One of the easiest ways to create a boring living space is sticking to a single style or period. The most inspiring and livable rooms come from combining old and new pieces in a way that will give your space a feeling of being pulled together over time. It's all about achieving 'the mix'. So let's talk about ways to create this elusive 'mix' that so many design junkies and interior designers bring up time and time again.
1. Consider the room's architecture | Was your home built in the 1920's or 30's? You can certainly incorporate some period pieces and antiques throughout the house, but adding modern lighting, rugs, and art/accessories will help bring your home into the 21st century. A room full of antiques tends to feel a little stuffy, but those same antiques look much cooler when paired with more modern pieces. On the other hand, if you live in a 1950's ranch, which will likely have mid-century modern bones, try bringing in a vintage settee or pillows with a bohemian vibe to make the space feel cozy and inviting. Visuals always help, so here's one of my favorite rooms/homes ever!
The quality of this photo isn't the best, but it drives my point home. The way Samantha Sacks was able to turn this run-down 1920's tudor style home into a fresh, modern space perfect for her family, is a visual testament to 'the mix'. She painted the coffered ceilings, along with the rest of the room white, but left the leaded glass windows in their original wood trim. The live edge table from Crate and Barrel, wishbone chairs, and modern light fixture seal the deal for me. You can see more photos of this home here.
2. High and Low | Let your sleek, clean-lined, Ikea pieces live amongst the patina of your favorite one-of-a-kind flea market finds. I think this picture below speaks for itself.
This simple, inexpensive Ikea cabinet was turned into a bar cabinet with mid-century legs. Paired with the vintage lady portrait, it's perfect!
3. Mixing metals | Does every light fixture, faucet, doorknob, and piece of hardware within your home need to be one finish(i.e. polished nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, etc.)? This is a question I get asked a lot and my answer is always no. It's not only okay to mix metals, it's encouraged. This tip can really be used in any room of the house, but the two spaces where it makes the most impact are bathrooms and kitchens. Unless you are into an ultra-modern, uniform look, mixing metals is key to giving off a collected vibe.
There are several great 'mix' elements going on in the above photo. Perfect partners - classic hex floor tile alongside subway tile with dark grout on the wall. The vanity looks like a midcentury style dresser or console that was likely custom built topped with a more streamlined, modern top. And then we've got the mix of unlacquered brass faucets, knobs, and mirrors paired with black lighting.
4. No matchy, matchy | This topic really gets me going, but I'll try to keep it brief. The days of buying matching furniture sets are over. Those big name, discount furniture warehouses are good at convincing us that we should be buying an entire living room set at one time in order to save money. You know the ones, matching brown leather or microfiber sofa and loveseat with matching end tables and coffee table. Please don't buy these. This is a sure-fire way to create a "blah" living space. How will your home reflect your family's personality when you are choosing the same set that is sold in bulk to thousands of other people. It may take a little more thought and effort, but filling your space with individual pieces that you find at various places(i.e. Ikea, antique shops, West Elm, flea markets, roadside finds, inherited pieces, and the list goes on) is so much more fulfilling and will translate into a home that feels like YOU!
5. Layering textures and patterns | They are the key to giving a room visual interest so it doesn't feel one dimensional or flat. This is definitely something you need to have restraint with. There is such a thing as overdoing it with textures and patterns, (you don't want your house to end up looking like the B-52's love shack), but when used in the right amount they really take a room to the next level.
Let's play a game of 'I spy' with this image above. What textures do you see? Here's what I'm feasting my eyes on: layered rugs in various patterns, the texture of the baskets, the softness of the drapes and bedding, the tufting on the back of the settee, the rough wood on the ceiling and the more polished wood on the floors. There is not a ton of color in this room, but there doesn't need to be, the textures and patterns take care of it.
6. Buy what you love | This is the best way to allow a mix of styles to happen naturally in your home. When you're out and about and spot something that speaks to you, don't overthink it, just go ahead and buy it. You don't need to have the perfect spot for it. If you love it, you'll find a spot. This doesn't necessarily apply for major furniture purchases. Those types of decisions usually need to be thought out, but I think everything else is fair game - rugs, pillows, art, side chairs, accent tables, lamps, and the list goes on.
If you need help achieving 'the mix' in your own home feel free to contact me and we'll work together to create a home you love!