As of 2017, the clash isn’t just a band, but actually the smartest move you can pull in your interior design. Clashing and mixing patterns has been big news in the fashion world for a few seasons and it’s crossed over to interiors effortlessly – after years of subtle minimalism, it’s about time for something a bit brighter and bolder!
Add to that all of the great patterns we’re seeing at the moment in the design world, from botanicals to squiggles, chevrons and geometrics and the stage is set for this to become perhaps one of the year’s biggest overall trends.
If you haven’t tried it yet – what are you waiting for? It can feel a little tricky at first but don’t worry, you’ll get there in the end. Especially with our interior design hacks for mixing and mismatching to perfection.
Start by clashing colours. But not any old colours! Like everything, some combos are definitely stronger than others – and you can’t rely on the colour wheel anymore.
Every year, colour agency Pantone releases its vision for what colours it believes will be trending each season. And Pantone is so powerful these colours really do end up in homes around the world!
For 2017, one that caught our eye was Flame – a bright, searing orange you’ve probably seen everywhere – which looks fresh cut against a more muted tone like the pale blue tone of Niagara. Paint your walls pale blue, then add some bright orange metal stools or dining chairs – just a hint is all you need.
We’ve already discussed Pale Dogwood (a creamy pink tone some magazines are calling ‘Millennial Pink’) and aside from using it on its own it makes a lovely backdrop for pop brights like royal blues, Greenery, which was Pantone’s official shade of the year and even Pink Yarrow, an electric pink. Play with this combo on a small scale first – say cushions, dining plates or even candles – before trying it out in the form of dining chairs, wall art, clocks and pendant lights.
Texture is big news in both the fashion and interior design worlds this year (and beyond). One of the fabrics on everyone’s lips – or more accurately, their chairs, cushions and sofas – is velvet. No longer the slightly OTT material you might remember, velvet has been reinvigorated by a new generation in jewel tones like pale pinks, purples, turquoise and green and has a shimmering look and tactile feel. Add it to glossy finishes and polished or brushed metals for the coolest look – think of a mauve velvet stool with some copper pendant lights up above.
Marble is still huge, whether it’s a print or the real thing. Use it as a ‘neutral’ in place of pale wood or white – bright colours really pop against it, so try a marble table with hot green, orange and pink accessories. It’s a dream mismatch for metallics, as in a marble table with bronze legs, or a marble storage box next to a metallic wire basket.
And wood has, and will always will have, a place in our hearts. Darker walnut wood is having a moment, and handily enough it looks luxurious clashing against both marble and velvet. It’s also substantial enough to complement the richness of metallic like copper, bronze and gold, and a great base for brightly-coloured chairs (think a dark wood desk and bold office chair).
Are you ready for the next level? Yep… it’s clashing different silhouettes. But really, it’s not as hard as it seems.
The key is to keep it to two, possibly three, shapes and apply it to areas of your house. Some of the best ideas we’ve seen recently include angular dining chairs around an oval dining table, curved sofas against more stark, mid-century style armchairs, and it can even be as simple as a single round mirror against a wall of rectangular wall art.
Keep an eye out for the silhouettes in your home and think what could be used to bring that extra-special contrast to them. Like adding a squeeze of lemon to a plate of bland food, something unexpected and clashing could be just what a space needs to bring it to life.
Vintage and modern. Mid-century and baroque. Industrial and futuristic. We’re living in the postmodern era and it extends to your home, too!
Try taking an item or a theme from one era and placing it alongside another – you might want to go for a mid-century room but then break it up with some decidedly bright twenty-first-century artwork, or place baroque chairs around a rustic table. It’s all about the extremes here and making a statement is the point – so try it in rooms like the dining room or hallway where you can afford to be a bit more decorative and experimental. Plastic ‘ghost chairs’ dining chairs are great for this too, contrasted against a distressed table that cuts against their sleek appearance.
We’d love to be able to give you a precise theory on how to clash and mismatch patterns like a pro, but… sadly, we’re not scientists and homes are not scientific. So much of it is about taking what you love and using your imagination, and when it comes to patterns the rules really are there to be broken.
Some general guidelines are to make sure that things don’t get too busy or cluttered – again, stick to two, three or four basic patterns and try tying them together with a common theme. There could be a common colour used across all the patterns, or perhaps your patterned cushions could all be the same size or dimensions.
But like we say, there are no rules. Modern geometric cushions can look amazing on vintage-style furniture, and a patterned wall clock can work against patterned wallpaper. Keep it limited to one area of a room, and try building up your patterned look slowly and carefully – adding items as you find them and letting it come together organically, you’ll create a masterpiece.
High and Low
A ‘high and low’ mix can work really well – rich textures against simpler, more everyday ones, plastic chairs in a distressed rooms, even a sleek, oversized pendant in a smaller bathroom. This look is about taking the ‘low’ – the everyday, obvious, raw, distressed and familiar – and mixing it with the ‘high’, in other words, rich textures, opulence and expensive finishes.
The high/low mix is perhaps the ultimate goal for any mix and match fanatic as there are so many ways to go – extravagant Art Deco lamps in a simple living room, or velvet cushions unexpectedly thrown onto a simple Scandi bed. Keep trying unexpected combos out and you’ll get there eventually!