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Everything You Need To Know About Mixing Prints From One Boston Apartment (PHOTOS)

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Mixing prints isn't instinctual. (Unless, of course, you're the high priestess of prints herself -- Solange Knowles). But it doesn't have to be overly complicated, as Boston-area designer Phoebe Lovejoy Russell shows us in one well-appointed penthouse she created.

The project, like her other work, uses a fairly neutral palette with a few punches of pattern thrown in, and clearly puts these pointers we spotted some time ago from magazine editor and stylist Eddie Ross to work:

  1. Realize that pattern adds personality to a room! It can tell stories about you and your family--perhaps your interest in gardening, modern art, literature, travel or history. Pattern also hides a multitude of sins, such as a not-so-great view or a chair that's seen better days.
  2. Mix up the textures of your fabrics--don't use all formal (dressy) fabrics or all casual fabrics. Varied textures make the room more visually interesting. It's pairing a chic tweed blazer with your favorite jeans, states Ross. One texture sets off another.
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  4. Repeat fabric patterns for a cohesive look. For example, repeat the fabric used in the drapery on a bed coverlet, or the pillow shams of a bedroom. Make accent pillows of the same fabric used on a bench or a side chair.
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  6. Vary the scale of the patterns in the room. Allow one pattern to be dominant. Allow others to be secondary or even mini in scale. When you mix up the scale of fabric and wall covering in a room, you'll avoid having patterns fight one another for attention.
  7. For a more contemporary feel to a room, add a bold stripe, graphic pattern or strong geometric. Even on a traditional camelback sofa or a wing chair, a bold fabric can create a very unique, stunning piece. The juxtaposition of a traditional frame and a contemporary fabric—or vice-versa—creates a playful tension in the room.
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  9. Play with fabric and pattern in the store--and borrow fabrics to try at home--until you find the right mix for your style. Calico sales associates can suggest additional combinations that you might not have considered. It might send you in an exciting new direction!
  10. Pattern can also come in the form of wallcovering and artwork on the walls. Be sure to factor that in before you select fabrics. If there is a lot of pattern in these areas, you may want more subtle patterns in your fabrics, such as a tone-on-tone stripe or damask or small jacquard.

mixing prints

Check out more of Lovejoy Designs' "Back Bay Penthouse II" project in her online portfolio, and Eddie Ross' pattern-mixing tutorial, here.

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