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As you might be able to tell from our vibrant tiles, the LiLi Tile Team loves color and pattern, and so does our friend Jo Gick. Jo is a designer and maker who you might have seen getting crafty on NBC’s Making It competition. Her designs are filled with tons of bright colors and fun patterns. So, who better to teach us how to mix colors and patterns, right? Jo takes us through her 9 tips for color and pattern mixing and the No. 1 thing first-timers should remember.
“Ever since I was little, I loved rainbows and lots of colors,” says Jo. “I think that’s a product of growing up in the ‘80s and collecting Care Bears!” When she was a kid, Jo would beg her mom to take her to the craft store so she could wander the aisles of fabrics, papers, and baubles to include in her next craft project. She attended Northern Arizona University to study design, taking every painting, pottery, and sculpture class she could fit into her schedule. Jo went on to open her own design firm and has been featured with Better Homes & Gardens, People Magazine, and HGTV. After competing on NBC’s Making It, she decided to become a full-time maker, but she still designs interiors for herself.
Jo recently finished a fun and funky guest bathroom renovation. Of course, she filled the space with cheerful colors and patterns, including a tropical bird wallpaper and our jewel-inspired Tiffany cement tile in blush pink. Here are some of the design principles she used to nail the look that you can use in your home, too.
“The first step to mixing colors and patterns is finding a piece you really love,” Jo explains. “This could be a piece of art, a rug, or a wallpaper sample. It has to speak to you, and you will know it when you see it.” Jo started with a bird-print wallpaper for her guest bath renovation and designed the entire room around it, pulling teal and blush pink into her color palette.
“It’s important to remember that colors affect your mood,” says Jo. “So, I always try to pick happy colors and stay away from what I call ‘muddy’ colors. While beige and gray feel like safe options, flooding your home with them can make the space look dreary.” For this simple rule, think about your favorite colors and which ones bring a smile to your face. That’s a sign that you’re on the right track!
“Colorful designs work off a lead pattern,” explains Jo. “In my guest bathroom project, the lead is the bird-print wallpaper I fell in love with. Look at any design with color, and you will see a lead pattern in the space.” The lead pattern is your guideline for the rest of your color and pattern choices. Jo pulled the blue from the toucan for her wainscoting color in her guest bath and selected our Tiffany tile in blush pink to match the flamingo. Look closely at your lead pattern because it may have color combinations you hadn’t even considered!
“People playing with color and pattern for the first time often get caught up on matching colors exactly,” says Jo. “Don’t worry about finding exact matches! As long as the colors are in the same family, they’re friends and will work well together. You will have more success if you let go of any ‘matchy-matchy’ rules and allow yourself to have fun with your selections.” In Jo’s bathroom design, the blush pink in our Tiffany tiles doesn’t exactly match the pink flamingo in the wallpaper. But as you can see, they look great together!
“Go for contrast when mixing patterns,” advises Jo. “Lay your patterns out on a table and see how everything looks together. If it feels off, there might not be enough contrast between them.” In her guest bathroom, Jo mixes the curvilinear bird wallpaper pattern with our linear pattern Tiffany tile. While both patterns are bold, they complement each other because they each bring something different to the space. Other pattern combinations to consider are small & big, compact & open, and organic & structured. Always pay attention to scale, color, and balance.
“While I try to fill a room with as much color and pattern as possible,” says Jo, “I always make sure to include neutrals and solids in the space to make them pop.” In her bathroom design, Jo selected a sleek, white vanity as well as white subway shower tiles, which give the eyes a visual break and allow you to focus on the brilliant walls and floors. “When combining patterns, it’s also a good idea to break them up with a solid color block,” Jo continues. “For example, the blue wainscoting creates a visual break between the bird-print wallpaper and the cement tile floor.”
“Good design plays with both color and texture,” says Jo. “In my designs, I like adding a textural element and a bit of shimmer.” Jo brought texture into her guest bathroom by adding cane panels to her wainscoting. She included shimmery elements through hardware choices, including a brass shelf, faucet, and drawer pulls.
“Some people, like me, love lots and lots of colors and patterns in their space,” says Jo. “However, others need a smaller dose. While I don’t believe you can ever have too much of a good thing, it’s important for first-timers to gradually introduce color and pattern to discover what they like.” Start small with accessories like pillows, accent chairs, rugs, and artwork.
“You don’t have to be a professional designer to create a mood board,” says Jo. “Everyone has the tools to create an effective vision board for their space, and laying it out on paper will give you a good idea of how it will look in real life.” Jo recommends adding images to a PowerPoint slide, creating a Pinterest board, or even gluing magazine clippings to a poster. Creating a vision board will help you stay on track with your project and make changes before you commit to wallpapering an entire room!
“If you’re bringing color and pattern into your home for the first time, I want you to remember to have fun with it,” Jo exclaims. “Don’t overthink it, and don’t try to make it perfect. Instead, focus on creating a space that brings joy and adds color to your life!”