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Guest Blog: Mix and Match - not matchy matchy!

Why I love mixing florals and stripes.

by Chloe Cardew of Willow & Bert Interiors

Thank you so much Abi for asking me to write a guest blog.

This is such a great topic for me, particularly as I love mixing up patterns and enjoy the fun and freedom that working with fabrics and soft furnishings brings.


I’m often asked where I get my inspiration (top tip, only ask if you have a full pot of coffee and at least an hour to spend chatting!). But seriously, and without wishing to sound too banal, I find inspiration all around, in unexpected glimpses from the train or car, from the radio, from a book, film or painting, from furniture, nature and so much more.

When it comes to designing a space for my clients, my first inspiration is them. Who they are, what their influences are, what they want from their room, who it is for and how they want it to feel? As we chat, I take into account the building whether period, modern or neither, and the room itself, its function, place and flow within the whole home.

Sometimes a client will ask me to come up with a total room design, giving me an almost free rein, which is a total joy. I love playing around with patterns, textures, wall coverings, flooring, soft furnishings and lighting.

Happy place

So, whether it’s carte blanche or creating a smaller scheme, mixing and matching is my happy place and I love to explore mixing patterns. I reassure clients that this need not be scary, that trying it out, experimenting a little need not be ‘out there’ but can be much more subtle.

One of the ways I do this is by mixing florals and stripes of toning colours and even textures. It’s fantastic when you find a bold and brilliant pattern that you love, which you can then partner with a complementary tonal stripe, and this is something I have used in soft furnishings to great effect. The two create an interplay – the floral stops a stripe (potentially) looking a little flat and then a stripe can be used to great effect to sometimes ‘calm’ a botanical print down a tad.

I also find that block colour, complemented with a mix of contrasting, yet tonal patterns, stripes and trimmings can bring a modern edge to a timeless feature such as a window seat. Floral prints don’t always have to shout, ‘look at me’ and a stripe rarely does, which is why they work so well together in a scheme, adding cohesion with an effortless grace.

Having had a sneak peek at Abi’s forthcoming collection, and with my well-publicised love of blues, I can’t wait to pair both the new Blue Floral and Blue Leaf designs with a contrasting stripe; perhaps on a tumble of cushions or playing with contrasting backs if fewer cushions are desired. I’m also loving the delicate White Floral and White Leaf versions which I’m tempted to use in the same scheme, interspersed with the stripe for

some curtains or a Swedish blind – showing more pattern at play.

Don’t just stick to cushions or covers

Fabrics are such a joyful and forgiving way to bring colour, life, subtlety and texture into your home. But I don’t just stick to cushions or covers when bringing in patterns and stripes. I’m lucky that so many of my clients are really open to taking this step when considering what to use for their windows. What’s not to love with a Roman blind that really pops in a bedroom? Social media or traditional interiors magazines show an abundance of colourful homes and in and I can certainly see within my client base over the last few years that

many have got bolder. We’ve even re-visited a few clients to update their look and inject a bit more pattern and colour, projects we’re always delighted to take on!

Incorporating flooring and wallpapers that also work to this principle, providing another way of bringing a bright or playful feel to otherwise utilitarian spaces, such as hallways, cloakrooms or wherever you hide the detritus of daily life.

And finally, Storytelling

Your home tells your story, it’s as simple as. I would say look around you. What are the things, pieces, pictures, photos, kids’ drawings, bits of tatty fabric (just me then!) and books that you can’t be without? Then ask yourself, why do I need/love or have to have them?

It’s because they tell your story, they provide the short-cuts to memories that made you who you are, and which influence you still. They are part of your story, of your family’s story and after all, isn’t this what you want to share when you invite people into your home? One a final note, one of things I love most about the Willis Bloom collections, are that are created to tell – or maybe emphasise that story of a home. For me beauty of their collections is three-fold:

1: They can easily be printed in any colour combinations - I recently used the fantastically fun damask ‘How Very British’ in bespoke colours to suit my client. Check out this modern twist on a very traditional pattern, view here - how many symbols of Britannia can you spot? Willis Bloom produced a bespoke colour version of for one of my clients – perfect for her beamy cottage in the Kent countryside.

2: They are joyful – there’s a humour in Abi’s designs and they manage to look effortlessly classic yet contemporary.

3: Quality of the fabric: dull but so important! Willis Bloom print on the loveliest linen fabric which in turn means the quality of the designs shines through, along with stunning colours used. See for yourself and get some gorgeous samples on order.

So, thanks again Team WB for asking me to contribute, we look forward to working with you again in 2021. As another small, family-focused company I salute your creativity, fun and beautiful designs.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and want to know more about what I do, my philosophy and clients, follow me on Instagram (@willowbertinteriors).

Chloe x

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