How to combine colour, pattern and texture without making a complete mess of things

Tricia Guild, designer, founder and creative director of Designers Guild, offers advice on boldly combining coloured fabric, wallpaper and paint.


Which is the best way to combine a variety of patterns?

Decorating your home should reflect your personal taste, so, if you love mixing patterns and scale, then go for it. It’s often easier to start by limiting your colour palette to just three colours, one of which should be a neutral. A mix of patterns can be sensational, particularly if they impact on one another – for example, a very formal tailored stripe can make a blowsy floral feel more graphic. A check used with a floral adds a note of homely cosiness.

It’s always a good idea to experiment on a mood board first. We offer this service in our store and online and it’s a great way to work out the looks you love.

When planning a colour scheme, where do you start?

The process of collating a mood board is, to me, such a natural and instinctive way of editing; I always use them at the beginning of planning any scheme. When making your board, the trick is to use each colour or pattern at the same scale as it will be used in the room. If it works on paper, it’ll work in a room.

What’s the best way to combine colour?

Consider a few points when creating a colour scheme: identify the main colours that you love and establish whether they’re cool or warm. Your main colours will dictate the type of white or neutral you’ll need.

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Neutrals are important: they’re the colours that underpin your scheme, providing a constant, harmonious note. White is very often the default option, but why not consider something more interesting? It could be grey, ecru, chocolate, a shade of blue or green or even pale plaster pink.

Tricia Guild

Tricia Guild

What are your current favourite patterns and colours?

Each collection is important to me, but I adore the Delft Flower design in Graphite [pictured at the top of the page]. It’s printed on a lightweight and softly tumbled linen and works well on curtains, blinds or cushions.

Another is the Casablanca Berry, which is a jacquard woven velvet that has a striking geometric design and makes a strong statement for upholstery in contemporary interiors. At the moment my favourite colour is our paint called Leaden Pink. It’s a very gentle soft rose with a touch of grey, so it’s neither too sweet nor too girly – it works everywhere and is also incredibly flattering.

What about rugs?

My current favourite is the Delft Flower Noir rug. It’s a beautifully drawn floral. Thanks to its round shape and large scale it feels contemporary, but is equally at home in a more traditional room. It’s really quite beautiful.

What’s your top tip for using pattern on upholstery?

Why not try mixing a couple of patterns on a piece, such as a floral on the front and a stripe or plain on the back? It always looks great and your furniture will have more personality and style.

How about decorative accessories?

I’m a big fan of using cushions, throws and rugs to ring the changes in an interior. I always change my cushions around in the winter, introducing richer colours and warmer textures, and I add rugs and soft woollen throws to sofas. These simple changes needn’t be costly, but can make all the difference to how your space feels.