Way back in the day there were rules around the colours that we were allowed to put together, and in particular those that we were not.  Remember the saying ‘blue and green should never be seen’ or ‘red and green should only be seen on an Irish queen” and don’t even go there with black and navy, our mothers would be horrified.

Well, we might cop a bit of backlash over this, but we want you to make your own rules and mix whatever colours take your fancy. Let’s take it a step further and extend it to patterns as well – we’re playing hard and you’re going to win.

We are of the view that we all should be expressing our own unique styles and individuality and not be dictated to by rules or trends and least of all, by a so-called stylist or designer like us or any. Our job is to help you express your style and guide you to make it work fabulously for you.

Let’s open this discussion to any room in your house, as the same colour and pattern practices can apply. We’ll start with colours and then work our way through patterns. 

The most important step for colours to work together is to use each colour at least twice in a space/room. It doesn’t need to be applied all over the room, and that’s especially true when you’re including a stand out colour, for instance a bright pink.  

We had that situation in the master bedroom of the house we presented on the Block this year. The colour palate of the room was predominately sage greens with sandy greys through to warm whites, a very neutral look that worked well for this home.  The odd colour came in from a largish piece of original art that was multiple shades of pink. Without anchoring this big splash of pink it felt a little at odds with what was going on.  We added pink with a throw on the bed, flowers on the bedside table and even a pink chair in the walk-in robe, and just like that, the pink addition was accepted and a pop the room embraced.  

Mixing patterns can be the trickiest to deal with, but if you get the balance right, they can add a subtle or a fabulously loud slice of wow. The contrasting pattern stakes are higher than playing with colour alone, applied well it can seriously work, likewise getting it wrong can be a bit of a hot mess.

It really isn’t that complicated but it’s kind of hard to describe without playing with examples, so bear with us while we try to explain.  Let’s talk it through as though we were styling a living room. We’ll assume the major furnishings (couch, arm chairs, coffee and side tables) are relatively neutral. 

Once you have worked out the colours you want to apply we can start to play with patterns. Just for fun, let’s say the colours we are playing with are pink, green, orange and blue, and the shade of each of these colours will remain the same through the whole styling story of the room.  In each of the patterns we use we need at least 2 of these four colours included.  The simplest method for success is to use a mix of geometric patterns with more fluid patterns like florals, paisleys, or even animal prints and include a block colour or two out of our selection as well.  

We’ll start with dressing the couch. We’ll have two plain pink cushions, a check cushion in green and blue, two floral cushions with all four colours and a throw in orange. You could have a feature wallpaper but we’d suggest using the colours in more muted tones or alternately a piece or décor art doing the same job. Lampshades can be added using a couple of the colours or even a block – it’s up to you now, you’ve got this.

If it feels a bit overwhelming to start this tricky game with a room in the house, try it with an outfit, wear it out, if you get more compliments than usual, our bet is, you’ve got the colours and pattern game sorted. 

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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