How to Mix Patterns and Textures Like a Pro

Want to create a beautiful space where your style can shine? One rule: forget the matching

Designer Ben Leavitt’s expert advice is sure to remedy your decor woes

Want to create a beautiful space where your style can shine? One rule: forget the matching. “People always think everything needs to match, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Ben Leavitt, lead designer at Fox Design Studio.

In fact, incorporating a number of different elements is what will really add warmth and character to your home in the long-run. “Mixing really great textures or patterns can help blend your whole house together,” Leavitt explains. “Your space becomes more modern and interesting, but still super comfortable.”

Ahead, the designer shares his tips for expertly mixing patterns and textures for a unique and standout look.

Complement Existing Elements

“When it comes to decor, complementary is your friend,” notes Leavitt. Consider your home’s furnishings and existing finishes and incorporate a number of textures and patterns to help balance them.

Harder surfaces like stone, metal, or lacquer, for example, can be offset by rich, layered rugs made from materials such as sheepskin, angora, and wool. “Homes that are filled with hard materials just don’t seem as comfortable,” Leavitt says.

Incorporate Neutrals

Thinking about placing that bright, patterned sofa atop a cowhide rug? Or maybe you want to style your chevron-print bedding with a lush, sheepskin throw? Go for it—just make sure to offset the look with some neutral elements.

“No matter how crazy your colours, patterns or textures are, having the right amount of neutrals can help balance the playing field,” says Leavitt. A mix of prints in furnishings and accessories are toned down with a white backdrop, for example, while bolder walls complement more neutral décor in creams and greys.

Think Wallpaper

“If you don’t want to commit to a pattern in your wallpaper, grasscloth is a great option that will still add warmth to your space,” says Leavitt. The inexpensive fabric offers a subtle amount of texture, making it a versatile pairing for an assortment of prints and textiles.

Try opting for a darker shade such as grey or navy for a more dramatic look. “It makes your house seem very designer-like and luxurious,” Leavitt adds.

Stick to Large Prints

“If you’re going to mix a lot of different patterns together, make sure most of them are oversized so your house doesn’t seem too busy,” advises Leavitt. Larger-scale prints tend to create a more open feel and are less likely to overwhelm your space. 

He also suggests having a combination of geometric patterns—like Greek key and lattice—and organic ones, such as floral, paisley, and damask.

Add Plants

If you’re looking to up the interest—and livability—in your home, plants can offer an unexpected source of texture to your decor. “I’d consider them in the texture family because they do have some surface quality to them,” Leavitt says.

Even if you opt for a low maintenance cactus or air plant, Leavitt stresses that having a living plant in your space makes it feel more alive and comfortable. “Nothing looks better in the centre of a kitchen table than a plant,” he says.

Experiment Beforehand

Still feeling a bit uneasy about a bold style combo? “Go online and copy and paste images of different patterns or textures so you can play around with them,” suggests Leavitt.

“You can also experiment with them at the store,” he adds. “Don’t be scared to buy things and return them! If you’re not quite sure, buy a bunch and see what works better.”