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How to Effectively Mix and Match Different Styles

If you’re like most people, you probably know what you like.  You have a certain style.

That doesn’t mean to say that everything you like is of one recognized style or another.  It means you see beauty where you see it. You have eclectic tastes.

And there’s nothing wrong with eclecticism.  In fact, eclecticism (the incorporation of a variety of furniture and décor styles into one environment) is a style unto itself and one that people are increasingly attracted to.

eclectic dining area

This post is about how to effectively mix and match different styles without creating a “garage sale” effect.  It can be done and it’s a factor influencing some key home furniture and décor trends, as we speak.

Balance and Harmony

Your taste in décor and furniture may have evolved from favoring one style over all others.  Or perhaps you’re a world traveler, who spirits the wealth of the world back to your home, finding a place for the exotic there.

You may have a collection of furniture that includes contemporary pieces, mid-century modern and antiques.  You may have rustic items.  The point is, it doesn’t matter, if you can create a sense of balance and harmony when combining them.

Color is a major consideration when uniting disparate elements.  How to effectively mix and match different styles is to add a unifying element of color (and that may be more than one color in any given room – but choose no more than 3) to bind the whole together.

Group related items together in “nests” of 3.  This is a principle of design which also shows up in art and photography and is a sound way to curate items of varying design origins.  You can also group items of varying design traditions by color or shape.

Create impact with nests which catch the eye and invite it to wander through the harmonious setting you’ve thoughtfully created.

Contrast and Texture

When items of furniture are so different that you’re not sure what to do with them, put them in the same room.  In that contrast is the start of something beautiful.

Contrast Ultra-modern with Baroque décor touches.  Try Baroque, gold leaf mirrors in dialogue with a space age dining set.  Or re-vision a traditional wingback with contemporary, geometric fabric to bring it into a harmonious relationship with your Mid-Century stereo console.

Texture plays an important role in mixing and matching different styles.  The nubby eye-appeal of natural fabrics dances with the sleek modernity of modular, leather seating.  A color-saturated kilim interfaces with the Victorian orientalist elegance of a rattan settee.

But the true secret of bringing together different styles in harmony is time.  Consider each piece with care and then ask yourself how it can be part of a conversation between styles that amounts to a type of elegant eclecticism that’s stunning, while imminently comfortable.

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