Designing a room can be tricky. How many patterns should you have in one space? Can you use different styles in one room? How matchy should your furniture be? There are so many options and variables that it can be difficult to put everything together in a way that feels cohesive.
If you’re wondering when to mix and when to match, it can be helpful to know what not to do. Here’s the inside scoop on what you should and shouldn’t mix and match to help you design a room that looks coordinated, but still has personality.
Skip the Matching Sets
There was a time when matching furniture sets were all the rage. While one-stop-shopping may seem like a good idea, the result is a room that lacks character and personality. Instead of a coordinated living room or bedroom set, mix it up with individual pieces that complement each other and express your personal style.
Mix Patterns; Don’t Match Them
Patterns are a great way to add color, personality and style to your home decor. But, too many patterns in one space can result in sensory overload. However, that doesn’t mean you should pick one pattern and use it repeatedly. The days of matching curtains, pillows and seat covers are behind us.
A good rule of thumb is to work with three different patterns and three different colors (two colors and a neutral are ideal). Ensure one of the patterns uses all three colors to help tie everything together. Add areas of solid colors and neutrals between the patterns to create balance and give the eye somewhere to rest.
Never Mix Undertones
Even though we call them neutrals, beiges, grays, and whites still have an undertone. You can have a yellow-beige or a pink-beige and a green-gray or a blue-gray. And, these different undertones do not go well together. If you’ve always wondered why your beige carpet doesn’t match your beige sofa, it’s because they have different undertones.
To ensure your neutrals are coordinated, determine the undertone of the largest neutral item in the room and let that be your guide. Whenever you add another neutral, be sure it stays within that undertone. You can go lighter or darker for contrast but always stay within the same tone.
When to Mix & When to Match Scale
Scale is always a tricky thing to master, especially when it comes to mixing and matching. The rules for scale change depending on what you’re looking at. If you’re mixing furniture pieces, match the scale and keep items the same size.
But, when it comes to mixing patterns, mix the scale and use a variety of different sizes. This helps ensure the patterns don’t compete with each other. Choose a large-scale pattern to be the star and add in medium- or small-scale patterns for contrast.
Don’t Mix More Than Two Styles
When choosing a design style for your home, it’s OK to mix your styles. Whether it’s modern farmhouse or Scandinavian-coastal, mixing design styles can give you a more well-rounded space. But, limit it to two different styles to avoid a space that feels scattered.
Also, try to choose styles with common elements that will work together. For example, it might be tough to make an ultra-modern and bohemian space feel cohesive, whereas minimalist and mid-century are more compatible styles. Select one style to be the boss and use it for 80% of the room; the second style can play a supporting role in the remaining 20% of the room.
Avoid Using Just One Style of Lighting
The struggle to coordinate lighting throughout your home without it being overly matchy is real – especially in open-concept homes that allow you to see multiple light fixtures at once. It’s important to have a range of different types of lighting, including overhead lighting, wall sconces, and floor and table lamps. And, while you want your lighting to look cohesive, you don’t want it all to be the exact same style.
To maximize the look, choose fixtures that have a common element. Whether they’re all the same shape, finish or design style, a consistent theme throughout your lighting will create harmony. However, try to avoid using lights from the same collection in one space as it can become monotonous.
Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, you can start mixing things up around your home. Just remember to mix your patterns and match your undertones!