After the year we just had, most of us are ready for a change. Especially when it comes to your home. We’ve been seeing a lot of our same-old, same-old decorating, so why not mix things up a bit in 2021?

We usually announce Pantone’s color of the year in our first newsletter, but this year there’s something different to think about; there are TWO colors that have been chosen. That’s never happened before (we’ve been saying this A LOT lately, haven’t we?!) A dark gray and a buttery yellow share the spotlight. Color experts say that it was the industry’s way of addressing our recent “darkness” and showing optimism for the year ahead.

And if simply changing your color scheme isn’t enough, let’s talk about adding some patterns to your décor. Adding a pattern can add a lot of personality to a room but choosing more than one pattern can seem daunting. Here are a few things to think about before you go boldly forth.

There are four categories of patterns:





Stripes, as well as polka dots, are the easiest patterns to work with when adding to existing solid colors. In many cases, stripes in one-to-one ratios are even treated as a neutral. Choose from classic black-and-white stripes for a timeless, classy look, or add in some color. Tone-on-tone stripes offer a softer effect but still add interest.

Want something to guarantee a pattern success? Use stripes and dots together.

Geometrics are repeating forms that are often simple and linear, such as chevrons. You can mix these angular patterns (with no curves) without concern if you stick to patterns with the same scale. Choose patterns with similar line thickness and mix and match to your heart’s content.

Florals are the complete opposite of stripes. They are curvy and complex. But we’re not talking just flowery prints. Florals include botanical prints like those with leafy patterns. Since it’s true that opposites attract — try combining a neutral angular print (like a simple two-color stripe) with a floral and see your room light up.

Organics can be anything from a zebra stripe to a woodgrain or marble print. Organics are non-geometric. When placed into any design it adds a bit of drama.

But, as you probably know, this is where things get complicated. There are other considerations to think about when mixing patterns to avoid that jumbled look:

COLOR: Patterns mix well if you have a simple color pallet. Choose one color as your focus, then try adding inspirational, patterned accents. Often, if you can just use patterns with the same background color, you’ll be decorating like a pro!

SCALE: The pattern size is especially important. A small pattern might look solid from a distance, but a bold pattern will keep your eye busy, even from a distance. Mixing pattern scales takes skill. We suggest either going all the same size or make them all completely different. Keeping patterns all in the same color theme will also help you blend two, and even three, patterns successfully.

Still have questions about patterns? Apply the 60-30-10 rule. Choose a pattern that will dominate about 60% of your space (like a large area rug). Combine with a second, coordinating pattern that fills 30% of the space (like drapes). Then in the remaining 10% of the space, mix in bold and/or contrasting accents (like pillows).

Repeating one pattern in multiple places can also add balance and visual acceptance.

One last tip: The more you plan to use a pattern, the smaller it should be.