Fluidly Mixing Design Styles

Most people’s homes are not fully reflective of a particular era unless they are a design purist who is fully committed to one design aesthetic. The majority of us have a mixture of various styles and trends which ultimately form these personally curated spaces that we call “home.” 

At its core, our homes absolutely should be reflections of our lives and what brings us joy. While this is true, in order to combat a hodge-podge aesthetic, there are ways that we can arrange our spaces where the result is personal and cohesive.

There are many reasons why one would want to blend styles – Maybe you’re trying to marry your preferred design aesthetic with your partners. Or perhaps you’ve inherited pieces that you want to blend with your current decor (Insert old post). Most of us aren’t design purists and are looking for a space that uniquely reflects our personalities and lifestyles.

When you are mixing design styles, there are a few factors to keep in mind so that it is executed without a hitch. While the following tips are helpful in tying various styles together, feel free to cherry-pick what works for you! 

mixing design styles

#1

My first suggestion, which also happens to be the one that I suggest the most, is to limit the color palette in the space. Having a variety of styles and color palettes can easily overwhelm the eye. In order to foster a space that looks and feels cohesive, find ways to limit and stick to one color palette.  

When you hold back from letting any old-color live in your space, the vibe of the space becomes more concentrated and purposeful. The similar color-palette ties all of the pieces together, regardless of the silhouettes or styles of the pieces.  

#2

If getting rid of your furniture set gives you anxiety, know that mixing design styles can also be curated around shared elements. Grouping items based on similar colors, sizes, and textures bring out the aspects that they have in common as opposed to highlighting the differences.  

The result of grouping items with similar elements is that the space will register as being very thoughtful. I recommend creating little “design moments” by way of vignettes that highlight the commonalities.  

#3

Use the 80/20 rule as a guide. If you feel like a novice when marrying different styles, start with the 80/20 rule. Aim for the majority of your space to live in the realm of one style, while the complementing style is peppered into the space. 

Having one style serve simply as the “supporting character” should alleviate some anxiety of flawlessly merging styles.  

 

#4

One of the biggest takeaways when it comes to pulling off different styles in the same space, is to pay attention to balance and scale. When thinking about balance you need to take note of the visual weight that is placed within a space. Does one side of the room feel more cluttered or sparse than the other? Use pieces to balance the visible weight, without worrying about being too matchy-matchy. 

 

Scale is different from balance in that it is all about proportions and the comparative size of objects. We’ve all unfortunately witnessed someone who has crammed an oversized sofa or bed in a room. It makes the room feel claustrophobic because the scale of the piece is all wrong. The general rule is that larger spaces can accommodate larger pieces, whilst this is not true for smaller spaces. We could go on and on as it relates to proper scale in design, but the important thing to remember is to match in scale, not style. Get creative when mixing design styles, but keep the scale in check. 

mixing design styles

Styles That Pair Well 


So now that you have some of the guidelines for mixing furniture, let’s take a peaksy at styles that complement each other very well. 

 

Traditional + Mid-Century Modern 

Traditional

Think wingback chairs, crystal chandeliers, gilded accents, and classic patterns like chinoiserie, matelassé, & damask 

Paired with  

Mid-Century Modern

Think long, low credenzas, Eames-style molded plastic chairs, warm wood finishes, and geometric patterns

 

Modern Glam + Zen   

Modern Glam 

Think chrome or brass finishes, lacquered walls, crystal chandeliers and luxurious textiles such as velvet, silk, and fur 

Paired with 

Zen 

Monochromatic color palettes, simple furniture with little ornamentation, solid linens, and natural materials such as bamboo and cotton

 

mixing design styles

Minimalist + Bohemian 

Minimalist

Think white surfaces, multifunctional pieces, floating shelves, and simple & sleek furniture 

Paired with 

Bohemian 

Think intricate global patterns, indoor plants, hand-dyed textiles, and furniture saturated with color

 

Contemporary + 80s  

Contemporary 

Think oversized artwork, chrome or nickel finishes, glass tables, and neutral, masculine color palettes 

Paired with 

80s 

Mirrored pieces, colorful pop art, round-arm upholstered furniture, and pastels

 

I hope that these have inspired you to mix-it-up in your space. Merging styles doesn’t have to be daunting at all; rather it can be really fun if done right. The most important thing to remember is that this is your space and it should reflect you and your life. While guidelines are nice to use as baselines, do you boo. 

 

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