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How to Choose Patterns for a Room

Choosing patterns for a room is not as difficult as you might think. There are some pretty basic rules to guide you when decorating with patterns. Of course, the colors from one fabric to another should blend. I'm not talking about "matching", I'm saying they should blend. If the colors don't blend well, it won't matter what the patterns are as they won't look good together.

Once you have chosen the color palette of the room, select one of the patterns. It doesn't matter which pattern you start with, though I would suggest you begin with the pattern you will use most heavily. When decorating with patterns, you really want to be careful about the pattern you will use the most as it probably will command the most attention in the room. Perhaps it will be used on the sofa. Or perhaps it will be used for draperies. In this case, we are starting with a big pattern.

For our next choice in this discussion on how to choose patterns, we will look for a pattern that is either a medium sized pattern or a small pattern. A minor color from the large pattern we have already selected will be featured in the second choice, in this case it will be dominantly gold.

Since the first fabric is basically a two-color fabric, and we have chosen the second fabric from the minor color, we will now look for a small pattern as the 3rd choice and go back to the rust color that dominates the first pattern, although what we wound up with is rather equally mixed with both colors. So altogether, we have chosen a large pattern, a medium pattern, and a small pattern. See how simple choosing patterns can be?

You can be quite confident in choosing patterns for a room if you remember these simple guidelines: 1) Don't put more than 3 patterns in a room; 2) Make sure the colors in the fabrics blend correctly; 3) Make sure the patterns you use are different sizes: small, medium and large. Don't put two large patterns together or too very small patterns together. Graduate the sizes in increments of small, medium and large and it's pretty hard to go wrong.

Lastly, remember that a solid print is also a pattern. So you can mix solid fabrics into the room as well. Some contemporary environments might even demand that all fabrics be solid colors for a really understated look.

Quick Links for This Issue

Choosing the Right Duvet
Cleaning Your Duvet
How to Decorate Big Rooms
Creating Curb Appeal
Home Staging for Curb Appeal
Organizing Your Rooms
Spring Color Schemes
Some Selected Free Tips
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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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