How To:

Mix Color and Pattern in a Girl's Room

Patterns and color make a room pop with character, and they're great starting points for decorating a girl's bedroom. The options are endless, from playful polka dots to bold paisleys to lively prints of birds, butterflies and flowers. One or two great patterns, like a whimsical animal print or madras plaid, can inspire the entire room's palette.


If you've chosen patterned prints for your textiles, you can easily select a color palette for the room. Pull a color from a fabric print to guide your wall color, and use tonal variations of it in accessories. A periwinkle flower comforter, for example, might inspire painted stripes of tonal purples or stenciled flowers. If you've got a duvet cover with a pink floral print, for instance, add window panels in a pink gingham check, a window seat cushion in pink-and-white plaid and pillows in pink polka dots.

If you're starting with a pattern that has a relatively simple palette, such as a lavender polka-dot print, you may want to expand your palette with your wall and floor choices. A contrasting color – such as green or yellow – can bring a fresh, playful energy to the room. Remember that using lighter colors – such as white, cream or yellow – on the walls generally tends to make them recede and make the room feel smaller; stronger colors, such as a deep purple or blue, can bring a more cozy feel.


Limit the number of patterns and colors in a room. Decide on one dominant pattern, like a playful print featuring watercolor animals, and pick a few complementary patterns, like madras or a geometric pattern. Add one or two solid-color fabrics for balance. Coordinated bedding sets – such as solid, stripe and classic gingham sheets with a paisley

duvet cover – are always an easy place to start.

Mix patterns of different colors with the same intensity, whether it's pastels, brights or neutrals. Also vary the scale of patterns. Small, simple patterns like stripes, dots and checks mix well with a fabric featuring large-scale flowers.