Very few people have their home filled with furniture & accent pieces that all exude the same style of decor. Most clients, family & friends have an eclectic blend of pieces that have been lovingly curated throughout the years by their own unique life experiences. Quite honestly, that's what I love to see in a space - a blend of several styles & pieces that may not all perfectly match, but tell each person's unique story. Our homes & offices speak volumes about the person & family who lives there, and I love to see each person's story come through in their space in a well designed and articulate way.
Blending styles can be challenging, but if you find what I call "bridging elements" & bring them together in your space - your pieces and your room will have a wonderful, cohesive flow. Bridging elements are pieces that have something in common (and it can be one thing) with the other pieces in your room. For example, in my own dining room, I have a folksy hand-painted sideboard from Belgium. I blend this piece into my more eclectic mid-century home by pairing this more traditional piece with a modern farmhouse table and sleek upholstered chairs. How do I do this and make it look good? My bridge elements are the colors. The wood of my table blends seamlessly with the painted wood of the sideboard. The chairs are upholstered with the same cream color found in the paint of the side board. I use similar color tones to bridge all of these elements together for a cohesive design flow.
Here are several "bridge elements" you can use in your own space:
As stated in the above example, using colors of similar tones & hues instantly brings a space together.
Want to pair that modern abstract painting with traditional furniture? Pay attention to the lines of each piece. Pieces of contrasting styles can be combined when they share similar lines in the individual design motifs like curvilinear, geometric, horizontal & vertical lines. For example- I've seen very modern furniture, with its sharp corners & geometric shapes paired beautifully with an extremely traditional piece of art simply because the art also had square & rectangle shapes in the background.
3. Metal finishes
Using the same or similar metallic finishes in a room is a quick & easy way to blend & bridge styles. Have all your lamps, electronics and metal accent pieces match the metal hardware on your casegoods (desks, tables & chests, etc....)
4. Wood Finishes
Now wood finishes do not always have to be matched perfectly. I constantly pair lighter wood stains with darker wood stains, but if I'm trying to pair two conflicting styles together - it is easier to do so when the wood stains do match or at the very least compliment each others hues. I tend to either buy my personal pieces in a darker walnut or espresso stain, so all my furniture can blend more easily together.
Proper scale is crucial to bridging different styles together. Make sure your pieces are paired with other similar sized pieces. Nothing looks worse than putting a tiny accent chair with an oversized sofa or a dinky little piece of art with a huge bed. Pair your pieces according to their sizes for a cohesive look.
By applying "bridge elements" to your space, you can seamlessly mix styles in a beautiful way. I also find that pieces can really stand out & make a strong design statement when everything doesn't perfectly match. How will you mix your unique blend of pieces in your home? Use bridging elements to make it easier and as always - Happy Designing!