My Top 6 Tips for Mixing Fabric Patterns

A great question was recently posted on my Facebook page and I thought this would be a fun way to respond and share my answer. I would love to hear your favorite tips on mixing fabric patterns too, how do you begin and tackle a home decorating project.


“Any helpful hints on decorating/mixing stripes, prints & solids. The core of my house is earthtones. Any help & suggestions would be great!” – Pamela

Mixing Fabrics Patterns Texture and Scale


First of all, I typically like to start my projects by finding the perfect inspiration piece. It can be a piece of artwork or an area rug but more times than not….it’s FABRIC!

I can usually spend hours looking at fabrics and it doesn’t take look to pick out a couple that you absolutely love. So that’s where I start…..

Tip #1: I find a large scale pattern that I absolutely LOVE. That’s where I start. I find something that speaks to me, maybe it’s the motif or the color or a combination of the two.

Even if I don’t plan on using the fabric as the main focus, I still start there. You may not like large busy patterns in your home but it can still give you a great palette to begin the process. You could use the fabric as accent pillows or not at all. Use it as a base to pull all other fabrics from. I have done that too and it works great!

Tip #2: Gather and collect coordinating solids, stripes, geometrics, metallics and anything else you see that you like. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I see home owners make. They only grab 2 or 3 options when looking at fabrics.

Pull together more options than you think you’ll need for the space and don’t think about where they will go or on what…..just collect at this point. When you get home, you will need options.

Tip #3: Mix up the scale of your patterns. If you start with a large scale print, add in a medium geometric or stripe with a small scale woven.

Mixing Patterns and Fabrics

Robert Allen Fabrics

Tip #4: Mix linear fabrics with organic patterns. Pay attention to how you are mixing stripes, both horizontal and vertical. If everything you put together is running vertically, substitute in a couple swirly or organic patterns or throw in a horizontal chevron to mix things up.

Tip #5: Mix in several different textures, sheens, and weaves. If you are building a palette of all solids, this can be especially important in adding interest to your space. Pay attention to your fabric textures. Mix large weaves with metallics and plush chenilles. Don’t be afraid to try something new and mix it up.

Tip #6: I love a palette of both warm and cool colors or tones. It doesn’t have to be an even mix, but there is something about a space that has a balance that just feels good.

Since you will take the time to gather more fabric swatches than you could ever need, it will be easier to substitute and try different combinations. Don’t feel like you need to make your decision at the fabric store. Take the time to gather and live with your swatches first before you commit.

What are your best tips to selecting and mixing fabric patterns. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Please leave a comment below and share what works for you.




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  1. Jil McDonald, Jil Sonia Interiors on August 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

    Perfect timing for your post Jennifer! I have a client and we’re just starting decorating her living room. I brought over a ton of fabrics – only later did I realize I should have explained that we’re going for a colour/fabric concept first, for inspiration, then we’ll decide which couch, chairs, pillows to add!
    Great post!

  2. Jen Duchene on September 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm Reply

    Great post on mixing up patterns on fabric and how to organize the design process. Since most people are overwhelmed with choice starting with an inspiration piece in art, nature etc can simplify the color choice in fabric first. Then looking at textures and patterns in that range can turn up a wonderful layering in the feel.

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Interior Designer, Interior Decorator in Georgia | Full Service Interior Design and Decorating in the Atlanta Metro Area, Alpharetta, Roswell, and Cumming including Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Lake Lanier | Jennifer Reynolds Interiors delivers exceptional service with a boutique approach.

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