How to Mix Patterns in Your Home

Banish a bland interior with bold combinations of color and pattern

Chantal Lamers
1 / 13

The Mix Master

Of all the design trends to take over Pinterest, white subway tiles may baffle Mary Randolph most. “I know they’re a budget solution,” she says, “but there are so many better choices out there.”

So when she and her family 
moved into a 1926 Spanish bungalow in Piedmont, California, the home’s bland 90s interior didn’t stand a chance. Some of her design choices speak to the history of the home, while others tap into German, Native American, and African-American heritage. What ties it all together? A daring approach to color and pattern, which Randolph layers on walls, floors, and furniture throughout the home.

Randolph chose a bluish-black hue for the walls of the small living room. The color creates a snug vibe for the space, where she and her husband often watch TV
 at night. It also dramatically contrasts with the lightness of the adjoining master bedroom. Paint in Railings No. 31, from $99/gallon; us.farrow-ball.com. Alpaca shag pillow (similar); ericatanov.com.

2 / 13

Welcome Home

An overgrown bougainvillea creates an appropriately exuberant entrance to the home Randolph shares with husband Robert Hundt and children Thalia, 15, and Johannes, 13.

3 / 13

Earthy Green

“I love an English kitchen,” says Randolph, of the rustic, colorful spaces popular in the United Kingdom. In her own kitchen, she first planned to paint the Shaker-style cabinets blue to tie into the tile, but instead went with a custom shade of deep green. The subtle green veining in the island’s marble top pulls the look together. Asal tile, from $18/piece; flmceramics.com.

4 / 13

Best Seat in the House

While Randolph opened up the living spaces by eliminating walls and doorways, she also wanted each area to retain a sense of intimacy. To that end, she had her contractor add a built-in banquette to the dining room; the seating area doubles as storage and a lookout perch for their Portuguese water dog, Charlie. Brandywine dining table in whitewash, $1,875; lostine.com. Emerson sconce, $149; schoolhouseelectric.com. Vintage French ticking pillow fabric (similar to shown); etsy.com.

5 / 13

Take a Chance

In her children’s shared bathroom, Randolph started with graphic tiles inspired by Navajo patterns on the floor. But when she came across brown penny and matching hive tiles, she took it one step further, tiling the walls too. Native floor tiles by Commune Design, $28/sq. ft.; xsurfaces.com. Savoy Mosaics in Penny and Hive, from $16/sq. ft.; annsacks.com. Michele Keeler Zigzag towels, from $19; ericatanov.com.

6 / 13

New Bohemian

Thalia’s room swaps typical teenage frills for gold-hued floral wallpaper and velvet teal window treatments. While most people would shy away from more pattern, Randolph doubled down, adding pink-and-green chinoiserie bedding. 
“I wanted it to feel a bit like an old European hotel room,” she says. Lovebird quilt, from $386; ericatanov.com. Wallpaper, similar, in Damask (Gold) by Laundry Studio, $140/roll; hyggeandwest.com.

7 / 13


After working with an upholsterer to create cushions for the banquette, Randolph caught the upholstery bug and had a custom floral headboard made for the master bedroom. She kept the walls white to give the small space breathing room and to allow the pattern to command attention. Stella textile, $105/yard; nickyrising.com. Juno nightstand, similar, $444; sobusobu.com. Copper Shade Pendant by Tom Dixon, from $460; dwr.com.

8 / 13

Floor-to-Ceiling Tile

Combining multiple patterns in a room works best when you stick to a tight color palette. Here’s a warm, artful trio Randolph recommends, starting with this brick-like sample. Offset tile in Rust; from $18/sq. ft.; fireclaytile.com.

9 / 13

Vitoria Tile in Warm Motif

Throw down some drama on the bathroom floor with another favorite of Randolph’s, a geometric motif. $24 per piece; fireclaytile.com.

10 / 13

Marrakech Lace Tile in Black and White

Layering on a pattern with minimal color is surprisingly harmonious, as this third go-to tile shows. From $38; fireclaytile.com.

11 / 13

Sleeping Beauty

Yes, you can combine multiple patterns in a bedroom without disrupting the space’s tranquility. This mix works thanks to the soothing blue and green tones. Bastideaux Bogo fabric in Pale Sea, $126/yard; nickyrising.com.

12 / 13

Tulu Fabric in Earth Lavender

Start with one strong pattern, such as this floral motif, then layer in a simpler one. $150/yard; nickyrising.com.

13 / 13

Paint in Oval Room Blue No. 85

Choose a paint that bridges your prints. From $99/gallon; us.farrow-ball.com.