31 Dec Style Guides: Mixing Styles

Over the course of our style guides, we’ve visited many regions of the world and many eras, looking at themes ranging from traditional to contemporary, from formal to cozy. While each of these styles is a melange of different rules and guidelines, sometimes it’s good to blur the margins and merge seemingly disparate styles. Maybe you have a gorgeous piece of antique furniture that doesn’t mesh with your industrial home, or maybe you love mid-century modern while your partner loves Tuscan style. Fear not – you can definitely mix styles.

The first thing you need to do is shift your thinking about styles; remember, when it comes to interior design, there are no hard and fast rules. Every style you’ve heard of is a meshing of various design trends that have occurred over the years; a mid-century modern home is certainly not composed solely of pieces from the 1950s, or you’d run out of mid-century furniture very quickly. The inspiration for these trends is taken from certain eras, to be sure, but there’s nothing that says you can’t mix it up.

Unification will be there key, here; how will you create a cohesive whole out of two different styles? One way is to choose unifying colours and patterns; by doing that, you’ve created a theme without relegating yourself to one particular era. This is especially useful if the two styles already use the same colours; a Belgian style might be pretty easily incorporated with an industrial style, given that both opt for neutrals, while the cooler tones of industrial style homes might be given a pop of warmth by the Belgian style. This idea should branch to the wood stains and types of wood you use; while your mid-century modern desk might not ordinarily match with country kitsch, if the legs for the desk and the wood in your sofa are both made of mahogany, you have a match.

When you’re not doing a full mesh of styles, but want to incorporate a singular piece that doesn’t “match”, opt to make that piece the focal point of the room. Now, instead of being the odd one out, it’s the focus of all the attention, and a great conversation starter.

Another great way of blending styles is by choosing a few unique pieces from each style and putting them in a room with more neutral pieces. This adds an almost bohemian feel to the home; the style becomes eclectic, and the contrast of the more unique pieces with the basics will add interest to the room. Think of it like your own fashion style; when you’re wearing an assortment of pieces with different patterns and bright colours, it’s too much, but pairing a couple of unique pieces with basics will create a balanced outfit.

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