The Bohemian's Guide to Mixing and Matching Patterns

Plus, the spaces that did it best.

Photography by CHELSAE ANNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Among the seemingly endless list of reasons why we love the bohemian aesthetic, its unrestrained prerequisite of blending vibrant patterns and textures with color is at the top. Mixing and matching is the name of the game here and the bolder you go, the better. Now, this design practice is often easier said than done, and often times it can go terribly wrong. That's where we come in. Ahead, we look to a handful of well-designed spaces, each embodying a unique rendition of the style, for lessons learned in mixing and matching prints.
 
To begin, identify the point in your home where you would like to focus. You may start small with throws and pillows, implement a refresh with new bedding, or opt for a complete revamp from the floors to the walls. Regardless of which you chose, it's helpful to identify the basics of what you will have to swap out. Be it a new rug, fresh wallpaper, or an entirely new living room set. 
 
Next, settle on the color palette you would like to work around and be mindful of the fact that it will have to fit in with the existing decor scheme—unless of course you're starting from scratch. Perhaps you've come across a specific print or fabric that has inspired you, use that as a starting point. 
 
Once you have decided on the color, think about the supporting hues that will accompany it. By working with a complementary color scheme, the abundance of contrasting patterns will feel significantly more cohesive as a whole. 

Blue and Taupe Living room
Photography by JENNY GAGE AND TOM BETTERTON

Establish an artful balance. Avoid clustering a concentrated set of prints within one area. Space it out to keep the look feeling natural. In this cozy corner, the variety of diverse patterns go virtually unnoticed thanks to the bold blues that make up the majority of the textiles. A handful of solid-printed accents, by way of the throw pillows and rug, impart the scene with a harmonious yet distinct detail. 

Orange and Pink Living room
Photography by JENNY GAGE AND TOM BETTERTON

Designer Aurora James' Brooklyn apartment embodies the boho vibe with elegant flair. In this cozy nook, you'll notice the absence of an abundant slew of patterns, an illusion established courtesy of the reserved palette and curated mix of decorative accessories. The peachy-pink walls set the backdrop, emulated by the exotically-patterned rug bearing a similar hue.   

Find balance with neutrals. They are a major element of bohemian design, present in a variety of forms not limited to natural wood accents and colors. Here, it manifests itself via the woven straw hats and the solid wood bench, inconspicuously set in the corner of the room.

Blue and Taupe Living room
Photography by JOY SOHN

While sticking to a cohesive or complementary color scheme is of importance, implementing a motif within the design can also make a remarkable difference. The romantically-inclined slew of floral patterns in this West Village home is one such example—that can easily translate from the furnishings to the accents on top. Note how this globally-inspired scene features a scheme comprised almost exclusively of moody tones, yet manages to integrate a healthy dose of neutrals to offset the intensity. Another unifying factor? The bright red coffee table, which emulates the pops of color found within the art and throw pillows. 

Blue and Red and Taupe Kid's room
Photography by FRANCES TULK-HART

More is always more. When it comes to the boho chic, our decorative elements of choice usually entail floral-inspired motifs, woven textures, and a lively mix of colors that pull the entirety of the look together. And this charming, Brooklyn playroom proves just that. The established palette allows for a wide array of hues used, exemplified in the form of the wallpaper that clads the bunk bed, the Moroccan rug, and the globally-inspired and pattern-charged pillows that complete the space. 
 

Photography by JARED SOARES

Greenery is an undeniable staple of a bohemian decor scheme (seriously, have you ever seen a boho space without it?), so mixing and matching patterned plants fits right in with the theme. And yes, patterned plants are in fact a thing. Consider it the starter point for mixing prints, after all, the color palette is essentially set and all you really have to do is focus on a cohesive set of planters. Hilton Carter's revamped loft did just that, utilizing a variety of greens to implement a lively detail to the space. 

Photography by DABITO

Stick to a theme. “Discovering your spirit environment [such as the jungle beach, or desert] can help to learn the colors, scents, textures, and sounds that light you up and make you feel your best,” advises boho-guru Justina Blakeney. And this dreamy, outdoor space does just that. From the abundance of vibrant, warm hues to the beautifully over-the-top mix of patterns found throughout, it creates a unique setting that exudes pure relaxation. 


Read on for more boho-inspired ideas:
One Couple Turned a 650-Square-Foot Rental into a Plant-Filled Boho Oasis
15 Gifts Your Bohemian Friends Will Love
Seriously Dreamy Boho Baby Showers We Found on Pinterest

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Published on January 09, 2018 - 5:44pm EST

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