A Creative Couple Shows Us How to Easily Mix Prints at Home
Advice straight from textile designers.
Published Mar 14, 2019 7:00 AM
Step into the Upper West Side abode of Nisha Mirani and Brendan Kramer and you won’t find a shortage of visual inspiration. The couple, who run the textile brand Sunday/Monday, have filled their apartment with a medley of patterns, textures, and colors, all of which come together to create a stimulating space. When it comes to mixing and matching a hodgepodge of prints and hues, they’re seasoned pros.
Nature motifs, block prints, and graphic patterns create running themes throughout the couple’s space, which strikes a rare kind of maximalism that balances stimulation with serenity. Working with textiles they’ve designed, finds they’ve accumulated through their travels, and thrift store jaunts, Mirani and Kramer have mastered the art of layering in their open-floor plan living space, and along the way, they’ve accrued plenty of tips for making the process even easier. Follow their advice for mixing patterns in your living room below.
Matching Is a Myth
Well, sort of. If you’ve been stressed out that your throw pillows and afghan don’t quite contain the same exact shades of green, orange, and yellow, don’t worry—precision isn’t totally necessary. “Sometimes people feel textiles really have to match—be the exact shade of red to be on the same sofa, or that they should match the art on the wall perfectly,” says Mirani.
It’s helpful instead to look for smaller details that can connect two pieces together. “Many people, when they’re designing a room, might think, ‘I can only use these three different colors and that’s it.’ But really, you can use a much larger color family,” Kramer adds. “Even if you want a specific look to your room, whether it’s mid-century or global, it’s okay to mix styles from within a region. Usually, they’ll have something in common, whether it’s a floral motif or a specific shade of blue.”
Grounding Points Make Mixing Prints Easier
Of course, if you’re going to go all-out on patterns, it’s helpful to consider your foundation. “It’s important to have an anchor piece,” says Mirani. “In our living room, which is one big open space, we have a velvet blush sofa. It’s a very light pink, so for us, it reads as a neutral. With the pink, we’re able to play more with patterns and colors because it grounds the space and creates focus. It gives your eyes a little bit of a break.”
Whether you opt for a true neutral piece or break up an abundance of pattern with a simple solid color, the right foundational piece prevents a wide array of mixed-and-matched accents from overwhelming your space.
Rugs Can Be Room Dividers
When it comes to wide, open spaces, it might feel instinctual to opt for one large area rug, but Mirani and Kramer show the value of visually dividing the space using floor coverings. “We have one big open space that we use as a living room and a dining area. Brendan pointed out that having a darker rug under a dining table makes it feel more like we have a separate dining space, so it visually draws a line in the room,” Mirani says. “It helps to separate the space and makes it feel bigger than it is.”
Consider placing rugs in specific vignettes to make an open floor plan feel more intimate. “In small spaces, having multiple area rugs creates the feeling of having more room,” Mirani continues. “We have a chair and a bookshelf with our blue rug, and that’s our cozy reading nook. We have a sofa area where we entertain, and then we have the dining area.”
Textiles Belong on the Wall Too
If you have a substantial collection of throws, rugs, and even runners and placemats, consider out-of-the-box placements. “We have a lot of textiles on our wall,” Mirani says. “If you have a large collection of textiles, you probably can’t put them all out on your floor or your bed, but the wall is a great place to display them. The fabric gets to breathe there too.”
In the couple’s home, gallery walls aren’t complete without the addition of a few more textural elements, like an antique Indian bridal embroidery. “The textures of textiles creates a kind of a warm space, rather than just having all glass framed prints and paintings,” Kramer says. “A lot of our designs are made in a certain way because we imagine them being hung on a wall. Our scarves have smaller graphic patterns, and our rugs have large patterns—a lot of people have chosen to hang them up.”
Taking Your Time Is Key
Perfecting the ideal mixed-and-matched harmony can take some time, so it’s best not to rush the job. “It’s important to get to know your space and to know what you actually like,” Mirani says. “We’ve been living here almost two years and we’re finally getting to a place that we’re happy with, but we’ve really taken our time and shopped thoughtfully.”
After all, when your space has substantial layers of different textural elements, there’s room to consistently switch things up as you accrue new pieces, retire some old ones and bit by bit assemble a space that you own. “A lot of the pieces we own we’ve gotten after meeting the people who made them by supporting other small businesses or finding some lucky scores in thrift stores. It doesn’t have to be Instagram-ready the moment you move into a space.”
See more design inspiration: This Philly Home Takes Gallery Walls to an Unparalleled Level Babba C. Rivera’s Brooklyn Apartment Is a Serene, Scandi-Inspired Retreat This Home Looks More Like a Global Bazaar Than a Brooklyn Townhouse