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How to Successfully Mix Interior Design Styles

It’s often difficult to stick religiously to just one interior design style throughout your home. With all the inherited pieces, gifts and accumulation of purchases over time, our homes can easily begin to resemble a myriad of colours and textures.

However, successfully mixing the old and the new, the modern and the traditional can be quite a challenge. There is a fine line between a beautifully eclectic space and a chaotic clash of clutter. If you follow certain rules though, you will find that you can achieve that elegant blend without having to give up any of your treasured belongings.

The 80/20 Rule

One of the main rules to abide by is the 80/20 ratio. This means that, as a rule of thumb, 80% of your room should be uniformed by one style, with the other 20% being made up from your own mix of chic antique or ultra modern pieces. Although it may seem like a straightforward guide to decorating, there are certain things that you should keep in mind with the 80/20 rule.

There are some styles and textures that, despite being introduced in moderation, will just not mix. This includes certain woods and fabrics. Dark wood grains such as cherry or mahogany will look completely out of place with a more understated choice, such as bamboo for example. The same can be said for some heavy fabrics.

Strachan Shades of Oak home office in Natural Oak

Shades of Oak home office in a Natural Oak finish

Contrasting Statements

That doesn’t mean you have to throw out one piece in favour of another though. Distressed and worn fabrics can end up making your room look overworked, but you can get it right by mixing small amounts of them with clean and smooth surfaces. A strong juxtaposition, such as a silk throw over a leather sofa, can make a great impact.

However, you should bear in mind that doing this throughout your whole room will distract from the statement. If you want to contrast old and new fabrics, then keep it sparse for the best results. And remember that if certain pieces don’t look good together then no amount of balancing will change that. If this is the case, try moving one piece into a different room instead.

Bold Colours

With all interiors it’s a good idea to inject a visual punch in the form of an accent colour, especially if you’re sticking to a neutral colour palette. This can give you an opportunity to add items that may not have otherwise fitted into the scheme of your space.

A traditional vase in a striking blue or an heirloom throw in a bright pop of red can sit beautifully against contemporary whites, greys and creams, even if they’re not true to the style of your other décor. Just make sure that you stick to the same accent shade throughout the room, using soft furnishings and accessories to tie them all together.

Grey sofa with statement purple scatter cushions

A pop of colour can help tie a room together

Adding and Subtracting

If you find that the balance between old and new just doesn’t seem to be working, then try taking some of the more dramatic pieces away. Choose the items that draw your attention the most and see whether they work well with your other décor and furnishings. If something is overshadowing everything else remove that and reassess the design.

Equally if you feel that something is missing, try adding more dominant items into the blend. Understated, neutral walls can be brightened up with the addition of a vintage mirror frame or try laying a retro patterned rug over your plain, polished wood floors. It’s all about trial and improvement.

Spatial Satisfaction

Your home is all about your tastes and your personality. Remember that when it comes to your interior design, it doesn’t have to resemble the pages of designer magazines.

The most important thing is that you are happy with the aesthetics of your home, and that you are surrounded by items that have a significant and sentimental meaning to you. Whether they are vintage and antique or clean and contemporary, the main thing to keep in mind is how they make you feel.

Statement chandelier in hallway

Carefully considered vintage items can add charm to modern interiors

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