Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mixing Patterns in 5 Easy Steps - Part 2

First of all, I want to thank you for all of the submissions for our Designer Sample Board contest! We were overwhelmed by your response and wound up choosing two winners at random. There were so many wonderful fabrics that we will try to post sample boards for more entries when we get to the end of this series as well. For now, congratulations to Nancy of Seattle and Steve of Virginia! Their inspiration pieces will be our examples as we learn to mix patterns and colors.

I know most of you have selected an inspiration piece and this week we will move on to Step 2. In step two we will begin to select coordinates by colors. Be sure to consider the colors of your walls and floor, woodwork and existing furnishings if you are not changing those.

The swatch on the left was submitted by Nancy in Seattle. It has a chenille background with tapestry florals. She has a sofa and one chair upholstered in this fabric and has 2 yards left over. The walls are ivory with oak woodwork. 

Nancy is off to a great start. The warm yellow undertone in the ivory painted walls and the oak stained woodwork work perfectly with this fabric. However, Nancy wants to make the room more interesting and cozier. Plus she needs window treatments, has to reupholster a chair and ottoman, and some artwork and lighting to the room.
Choose two or more additional fabrics that each have one of the colors from your inspiration fabric.
Vary the lightness and darkness of the colors in the fabrics. Using the above floral as an example, you might choose a deep burgundy, a toasty bronze gold, a medium to light green tone, and a rich cream (top row below). To take the color scheme lighter, go with the lighter rose color, a golden yellow, and a darker green for accents (second row). Or, mix and match tones depending on your tastes and what is available.

Next we have a photo of a window treatment from Steve's guest room in his Virginia home. He's going for a combination Victorian and French Chateau look, as he describes it. Let's see what step 2 looks like with Steve's classic floral toile as our inspiration piece.
We can stick to the Blue-White-Yellow color scheme shown here, or introduce another color. Either way, here are some color swatches for coordinating fabrics for this beautiful toile chintz. We added few shades of green, but you might choose a different color, such as lavender or rose.

Play with the colors in your inspiration piece. Make color swatches larger and smaller to see how they look in different proportions. Most of all, relax and have fun. Remember how excited you were when you got your first big box of crayola crayons? Approach this project with the same sense of play an enthusiasm and you'll be on the right track.  If you don't find a color scheme that you love with your inspiration piece, you might want to go back and choose a different one. This week's task is to get a general idea of what colors you want to work with. Next week we will look at what to look for in coordinates besides color.

To be continued....


  1. Do you know the name and maker of this fabric? I just purchased a gently used pair of custom drapes and a dust ruffle in this pattern and need to purchase more fabric. Help!

    1. I'm not sure which fabric you are referring to, but these photos were sent by customers. I do not know if the fabric is still available and do not have that info but -- Nancy or Steve - if you see this and you can help provide information about your fabric, please let me know via email or add it in a comment here.

    2. Steve's fabric. ~ Thanks, Tausha

  2. The historic period interior design images given in this blog was really amazing. Thanks for sharing.
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    Interior Decorator in Chennai

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