When it comes to home decor, mixing patterns is one of the best ways to add personality to a space. As lifestyle expert Katie Kine tells Southern Living, “Patterns are an amazing way to incorporate your story into a space … We all live a storied life — why should we limit ourselves to just one accent that expresses it?”

However, if you’re not thoughtful with your pattern mixing, it can quickly make a home feel chaotic. Here are five tips to ensure that your mixing adds character, not clutter, to your home.

Tip 1: Plan Your Color Scheme

Decide on a color scheme before you buy anything. According to the Spoonflower Blog, it’s best to choose one to three colors per design, and then pair those with complementary accent colors. Say you decorate a living room predominantly in shades of green. Add some patterns with pink to make the green pop.

Tip 2: Find a Feature Pattern

Choose a hero pattern that could be featured on a wall or on furniture. It could be any type, from gingham to florals. The only requirement: Loving it, because it will be the “[color] and scale inspiration for the other patterns in your room,” says decor blogger the DIY Mommy.

She uses a large pink and grey floral wallpaper as the base for her guest bedroom design, incorporating the colors in her bedding, art and rug.

Tip 3: Play with Scale

Contrast is your friend when pattern mixing. As such, designers Ashley Hunte and Becca Frasier of Casa Sisu tell Southern Living to “avoid combining patterns that share a very similar scale.”

So try pairing a larger feature print with smaller contrasting prints (or vice versa!). This will ensure the space doesn’t feel cramped or overwhelming.

Tip 4: Get Creative with Prints

Similarly, search for contrast in your print types. The Spoonflower Blog suggests pairing “ditsy florals with bold, large-scale stripes.”

Blending more organic patterns, like florals or trendy animal prints, with more geometric patterns like checks or polka dots, can be especially visually interesting. As long as you’re varying the pattern sizes, too, these pairings will mix beautifully.

Tip 5: Trust Your Eye

Remember, pattern mixing is always subjective. Take a step back and take full stock of your space. Ask yourself if it feels right to you and creates an atmosphere you’re eager to spend time in.

You can never fully account for personal taste, so trust your own eye. If you love that maximalist flurry of prints and colors and textures, you do you.

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