We shared our tips for styling pillows on a bed a while back, but many people struggle with styling their sofa too. The art of mixing patterns in our living spaces takes practice. If you aren’t yet confident with mixing and matching I suggest you stick with our few guidelines for a winning combination.

Mixing Patterns is Easy – Really!

When it comes to styling a sofa with pillows, most designers will agree, more is more! This is how we really up the ante and layer up the beautiful textiles we drool over in the high-end to-the-trade-only showrooms to add a luxurious look to your home. A single yard of show-stopping fabric can take then entire result to a new level. And yet, the most practical among us will see that this leaves little room for actual sitting. Keep in mind, the pillows we use in the beautiful photos of our projects are feather and down filled so they really hold more air than substance. They require a bit of fluffing up after seating to look their best but don’t really occupy much seating space.

If you want a photo perfect look for your room when you are entertaining or just for your pleasure, here are our best kept secrets.

How mixing patterns like a pro can be easy!

Whether you are dressing up your bedroom or living room, when it comes to creating your own “pillowscape” don’t feel bound by rules. These are just guidelines to get you started.

Let’s take a look at how this grouping below breaks down…

picture of a grey sofa with blue, pink, and white pillows

Below are our best style tips. The most important thing to remember is to have variety. Pairing patterns is no longer about matching. Finding patterns and colour schemes that relate is the key to a stylish result. Set aside those matching pillows that came with the sofa for use somewhere else.

Style Tips

picture of a traditional sofa upholstered in cream with black and cream accent pillows
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1. Balance colour and visual weight left to right

All dark on one side and all light on the other is tricky to pull off and may not work without a expert to help you pull it off. For now, stick with a balanced look.

2. Vary the scale of patterns

This keeps it interesting so the patterns don’t compete.

3. Tie together with one underlying background colour

Make sure the whites coordinate to create flow. White, cream, beige, grey, are as important in paint colours as they are in selecting patterns that work together. Whatever the ground colour or ‘light’ in a pattern should work well with the others.

4. Use a variety of textures

This is the key to an interesting monochromatic mix.

5. Contrast your patterns

Organic forms and floral patterns work well when set against a geometric pattern Just look at the first image at the top of this post to see what we mean.

6. Add an accent colour

Like Emeril Lagasse says “bam”! Use an accent colour like seasoning for a vibrant mix. A little bit of colour takes it up a notch. Take a look at that black and cream scheme again with an accent colour added in and see if you agree.

picture of a cream coloured traditional sofa with black and cream pillows and one coral velvet lumber pillow
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Here’s that first feature image. Notice how the geometric pattern holds its own nicely with the scenery in the accents pillows on each side. I treat scenery prints and toile just like florals and organic patterns. Contrast them with a geometric for a dynamic mix. So there you have our best tips for mixing patterns. Be sure and save the pin below for future reference. It also helps others to discover our tips.

image of a cream sofa with blue accent pillows and a patterned blue pillow and two featured blue and white pillows with an Asian pattern
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My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.