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Living Space: 6 new ways of mixing patterns in your home decor

By By Kathryn Weber
May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.

Don't be afraid to combine bold patterns and colors.

Watching the fashion runways and style magazines, what was once unthinkable is now high style. Indeed, the trend that's getting lots of attention right now is pattern. The new twist is mixing very different patterns and styles together for a fresh look.

The old rules no longer apply, so if you're looking for a fun way to invigorate your home decor, here are some creative ways to play with patterns:

1.Go bold at home. Bright, bold color is now stylish for walls and furniture in a way it hasn't been in years. Adding a big, dynamic pattern can bring an entire room to life. For example, don't be afraid to place one or two bold patterned chairs in a room to make a big statement.

2.Mix it up. Feel free to combine patterns that aren't in the same family. Sure, companion pattern mixing is common stuff in wallpaper books, but the family of colors and style remain the same. Instead, try mixing a traditional floral with a large geometric print. Match a toile with a metallic geometric? Why not?

3.Maintain color volume. To mix patterns well, make sure they maintain the same kind of color level. In other words, keep pale colors with pale colors and deep, dark tones with more deep hues. By mixing patterns where the colors have an even intensity, the look is smashing.

4.Spread the pattern love. If you opt for a bright or bold pattern, find a way to pull that pattern across the room. Even if it's a single color, using that shade across the room will keep the space from listing like a ship taking on water. You'll visually balance the room by putting a touch of the color (or pattern) on the opposite side.

5.Put it all together. Don't be afraid to mix patterns in close proximity, such as on an upholstered piece of furniture or a bed. Just try to limit the mix to three patterns; cover an upholstered chair in one pattern, the seat cushion top in another, and the skirt in a third. Tie it all together with a trim that incorporates all the colors of the patterns to create a cohesive look.

6.Animal patterns are neutral. Because they're natural, animal patterns are neutral, much like beige, black, or white. In today's interiors, cheetah, tiger and zebra-skin patterns can be mixed in a variety of a decor styles, from traditional to modern, and work - no matter what other patterns are in the room.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.

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