10 ways to mix pattern and prints in interiors

Wondering how to successfully mix pattern and prints in interiors? Whether you're rethinking your living room, bedroom or elsewhere, get inspired with our handy hints and design tricks...

dining room with mixed pattern wallpaper from farrow and ball
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Mixing patterns and prints, in interiors, is an easy way to create a unique and interesting scheme, be that in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or elsewhere. However, it requires a little more design know-how that other decor ideas, if you're going to pull the look off successfully.

If you’ve previously retreated to plains rather than risk an unhappy result, be inspired by advice and inspiration for ways to mix pattern and prints in interiors.

Looking for more design ideas? Check out our design hub page.

If you're working with a space that has high ceilings, consider papering up to the dado rail with one printed wallpaper, then using a second above it.

In this instance, picking up an accent shade from the leaf and floral designed paper creates a colour link that allows the pair to sit happily together on one wall, while the all-over print’s textural appearance ensures it doesn’t fight with the pictorial design below. 

Love a bold wallpaper? Find more statement wallpaper design ideas in our guide.

Patterned wallpaper in a living room

Pindorama wallpaper in Navy; Ipanema wallpaper in Pink, both £18 per roll, Arthouse

(Image credit: Arthouse)

2. Be inspired by Moroccan interiors

Moroccan interiors mix patterns with ease, and introducing the typical designs can be a quick route to room scheming success. 

Stick to graphic motifs to get the look, but go for those featuring the ornate detail of decorative tiles – as on this wallpaper – as well as bolder and simpler versions to avoid making the overall effect too busy. Picking a range of jewel colours will also help give the room the right vibe.

Moroccan inspired living room

Shutters from £166 per square metre, California Shutters


(Image credit: California Shutters)

3. Give traditional pattern a contemporary edge

Don't be afraid of pairing a  traditional patterned paper with something more contemporary if you love the idea of incorporating more than one interiors style into your scheme. 

This romantic birds and blossom wallpaper – inspired by a 20th century piece – is right at home alongside a chevron rug in bold black and white. Painting the doors and skirting in a standout yellow shade only enhances the eclectic feel of the space.

Wallpaper by Little Greene

Loriini wallpaper in Dorian, £94.50 per roll, Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

4. Contrast angles and curves

Opting for prints with sinuous lines alongside those with stricter geometry can soften a scheme to suit a room that’s made for relaxing.

Pick designs that are equally bold in scale so the contrast is clear, and add in plains to give the eye somewhere to rest.

Bold and bright patterned living room

Printed panels in Opunita 120713, £30 per metre; Nuevo 120711, £30 per metre; Forma 111808 wallpaper, £41 per roll; cushions in a selection of fabrics, from £30 per metre, the Nuevo collection, all Scion

(Image credit: Scion)

5. Mix florals and graphic prints

Teaming beautiful blooms and geometric motifs needn’t be a puzzle. Just look for patterns featuring the same range of colours and they’ll work together a treat.

You can find your own design combinations or – even easier – look within an individual collection from a fabric house, as the different designs within it are made to look good together.

bedroom with patterned and printed interiors - a striped wallpaper and yellow bed frame by farrow and ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

6. Smarten up with a linear print

Give a traditional living room a tailored edge with linear pattern. Top-to-toe stripes could look as stuffy as a three-piece suit, bowler hat and rolled umbrella, so mix them with variations like the two sizes of chevron in this scheme, and show off dense colour against less solid hues. 

Find more inspiration with these traditional living room design ideas.

Living room by Sofa.com

Snowdrop two and a half seat sofa in Slade Stripe by Zoe Glencross in Anchor, £2,740; Bluebell regular footstool in Mottram Meadow by Zoe Glencross in Anchor, £600; Mottram Meadow medium rug by Zoe Glencross in Anchor, £299; Bollin Bird scatter 45 x 45cm cushion by Zoe Glencross in Pink Grapefruit, £95, all Sofa.com

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

7. Get creative with scale

Sized-up pattern can turn a wall into a work of art, but featuring a design that’s this bold doesn’t necessarily mean going plain elsewhere in the room. 

Here, the rug features a blossom trail print of medium scale, while a sofa cushion features a small-scale print, so that each motif is perfectly sized to the dimensions of the piece on which it’s featured. 

Like this? Browse our pick of the best mural design ideas for more inspiration.

Floral mural in a luxurious living room

Kahrs Classic Oak Nouveau Charcoal Wood, £69.99 per square metre; Maestro Butterfly rug, £29.99, both Carpetright

(Image credit: Carpetright)

8. Go bold with botanical prints

Foliage and botanical prints are bang on trend and will co-habit as comfortably in a room scheme as the real blooms and vegetation do in the Amazon

Give bolder colourways and medium to large sized designs a plain backdrop for a more traditional finish, or choose a graphic clash for a contemporary look. 

Like this idea? Find more beautiful botanical wallpapers in our design guide.

bathroom with monochrome patterned flooring, pattern clashing wallpaper, a freestanding bath and small side table with house plants

Vinyl floor tiles, Carpetright

(Image credit: Carpetright)

9. Choose a neutral colour scheme

Want a room scheme that’s understated but still full of decorative detail? Put together pattern in neutral shades and gentle tints of colour.

This room’s grey and yellow give the eye plenty to enjoy, but the overall effect is wonderfully calming.

Living room with a muted yellow colour scheme

Triple pinch pleat heading curtains in Shibori Light Pigeon, Saffron BORI-57-52, £49.50 per metre; sofa upholstered in Simple Ticking Detail Charcoal TICKING-38, £48 per metre; self-piped and zipped cushion in Origami Pigeon, Saffron GAMI-19-52, £49.50 per metre; piped and zipped in Origami Saffron, Pigeon GAMI-52-19, £49.50 per metre; piped in Charcoal PLAIN-38 £46 per metre; Calmsden chair in Shibori Light Pigeon BORI-57 £49.50 per metre, all The Artisan Collection, Vanessa Arbuthnott

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnot)

10. Mix traditional prints with antique artworks 

Wallpapers inspired by traditional prints or printing techniques make a stylish and unique addition to a living room or bedroom. This can be further enhanced by working antique – or antique inspired – artworks into the space. 

Find this Wisteria Wallpaper at Farrow and Ball and try your local antiques shop or flea market for similar prints. 

living room with patterns and prints, floral wallpaper and textured rug by farrow & ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Want more decorating advice?

Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.