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Tips on mixing with patterns with Vanessa Arbuthnott

By LLM Reporters on 18th May 2018

Mixing patterns when decorating a new home can be a tricky business, especially when you’re not sure what will clash and what won’t. When done right, the final outcome can look fabulous and really turn a dull room into something extraordinary.

Interiors expert Vanessa Arbuthnott has given us her advice on the right way to mix patterns.

1. Layering patterns involves four main elements: colour, scale, shape and texture.

2. Limit yourself to one large scale fabric design.

3. When adding in other prints, don’t be afraid to mix different shapes and sizes together. Florals work well with stripes, as do spots and it is always good to add in some plains in complementing colours.

The Artisan Sitting Room

Artisan Sitting Room

This fresh, summery room was created using different shades of greys and saffrons. Large scale floral cushions work well against a simple stripe on the sofa and I have kept the accessories neutral and to a minimum to show off the fabrics. A statement wall in Scree by Little Greene Paint Company creates a dramatic contrast against the light wood floors and a dark metal wood burner completes the looks.

Fabrics used: Shibori Light Pigeon (BORI-57), Shibori Dark Pigeon (BORI-63), Shibori Light Pigeon and Saffron (BORI-57-52), Simple Ticking Charcoal (TICKING-38) and Origami Pigeon and Saffron (GAMI-19-52)

The Meadow Sitting Room

The meadow sitting room

In this room, I have used colours that co-ordinate but in varying patterns. The large scale of the Songbirds design works especially well for curtains and I have picked out a stripe and floral fabric in the same colourway for cushions against the backdrop of a plain cream sofa. A soft grey wall and a black and white painting don’t fight with the designs and a natural rug keeps the overall look calm.

Fabrics used: Songbirds Buttercup, Clay and Charcoal (BIRD-43-37-38), Wild Rose Buttercup, Clay and Charcoal (ROSE-43-37-38), French Ticking Buttercup, Clay (FT-43-37), Plain Cream (PLAIN-3) and Lapland Stripe Dove, Saffron and Charcoal (LAP-48-52-38)

The Birds and Beasts Sitting Room

The Birds and Beasts Sitting Room

Here is a much bolder and more dramatic room where three patterns have been combined with a stripe and tweed fabric. Using different colourways of the same design gives a fun and eclectic look and the tomato red accessories lifts the charcoal grey of the wall covering and sofa. The larger scale patterns have been used for the wall and curtains and I have alternated with smaller spots, stripes and plain tweeds for the cushions and furniture.

Fabrics used: Bird Hop Charcoal (HOP-38), Pretty Maids Winter (MAID-50), Bird Hop Tomato (HOP-29), Wild and Free Tomato (WILD-29), Wild and Free Limestone and Soft Charcoal (WILD-40-38), Tweed Storm (TWEED-103) and wallcovering in Up the Garden Path Winter (WPATH-50)

All fabrics seen can be found at vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk.