Can You Mix Patterns in the Living Room?

BY |

Patterns are almost impossible to miss because they are everywhere. You can see it in the movement of different wood types, textiles, and shapes all around. Although it’s often a design dilemma, can you mix patterns in the living room?

It is perfectly okay to mix patterns in the living room, transforming the space from flat to vibrant. You can shake things up by using accent pillows and area rugs in different designs. So, be bold with animal prints, embrace stripes, and fall in love with textured upholstery.

This article explores the 60-30-10 decorating rule and whether you can mix patterns in the living room. I also discuss the patterns that go well together and how to combine colors in a living room.

What Is the 60-30-10 Decorating Rule?


This classic home décor rule keeps the confusion and frustrations that come with selecting balanced color palettes for your spaces in check. According to this rule, 60% of the room should be your overall or dominant color. Your secondary color or texture is 30%, and accents take 10%.

60% in a living room would comprise most of the walls, a sofa, and large accent pieces like area rugs. It acts as a background color and anchors the space.

30% in a bedroom could be painted furniture, draperies, or accent chairs. It supports the primary color, and you should use half as much of this color as you did for the dominant color.

10% is the fun portion, and it can give the room character. It includes artwork, decorative accessories, and throw pillows in a living room. A bedroom’s 10% could be candles on the nightstand and lamps on the bedside table.

Creativity has rules, but you can break them once you learn them. 110% is not a bad idea: 60% dominant, 30% secondary, and two 10% accent colors. You can also go monochromatic or create your decorating formula.

Can You Mix Patterns in the Living Room?

Patterns are powerful enough to add energy to a room, change the scale of a furniture item, or the entire room. Incorporating multiple patterns into your décor can be intimidating, but it’s an easy feat once you have the right tricks.

You determine how people experience their living room, so you can mix and layer patterns if you want to. These are the backdrop for the rules on mixing patterns in any space.

Regardless of your mix, aim to give your living room a harmonic vibe. You need the perfect combination of pattern type, size, shape, color, and shade to achieve this. The interior decorating and fashion world uses hundreds of fabric patterns and styles.

You may be familiar with the more popular ones, like stripes and polka dots. Ditzy and fleur-de-lis might be obscure, but they are just as valuable.

Below are the rules to consider when mixing patterns:

Select a few

Pick three or four patterns to build your room’s style around. Patterns bring energy to a room, but too many types without a consistent theme may give you a headache.

Combine different sizes

Ensure to mix up the sizes and scales of the patterns you use. The dominant pattern should be a large-scale pattern, and you can use medium or smaller patterns for accents.

For example, select one large pattern with one small and one medium, or a large pattern and two medium patterns. As a rule of thumb, the dominant pattern in a room should cover the floor.

Use comparable colors

Using distinct patterns in various colors can make your living room feel chaotic. If your color schemes stay within one tonal family, you will maintain variety while creating an aesthetic delight.

Colors with similar hues and intensities are ideal, and the 60-30-10 rule can help you decide.

Explore with contrast

As you stay within your preferred color palette, varying light and dark shades can help amplify the balance you have set. Using contrasting shades can make certain patterns more prominent, which will draw your eyes to specific parts of the room.

Mix complex and simple patterns

If you have selected an elaborate pattern as your dominant, pair it with a simple pattern. This will offer a contrast without diminishing the elegance.

Create a resting space for the eyes

A visual balance is essential when combining patterns. Provide room for your eyes to breathe by using solids to break up the layers of patterns.

If you have patterned curtains, your sheers or shades can be solid colors. You can also spread the patterns throughout the living room, creating a flow.

Know what doesn’t work

Even with the simple rules for mixing patterns and prints, some combinations won’t work for the overall style you have in mind.

Everyone’s taste differs, so finding your perfect blend involves much trial and error. You can place samples together to see what doesn’t burn your eyes.

Be confident in your explorations as you mix and match patterns in your living room.

What Patterns Go Well Together?

Knowing the look you want in a room will help you select suitable decorating patterns. Remember to use at least three designs in a room.

Some patterns that go well together are:

  • Plaid, graphics, and paisley
  • Stripes, florals, and small polka dots
  • Ikat, paisley, and polka dots
  • Animal prints and texture
  • Damask, stripes, and florals
  • Geometric, florals, and chevron
  • Texture, stripes, and toile
  • Herringbone, paisley, and stripes

Sticking to two distinct designs in coordinating shades is a convenient way to pull off a mix of patterns.

How Do You Combine Colors in a Living Room?

One of the most critical decisions you can make for your living room is choosing the ideal color palette. The many options available may make this task daunting, but there’re no mysteries to it.

First, build a mood board. What mood do you want for the living room? To create a vision of your intended design, gather images, samples, fabric, and photographs.

Here are some combinations you can try in a living room:

Blend earthy tones and soft pastels

If you want a fresh, summer vibe in your living room, match a palette of citron and raspberry. A mix of rose shades brings up feelings of sass and luxury.

Warmer tones of gray will add depth, and you can amplify the drama with hints of black or emerald green. Other earthy neutrals you can mix with pink include creamy biscuit tones and mink.

Use jewel-toned colors for your furnishings

Jade green, amethyst, deep turquoise, citrine, and true pink are vibrant mixes that don’t clash. You can try to complement them with white, black, and gray.

Pink and blue make a perfect pair

A rich shade of blue blends well with dusky or millennial pink—pinks at the chalky end of the spectrum. Instead of the jarring vibes of brighter shades, these grown-up pinks provide a sophisticated scheme.

Make a toast to marine blues and botanical greens

Walk into a sea of calm by using marine-inspired colors. These shades of greens and blues will create a coastal landscape. Keep your walls, sofa, and floor in solid colors while layering different fauna and flora patterns on fabrics and ceramics.

Neutral colors can also be beautiful, creating a cozy and cocooning space. A seamless mix of white, stone, and beige hues creates a harmonious palette with an ageless feel.

There are limitless possibilities, but the endgame is to create a fitting space for you. So, spread your wings and design to your heart’s content.

Leave a Comment