How to clash colours and patterns the right way

According to the founder of The Print Society

Sometimes the most stylish homes are those that cleverly clash bright colours and patterns to wonderful effect. This look walks a fine line between over-the-top and just-right, so if you’re planning on trying this trend for yourself, it’s important to head into your decorating project armed with some tips and suggestions from professional designers and industry insiders.

Karen Johnston is the founder and designer behind Sydney-based design studio The Print Society. With more than 15 years’ experience working in the design industry, Karen knows her way around fabric, colour and pattern better than most.  Here are her suggestions for achieving a gorgeous room that clashes colour and pattern correctly.

Start with a blank canvas

Simplicity and lightness are at the forefront of design, with natural and whitewash tones taking the lead. A neutral colour palette for the walls gives you the flexibility to subtly or dramatically change a room by adding colour and experimenting with accessories like bed linen, cushions and throws.

Use a colour wheel

A colour wheel is a great resource to help you confidently select colours in the same family, and learn which colours complement each other the most.

Be colour confident

Select shades of colours that complement each other, rather than two colours that compete with each other for attention. Cushions, throws and accessories are a great way to introduce pops of colour into a space without overwhelming it, or requiring you to commit to high-intensity colours on walls or furniture.

Move away from matchy-matchy

Be brave and mash earthy tones and textures (such as linen, wool, leather or fur) with contemporary styles and shades to create interest. Mixing patterns such as florals, geometric shapes and checks adds intensity to a space. 

Focus on scale

To create a clash that feels subtler, pick one larger dominant print and mix with smaller scale patterns.  Large scale abstract patterns look fantastic when paired with a delicate floral repeat.

Know your fabrics

Picking cushions or bedding that feature different prints, but are printed on the same fabric, will help unify the look.

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