Consider this your guide to going big and bold—without overwhelming your space.

By Caroline Biggs
March 31, 2020
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Courtesy of The Inside

Nothing makes a room feel richer than a gorgeous mix of patterns and textiles—but layering them can be tricky for even the most seasoned of designers. "It shouldn't feel like a sprint," says Christiane Lemieux, founder of The Inside. "You can layer thoughtfully, but you don't have to do it all at once."

Lemieux would know better than anyone. Her cool, customizable furniture company just teamed up with Old World Weavers—fashion icon Iris Apfel's textile collection for Scalamandré—to launch a limited-edition line of maximalist-friendly fabrics featuring bold florals and animal prints. "I love exaggerated natural elements—it makes you feel like you're bringing the outdoors in," she says. "I'm super excited for the Grisailles Siberian Tiger in our new Old World Weavers collection—it feels so fashion-forward." Looking for ways to mix and match prints, patterns, and textures at home like a pro? We asked Lemieux for advice on how to successfully layer an assortment of eye-catching textiles in a space—and here's what she had to say.

Pick a color palette.

If you're having trouble deciding on what prints and patterns to mix in a room, Lemieux suggests picking a color palette first. "The easiest place to start with an interior design project is color," she says. "Once you nail down the colors you love, it makes it a lot easier to narrow down a subsequent selection of prints and textures—whether that's wallpaper, carpet, or upholstery. Color is where the mood starts for me."

Experiment with swatches.

Dreaming of a more maximalist interior but scared to take the plunge? Lemieux recommends ordering some fabric swatches that speak to you so you can live with them a bit before you commit to one. "Start by browsing prints and textures and ordering a few swatches to play with," she says. "Don't be afraid to tape wallpaper swatches to the wall, and lay upholstery swatches on your furniture."

Start with small pieces.

If it's your first time playing with patterns at home, Lemieux says to start by adding small-scale décor items in bold prints until you get the hang of it. "If you're going from a really neutral, solid design scheme, start with a pillow and see how you feel about that," she says. "If you love the pillow and the pattern works for you, try some peel-and-stick wallpaper in your powder room, and if that works, maybe think about printed bedding—and so on."

Layer in threes.

Once you're ready to integrate a plethora of patterns and prints into a room, Lemieux says your best bet is to simply follow the rule of threes. "Choose a large, medium and small-scale pattern," she says. "Then, apply the largest pattern to your smallest piece, and vice versa. And if you really want to make it simple, just choose one color scheme, such as tonal blues. It's no fail."

Choose the right room.

Unless you're a true maximalist at heart, it's smart to save loud patterns and prints for highly-trafficked areas of your home. "I like to do a more amped up living room because that's where you entertain, and when people are inspired and engaged with the design," she says, "then the conversation is more lively, just like a well-designed restaurant."

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