Your Guide to Mixing Moroccan Patterns

For the non-interior designers out there, the thought of mixing patterns may just feel...wrong. Too funky. Too busy. Too much. And it certainly isn't something that comes naturally to most of us raised in the United States. In fact, the first time I was really exposed to this idea was while living in Morocco. It fascinated me to see the bright, bold patterns of Moroccan zellige (tiles) next to a patterned kilim rug with a ponj (traditional Moroccan couch) on top-- covered in a jewel-tone floral pattern. It was something I would have never thought to put together...and it somehow just worked!


If you're interested in delving into the world of mixing patterns, here are a few tips to make your Moroccan decor (or really any patterned decor!) shine:

1. Varying Pattern Type & Size

The scale and type of patterns you use should be varied and distinct; this creates a visual contrast and allows the brain to register each pattern individually. This room from Old Red City is a great example. They paired a black and white striped pom pom blanket (small stripes) with a large, abstract Azilal-style rug. Tight, neutral patterns are seen on the throw pillows, and the tapestry on the wall picks up the abstract pattern in the rug again, but on a smaller scale. The overall affect is cohesive but also visually interesting-- and a lot of different patterns have been successfully incorporated.

Another great example? Check out this image of Maslouhi's throw pillows, woven shawl, and embroidered pouf. Each has a different design register and size: small stripes mixed with thicker stripes on the pillows, a very intricate woven pattern on the shawl that almost makes it read as a solid, and a larger floral pattern on the embroidered pouf.

2. Color as an Anchor

Another reason that Old Red City's space is so cohesive is that they repeated black and white accents throughout the room. You can see this done in brown with Tifa Home Decor's use of brown leather Moroccan poufs.

Each pouf has a lovely striped pattern of thread that sews each panel together. Although using two of these poufs in the same room could potentially add to the busyness of the space, Tifa Home Decor has used the classic chocolate brown as a color anchor throughout the room: the rattan chair, the side table, and even several of the frames on the wall repeat this color so that there is a harmony between the various design elements throughout the room. You can also see this in olive green and white with Maslouhi's throw pillows below.

3. Mixing Patterns and Solids

You've probably started to intuitively pick up on this in each of the other reference photos, but mixing patterns with solids gives the eye an opportunity to rest. This image from Loom and Field is a fantastic example; see how they pick out the yellows and pinks in their rug's patterns and repeat them in solid throw pillows on the couch? Not only is there a cohesiveness in color (referring back to the second point), but the busy pattern of the rug is balanced by the static color-blocking affect of the pillows. 

Okay, you may be saying, "Sure, I get it, but that's not really an example of mixing Moroccan patterns." Fair enough! Here's a second example of the interplay of solids and patterns from TLC Interiors. They have a boucherouite rug and an upcycled rug pillow in the same space-- with two distinctly different patterns. But, not only have they used cohesive colors (the pinks in each item really speak to each other), but they've used a solid color on the wall and a solid leather chair to keep the background less busy for these two elements to really shine.


What other suggestions do you have for mixing Moroccan patterns? Let us know in the comments!

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