Mixing Pattern and Colour

Mixing colour and pattern
Once you’ve lived with a beautiful patterned rug, you won’t want to go back – we promise!  For one, pattern is very forgiving.  The dining room rug in our home always looks great, regardless of what our toddler may have left behind!  In addition, the richness and warmth of a great rug (even in a modern or transitional space) really grounds a room.  

However, most of us in the west grew up with simple wall-to-wall broadloom or no carpeting at all (Sarah was one of these people).  The thought of so much pattern on the floor (say 8’x12’ of it) can be intriguing, but also a little intimidating.  It’s not uncommon for our customers to express concerns about how to coordinate a patterned rug within their space.  However, mixing colour and pattern with a rug is no different than mixing colour and pattern with fabrics.  In order to create a room that has a pleasing overall feel it is important to play with pattern, texture, colour and scale.

Start with the Rug
We know this is not always possible.  However, when you can begin designing a room from the ground up it is so much easier.  Persian rugs are one-of-a-kind pieces that will last your lifetime.  Ideally, when buying one you want to select a piece that really captures you, and then choose your sofa covering, pillows, draperies, and paint etc. to complement the carpet.  

Keep Patterns Limited and Focused
Few of us have the design skill to work a multitude of pattern into a space without it feeling dizzying.  A good rule is to limit yourself to 3-5 patterns including the rug, and to use the patterns in a descending order of importance.  For instance, a ratio of 60:30:10 is a good guideline for three patterns.

Pattern 1: the most dominant pattern, generally because it is the most colourful, large-scale, or prevalent.  This could be the carpet.

Pattern 2: pick out 2 or more colours from pattern one. Change up the scale dramatically (ideally, either double or half of pattern 1).  Change up the geometry of pattern 1.  If pattern 1 is floral, choose something linear like a stripe or plaid.  If pattern 1 is geometric, a more curvilinear pattern is a good foil.

Pattern 3: should have 2 or more colours from pattern 2 and be similar to either pattern1 or 2 in design, but different in scale.  So if pattern 1 is a large-scale floral, and pattern 2 is a plaid, then pattern 3 could be a small-scale floral or a large-scale stripe.

Pattern 4 (optional): time to play with texture. Perhaps choose a tone-on-tone silk or subtlety patterned velvet.  If you’re design is more casual, coarsely textured fabrics are a good option.  

Pattern 5 (optional): this can be something fun in small doses, such as an animal print throw pillow, another play with texture or a very strong reference to pattern 1 (same scale, colours and geometry) without exactly matching it.  

Most fabric manufacturers create coordinated collections. This really helps narrow your focus to patterns that work well together and with your beautiful rug.  And don't forget the solids: fabulous patterns shine brighter in a room where the eye has a place to rest, such as on a neutral wall or a solid sofa.