3 Easy Steps to Mix Patterns & Textures Like a Pro

3 Easy Steps to Mix Patterns & Textures Like a Pro

What is the main reason you hire an interior designer? To create a cohesive design that mixes colors, patterns and materials and create a cozy space. It is my FAVORITE part of my job.  I love to create inspired designs that are functional for every day life with a busy family but so pretty that your home is the envy of all of your friends.  The best part is- I do this on a budget that people can actually afford because I truly believe that everyone can have a well designed home. 

In this post I'm going to share with you my tips to create a designer inspired look for your living room. You will learn how to mix match patterns and fabrics as well as finishes and paint. I will teach you my process to create your own mood board to visualize your new space. I am also including 6 mood boards to inspire your color palette and pattern play!   You may choose to get samples and create this board with the real materials or you can make it digitally using Powerpoint (I use Photoshop but Powerpoint will work just the same for you here too!) If you are going to use pictures from you actual space on your digital mood board (vs ordering swatches) you should take them all during the same time of day (the lighting will be consistent) with as much natural light as possible so the images aren't too dark and it will read better.  

Always think of your room in layers, doing this will break it down into small manageable pieces and create depth in the overall look. When I'm designing I always am looking for contrast. Here is an example- working from the floor up. If the flooring is dark- I choose a lighter rug (or something with bolder light colors and some darker if you have kids or pets). If the rug is lighter- the sofa can be darker. If the sofa is darker the walls can be lighter- and so on. 

If you enjoy reading this post check out my 5 Easy Steps to Decorate Your New Home and follow my decorating journey as I move from NYC to Florida!


Show us what you are working with!

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Flooring Color 

Chances are you aren't putting in new flooring so lets work with what you have.  Maybe its carpet, or wood or tile- whatever it is it will be crucial to choosing paint colors and other selections. 

Paint Color

  If you have a paint color that you aren't wanting to change right now- get the name of it and either digital paint swatch (for your Powerpoint board) or a paint chip and  add it to your mood board.  If you are ready to refresh your paint you can wait on selecting the paint until the end. 

Large Furniture

Starting with the largest piece of furniture in your room (I'm assuming you are working with your existing sofa or sectional and adding other elements to refresh the space), use this piece as your jumping off point for the entire room.  Ideally this is a neutral color so you can change out your pillows and other textiles as you get tired of them. 

Then, incorporate any other furniture you plan to use in the room.  Maybe you have a nice marble side table, or a wood coffee table. Whatever it is, let's be sure to include the finish or fabric in our mood board to inspire other textures that we can play off from.  If you are making this digitally you can take a picture of the finish and put it on your board or you can find a sample online that looks very similar.

Metal Finish Colors

What metal finishes do you already have in the space that you love?  If you don't have outdated pieces and like what is already in the space, let's incorporate that into the design. For example, maybe you have a silver chandelier or a console table with brass pulls.  Try to pull any metal material in the space to incorporate into another area- we will use this in layer 3.

Tile and Countertops

In open concept spaces you will want to include your tile backslash, counter top, flooring (if different) and cabinet color. 


Add some color and pattern

Coastal Farmhouse Mood board

Let's play with some patterns, colors and textures! For some people this can be the scariest part- but it should be the funnest! You can't really go wrong here so if you are afraid of making a mistake don't be, you will pull it off, I promise!  Since pattern is typically not a large part of the room have fun with it, patterns should show your personality.  So if you find a fabric or color that you are in love with- use that as a starting point, weather its a pillow or an accent chair. 

Again, we want to start with the largest pieces and work our way to the smaller accents.  So if you are needing an accent chair or upholstered ottoman, choose that before the pillows.  Assuming your sofa or sectional is a solid color you can either choose a pattern or solid color accent chair- totally up to you! Just don't choose a fabric that kind of looks like your sofa but isn't exact. It will look like you tried to match and missed the mark. So instead look for contrast.  Think of my contrast example I mentioned above, when your sofa is dark you will want to add a lighter pillow as the largest pillow towards the back of the arrangement. In front of the lighter pillow you can add a pop of color and another neutral. Create contrast with every layer- go light, dark, light dark.  Add a fun pattern, a soft texture or a bold contrast, choose what speaks to you- this accent says a lot about you. In the example above I've added a blue and white accent chair that contrasts the gray-linen sofa. The undertones of the accent chair are the same as the sofa fabric so they connect the two pieces together. This isn't a must, but it is a nice added feature to make the room more harmonious. 

Mix pillow patterns and textures. There is no hard and fast rule for this, but I like to mix patterns using at least one element the following formula (if not more): 

1 Large geometric pattern

1 Medium sized pattern

1 Small sized pattern

2 Solid colors (mix textures, linen, sheepskins, velvet, woven, etc)

Example on board above the large print is the blue Ikat fabric, the medium pattern is the light blue spiral, the small pattern is the navy blue dotted. The solid patterns are the white velvet and the textured linen (above the paint sample). 

This ratio will will be changed depending on the amount of pillows needed in the space.  If you want a lot of variety you can duplicate this arrangement for added depth and visual interest. Or if you are looking for a simplified option you can use any combination with 3 of the above. Then duplicate it on either end of your sofa (or for an L shaped sectional 3 times).  


Pulling it all together

Modern refined farmhouse mood board

Lastly, we want to pull it all together with the paint and fixture finishes in the lighting and accessories. 


I love to incorporate one focal wall in each space. This doesn't have to be your TV wall! Depending on your room layout you can create a focal wall on a different wall to draw your eye away from that monstrosity of a TV that your husband insisted on getting (or cover it up with custom barn doors and a built in bookcases on either side, or try to hide it in plain site by adding a dark wall color on the same wall). I find that the best way to do this is to either add a large piece of art or a bold accent color. 

To pick your colors you will want to choose either a bold accent color from your pillows- something you won't grow tired of quickly. For example, in the design board above- the green paint color can either be the lighter Benjamin Moore "Sage Tint" or "Woodland Green". This was pulled from the most vibrant pillow color.  The other walls will be more subtle and will depend on your sofa color (create that contrast) and lighting in the space. The overall paint color should pull the undertones from your color palette. In the board above the neutrals are all more of a greige color because the flooring has a soft honey (to simplify- it's beige) undertone and the tile has both beige and gray elements. YOU CAN MIX GRAY AND BEIGE! Who ever made up the rule that if you add gray to a room you can't add golden beige touches totally lied! As a designer one of my favorite things to do is mix warm beige (with golden undertones) with cool grays. 

You don't have to add a vibrant accent wall (or one at all for that matter!). You can choose a light paint color and a darker paint color on the same paint stick - as long as its the same color family. For example, instead of adding the Sage Tint or Woodland Green you can use Benjamin Moore "Horizon" with "Half Moon Crest" or one shade darker "Sabre Gray". 

Metal Finishes

These finishes apply to any metals in the space. This may be nailheads, overhead lighting, table/ floor lamps, side table or tv stand pulls- to name a few. Design is about repetition by using the same tones in a variety of ways. With that being said- finishes don't have to match! I know back in the day everyone was always told to match woods and metals (note the dated dining sets that are a sea of wood that everyone is now painting white or gray to soften up).  I like to mix silver or brass finishes (brushed, polished, etc.) with black or oil rubbed bronze.  I am also obsessed with mercury glass because it works with so many different metals and adds a soft and timeless element to the room.  REMEMBER ITS OK TO MIX, that is what gives the room depth!

Other Decor Tips

Add the colors you love!


You do not have to add any color if you don't want to! You can go with a refined color palette of various grays, white, cream and blacks. Just play with the patterns and textures to create a cozy and sophisticated space. In the mood board above you will see a mixed neutral color palette- notice the grays and beiges.  The flooring has a soft honey undertone with a dark (almost black) wood grain.  This was mimicked in the fabric selections and other textiles found in an open concept. 

Add Fresh Flowers!

Add a pop of greenery, color and life to your space with fresh or faux floral. My husband actually sends me fresh flowers every other week (since I work from home) from 1-800-FLOWERS and I love to mix it up every time!

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Connect the Details 

Always look for connections in patterns, textures and finishes. When you can create repetition in subtle ways through small details then you can bring the design together in a more harmonious way.  Of course you want to tie the larger items together by using contrast but small things go a long way.  In the board below the accent pillow with white, seafoam and pewter pulls everything together.  The other pillows embody the accents colors from the pillow, fixture finishes, window treatments and the paint selections.

Seafoam farmhouse mood board

Need Design Help?

The three steps above will help you to build your design over time with the use of layers and your existing furniture.  But, if you find that you still need help with your design I got you! I am an online interior designer and I have helped hundreds of families across the United States with my online interior design services. I offer an array of cost effective design options depending on what you need help with.  

What is Your Refined Farmhouse Style?

Take the style Quiz and find out! Then follow the Pinterest boards for daily design inspiration! 

About Me!

Hey! I'm Jenna! I'm a mom to a beautiful baby girl, Ellie Grace. A wife to an amazing man and incredible chef. And an Interior designer that believes that everyone can have a beautifully designed home that they are proud of! I design for families across the country to achieve functional and beautiful homes that change the way they live in their home. Learn more about me here!

Hey! I'm Jenna! I'm a mom to a beautiful baby girl, Ellie Grace. A wife to an amazing man and incredible chef. And an Interior designer that believes that everyone can have a beautifully designed home that they are proud of! I design for families across the country to achieve functional and beautiful homes that change the way they live in their home. Learn more about me here!


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3 easy steps to mix patterns like a pro
3 easy steps to mix patterns