The homify guide to pattern clashing

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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If you love the idea of getting a little braver with your colour and pattern choices then pattern clashing could be the perfect thing for you to try. It's not even as difficult as it might sound as with a few basic rules in place, you can create eye-catching, gorgeous displays quickly and easily.

Let's turn our backs on minimalist interiors for a little while and move away from the matchy-matchy rooms that we have grown up thinking were the norm and embrace something a bit more fun and outrageous. Come with us as we reveal our top tips for pattern clashing like a pro!

Start with a neutral background

As with any new project, preparation is key and to give yourself the best chance of creating a cacophony of beautifully clashing patterns we think you are best off starting with a neutral background. If you have too much base colour, adding a myriad of patterns could be a little overwhelming and turn your stylish endeavour into a multi-coloured nightmare!

We think that a white room, such as this one from Skandella, offers the perfect basis for adding vibrant colours and patterns as it's basically a blank canvas.

Choose a colour palette

While clashing patterns might sound like a super easy task we think you should pick a colour palette to work from and then stick to different patterns within it. This will allow you to make it clear that the clashing is intentional and part of a wider décor scheme.

We love vibrant hues and what better way to really make a splash? This red, yellow and orange palette certainly looks the part and just imagine how eye-catching it would be with a few different patterns brought into play. We are inspired already!

Don't be afraid to mix small and big patterns

When you are thinking about how you want to go about clashing patterns in your home don't be afraid to think even more outside the box. There is no rule that says you have to use patterns of the same size so why not embrace some small, medium and large ones? 

This kitchen is fantastic as the large pictures on the wall contrast wonderfully with the delicate stripes on the blind and the patterned floor. On paper this scheme really shouldn't work but as a whole it has come together to look exceptionally cohesive and deliberate.

Limit patterns to a maximum of four

Sunny accent cushions:  Household by Atomic Doris
Atomic Doris

Sunny accent cushions

Atomic Doris

Before you get carried away and start thinking that you know everything there is to know about clashing patterns, we want to tell you to limit the number of styles that you use together to four. Less is fine but anything additional will simply look too much and become a mess.

Four different patterns, all in a similar or complementary colour scheme, will look fantastic but as soon as you add a fifth, the waters begin to get a bit muddy and your pattern clashing starts to look like an accident that has come about as a result of trying to follow a colour scheme too stringently. Less can be more!

Use wallpaper for a quick pattern update

A great way to add some pattern into a room is by getting it up on the walls! From here you can select fantastic items to add in that will correspond colour-wise but clash in terms of shapes. Just take a look at this fun kid's room to see what we mean.

The wallpaper looks great with the bed throw and has similar colour tones but the pattern is totally different, as are those on the scatter cushions. You can't deny, however, that everything looks great together. Why not combine a little geometric, some Aztec and some florals? They're great alone so together they must be amazing!

Use animal prints like neutrals

Who doesn't love a bit of animal print every now and then? Whether leopard, tiger or cow print is your favourite, we think they will all work together wonderfully and create a really rich mix of clashing patterns. Imagine an armchair upholstered in leopard print fabric with a tiger print cushion on it. Nothing wrong with that scene, is there? What about adding in a zebra print rug, too? Yes please! 

The natural feel and look of animal print materials naturally lends them to being perfect for pattern clashing and even if people think that your home looks a little like a zoo, is there anything so terrible about that? 

For more pattern inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Pattern Trends. Take a look and see if you might be tempted by something new and unusual!

Are you adventurous enough to try pattern clashing? What colour scheme would you use? We'd love to hear your ideas, below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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