A User’s Guide to Color-Pattern Compromise

Achieving a balance between your favorite colors and preferred patterns is a cardinal element of interior design. In this guide, we explain the importance of color-pattern compromise and how professional designers are bringing colors and patterns together in a beautiful way.

Photo by Tony Lee

Understanding Color-Pattern Compromise

The colors and patterns you gravitate towards say a great deal about your unique design style. Because we encounter both regularly, our preferences tend to develop instinctively and shift naturally. That said, bringing our favorite colors and patterns together isn’t as intuitive. 

Color-pattern compromise is one of those things that shouldn’t stand out in a professionally designed space. If it’s done correctly, the effect should be seamless and subtle. Below, we offer some advice on bringing color-pattern harmony into your home.

Go With What You Love

While trends can play a part in your color and pattern preferences, the deciding factor should always be what you love. It’s tough to go wrong if you decorate based on what you love, so pay close attention to what catches your eye when investigating colors and patterns. If you’re having trouble narrowing down your pattern options, take some time to hash out your color scheme first.

Devise a Color Scheme

Ideally, you want to pull patterns and prints together that have colors in common. Pay close attention to the scale of the patterns and the range of colors used. Beware of small-scaled patterns with too many colors, which can have a dizzying effect. You should also beware of prints and patterns that incorporate white backgrounds. If the various whites are not in the same color family, they can end up clashing.

Maintain Visual Balance

Too much pattern can easily overwhelm your space. To give your patterns ample opportunities to shine, you need to spread them evenly throughout your design. Also, don’t forget to account for the visual impact of color. A good rule of thumb is to dial down your use of color if you’re planning on incorporating multiple patterns, and vice versa.

Use Odd Numbers

Generally speaking, odd numbers are more visually appealing than even numbers. This rings true in color theory (think the 60-30-10 rule) and when it comes to patterns. If you’re not sure how many different patterns to employ in your space, start with a minimum of three. If you want to add more, it’s best to stick to an odd number.

Add Texture and Shine

Texture and shine (in the form of metallics and reflective elements, such as mirrors) will keep your color and pattern choices from looking too flat. Depending on the style of your room, the textural requirements will vary. For example, contemporary spaces and neutral rooms benefit from more textural interest, while traditional rooms are flattered best by refined, smooth textures. When it comes to metallics, don’t be afraid to mix and match bronze, brass, silver, and gold.

Color-Pattern Compromise in Professional Designs

Using Vishion to Create a Pattern Palette

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