How to Mix Plaids and Patterns to Create Visual Interest

Lately I’ve been obsessed with patterns in the home. I don’t know if it’s my renewed love of wallpaper, or the interest and depth that comes with various patterns in a room. Of particular interest this time of year, is pairing plaids with other patterns. People tend to gravitate toward plaid during the fall and winter season. So today I’m sharing examples of how to mix plaids and patterns.

For the purpose of this post, plaid refers to anything with crisscross checks like tartans, buffalo checks, gingham, and windowpane. In today’s first example, pale blue buffalo checks pair nicely with a small-print wallpaper. Big checks, small pattern. The result is a charming, cottage vibe for a breakfast nook.

blue duck villaPhoto by Gabberts Design Studio


You might never consider mixing five patterns in one room, but that’s what the owner of this sun room did. Two colors of buffalo checks are seen in the curtains, a white and blue check adorns the settee, an Oriental pattern appears on the accent chairs, a small trellis pattern is featured on the rug, and one of the square pillows enjoys a pineapple print. It all works due to the generous use of white in the patterns and on the walls and ceiling. 

plaids and patterns in sunroomPhoto by Alexandra Rae Design


If you’re a little nervous when it comes to mixing patterns, use soft neutral tones. In this elegant dining room, gray and white-checked end chairs look pretty with the muraled wall and softly-patterned rug. Even the board and batten trim creates a plaid pattern of sorts.

elegant dining room with mix of patternsPhoto by Sally Weston Associates


On the other hand, if you have no decorating fear, go bold with bigger patterns and brighter colors. Sticking with a color scheme helps with coordination, along with large prints juxtaposed against the smaller patterns of the pitchers. 

colorful hampton living roomPhoto by


A country style dining room shows plaid on the floor and stripes on the wall. Due to the linear patterns, plaids typically mix well with stripes.

colorful country style dining roomPhoto by Michael Maher Design


A cheery living room gets an infusion of sunshine not only from the windows, but the sunny yellow plaid accent chairs. I love the pattern of the sofa and the chairs together, along with the large pattern of the rug. 

how to mix plaids - blue and yellow living roomPhoto by Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc


Several patterns come together in this camp-style bedroom with multiple plaids and it’s all pleasing to the eye. The use of wood on the ceiling, walls, and floor create the canvas for the lively mix of patterns. This large expanse of the solid backdrop creates a place for the eye to rest. Likewise, the solid white bedspread under the plaid throws and pillows creates that same place of visual rest. 

camp style bedroomPhoto by Liederbach & Graham, Architects LLP


A soft gray laundry room features a small geometric wallpaper print, stripes on the window shades, and plaid on the rug underfoot. When mixing plaids and patterns, it’s always best to use different scales of size.

gray and white living roomPhoto by Bria Hammel Interiors


This cozy corner incorporates a large print on the wall, paired with a small print on the settee. A plaid throw lends a bit of additional interest and depth. Note that the background of the wallpaper is dark blue, with small pops of white in the flowers. On the other hand, the settee’s fabric is just the opposite – a white background with a small, dark blue vine pattern.

blue entry - how to mix plaids and patternsPhoto by Milners of Leyburn


A cottage style living room is the perfect example of mixing plaids and patterns in various sizes. It’s a bold move but again, incorporating a lot of white helps to keep the room from looking too busy. 

blue and white living roomPhoto by Donna Elle Design


So what do you think about mixing plaids and patterns? Is it something you’d like to see more of in your own home? Or do you prefer using solids?


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  1. I am a quilter, so I enjoy the.mix of patterns!
    I didn’t care for he mix before becoming a quilter.

    Thanks for bringing us this post.

  2. Thank you Jennifer, for the visual aid-advice on mixing of plaids and patterns. Some are a little too much for my “less is more” taste. However, I love the wall paper patterns. I have wall paper in some of my rooms, and the patterns and colors all blend in with the rest of the rooms, which are painted ‘Bone White’, a nice soft off white color, that has enough depth to contrast with white trim.

  3. Some of the rooms I really like. Especially the yellow chair highlighting the yellow in the sofa pattern with all the light. A couple of the rooms seemed too busy to me with so many patterns in the mix. Interesting to see tho.

  4. All fun and interesting. That Milners of Leyburn photo has so much wonderful detail in it that it is really fun to study…the old golf bag as an umbrella holder, the little pillow covered in fabric that matches the wallpaper…and I love that dining room with the mural.

  5. I love mixing patterns. My living room is all shades of blue and white from soft paisley chairs, bold floral curtains and plaid throw pillows. I am looking to add a stripe somewhere too. I just love blue and white and use my blue & white vases, candlesticks, urns, lamp, etc. to decorate as well. I have a large soft watercolor abstract print in blues with a little peachy/coral and touch of sage green. I have received a number of compliments on the room. It is still a work in progress. Your article gave me additional ideas. Thank you!