never make it look like that!"?

     There are so many great fabrics out there and mixing them up is a trend that has been around for a while. So what are the rules for successfully mixing fabric patterns? Well, the rules that you can find are too numerous to list here. {Basically what this means is, I can make up my own rules! ;) }

      Before I get to my own method for mixing fabrics lets start out really easy.  The most common method for mixing fabrics {and probably the safest} is what Target did here:  {mixing a pattern with a solid color pulled from the pattern}

     Easy right?

Lets take it another step. How about different patterns in the same color family? That shouldn't be hard!

From ElemenOPillows on Etsy


     These three pillows share the same color family and  large geometric designs. 

Now, lets make things a little more interesting:

     Here three coordinating fabrics work together seamlessly. The large floral pattern was the starting point. {Rule #1 Always start with the fabric that has the most colors in it (or is the busiest) and pull from that} If your couch or bed is a solid color and you want your pillows to provide color or contrast~have fun with it! Pick a patterned fabric that goes with your solid furniture and then choose fabrics from the colors in that fabric.

     This picture also demonstrates Rule #2 Scale of the pattern should be different (unless they are the same color) like the gray pillows. In the above picture you have a large floral with a small greek key geometric. This is layered with the medium scale chevron.

     Here's what I did in my living room:

Here I have a striped chair (small scale stripes) with a large paisley patterned pillow layered with the chevron pillow. The geometric pillow works with the paisley because I pulled the chevron color from the paisley.

Does this make sense?


     Here's a simple approach: solid pillows in colors pulled from the surrounding room. This is made even easier by the white solid bedding.

     Layla from The Lettered Cottage hit all the right marks with this eclectic mix of pillows on a solid colored couch. Her starting point was that red floral pillow and from that the colors of the other pillows are pulled. So cute! This is a great example of decor that was put together all at once but it looks like its been collected over time. 

Did I mention yet that rules are meant to be broken? Because I'm just about to break my rule #2.


     Here we have the wavy black and white pillow in a medium scale with two larger scale patterns in different colors. Here the colors are simple and aside from the chartreuse, relatively neutral so it works.

     I hope this helps! If you need more help or want to see some of the other rules out there check out this post from The Handmade Home


     You will find there are as many rules out there as their are cars on the road. What are your rules?

I'm sharing this post here:

Between naps on the porch
Skip to my Lou
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Not Just a Housewife
DIY by Design
At the Picket Fence
Tatertots and Jello
Too Much Time


  1. Very informative. TFS!!

    Stopping by from Skip to my Lou linky party & your newest follower. Here is what I shared this week:

  2. This is super helpful. Thanks for sharing it at DIYbyDesign.

  3. This is such a helpful post on mixing fabrics, Jody--thank you for sharing your tips with us!

  4. This is great! I always get scared to mix patterns and usually stick to boring stuff. But I'm going to be trying it in my living and guest rooms, so I will remember this advice! I would love if you shared this at my Throwback Thursday party. I hope to see you there!

  5. Hi,
    Great post! Very simple and very easy explanation! Now I know what to do.
    Thanks so much,

  6. This is all so beautiful and harmonious, great tips!thanks for sharing, will make good use of them for sure!!

  7. Best information which help many to get it.


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