Keeping a uniform design is standard practice that makes any room look like it came straight out of a magazine. But, sometimes, it makes a space look uninteresting and flat. As personalization is gaining more attention, many are learning to blend different interior styles to give a room more character and make it come alive.
Creating a combination of design styles is easier than most would think. In fact, some of the known types of interior design today borrow key elements from various eras and cultures. An example is the global design hit Japandi. It blends the clean, rustic mood of the Nordic styles with the traditional elegance of Japanese minimalist design principles.
Blending different interior styles can take a bit of practice, but taking the time to learn makes decorating any space more fun and exciting. A mix of patterns, textures, colors, furniture, and even lighting for a room gives more for the eyes to look at.
As your style evolves or you move into a new home with a partner, incorporating various design elements into your space is inevitable. You won’t have to settle for a simple interior design anymore when you blend a variety of them. Read on to learn how to combine different interior design styles that look coordinated rather than clashing.
Define your style
The first step to blending different interior designs is determining your style. Identify your unique taste and preferences for colors, textures, patterns, and furniture design to help you select elements and create a unified look that exudes your personality.
A clear vision of your style is a crucial starting point as it narrows down your choices to avoid mish-mashing items that don’t work. If you gravitate towards rustic and modern looks, you can add stone and plant elements into your space while incorporating glass, dark colors, and sleek arrangements.
If you’re still a beginner in the blending design styles game, consider sticking to the 80/20 rule. This practice essentially assigns 80% of a room’s design to one style (preferably a style you already know well and love) and the remaining 20% to a design style that can complement it. This way, you won’t have to worry about competing room elements.
Remember that not everything has to match. However, your room elements should have something in common to play well with each other. For example, you can start small by adding a vintage wooden dresser that works well as a living room shelf or a TV console in a mid-century style living room.
A focal point is a great way to bring the ‘wow’ factor that every room needs. A statement piece draws attention well and is the first thing your eyes see when entering a room. If you love a piece of art or furniture that doesn’t necessarily fit your room’s style, you can use it to set the tone for the entire space.
Ensure that your focal point doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. You don’t want a bright green couch floating in the middle of a sleek, modern home. Instead, build the room around it or place complementary trinkets nearby to make the focal point work better.
A simple way to create a focal point in your space is to choose a statement wall. Paint the wall in a bold color or wallpaper to accentuate its features and tie the different elements of the room together. As a result, your space becomes more visually appealing while also improving the cohesiveness between different interior styles.
There’s a fine line between a room with an eclectic style and complete disarray. Too many colors can be distracting and lead to design mismatches. When blending interior styles, consistently use a limited color palette throughout your designs. Doing so ensures that the overall look of your space is cohesive yet still dynamic.
Certain design styles call for a specific palette. For example, a Bohemian or boho style typically works well with deep, rich colors. Jewel tones and earth shades like terracotta, indigo, and coffee can bring out the signature cozy boho vibe. You can complement these shades by incorporating farmhouse-style accent pieces throughout the room.
This measure also works well with mixing decor styles that enhance the look of your space. Keeping your wood tones consistent or at least similar can tie in furniture pieces from different types. Use wood stains for a quick and easy fix. You can also make a modern sofa work with a traditional wingback chair by choosing upholstery that works together.
Add pops of color
While consistency is essential to keeping interiors harmonious, overdoing it can make your area seem bland, dull, and without personality. So, consider adding pops of color to keep the interior exciting and visually engaging.
For instance, if your living area primarily incorporates natural wood colors like beige, brown, and white, consider adding wine red and jet-black furniture, like a vase, stool, or carpet, to avoid monotony. However, remember to use these accent colors sparingly and keep the 80/20 rule in mind to maintain cohesiveness.
Balance is essential when blending different styles to make your design pieces look intentional and coordinated. Consider adding rugs, wall pieces, and light fixtures that enhance your interior style to help maintain visual balance in your space. Doing so creates a sense of completion and depth for any room.
Keeping your furnishings and decor at scale and proportionate is an efficient way to maintain design balance. This way, your room doesn’t look too empty or cramped. A small settee can look awkward next to a large cushioned sofa, as a square table would with a rectangular rug.
Patterns are a great way to maintain visual balance and blend interior styles. However, it can look scattered and confusing when not correctly done. You can choose a curve or line from a piece and repeat the pattern throughout as a starting point. Also, consider incorporating patterned pillows to add more color and effectively bridge design styles.
Avoid grouping similar items in one area or dividing a room to fit a particular style. The point of blending interior designs is to gather its key components and make them work together. For example, a floral corner or a singular shelf filled with vintage decor can look out of place in a minimalist house.
There are many ways to make distinct pieces look put together and cohesive. One of the easiest ways to make style elements complement each other is to give them a neutral background. Use the dominant hue in the room to make these features stand out without being too overwhelming.
To illustrate, a retro patterned rug can complement the colorful shabby chic throw pillows against a beige couch. Indeed, sometimes less is more!
Combine styles from different eras
Combining styles from different eras allows you to create an eye-catching, eclectic look. For instance, you could mix Art Deco elements with contemporary design or Victorian-era furniture with a mid-century modern interior—the possibilities are endless!
Finding a balance between these styles and letting them complement each other is essential. Pick pieces with a similar aesthetic or color palette to create a harmonious look that ties everything together. You may also practice this with accent pieces, like artwork and décor, to evoke a sense of history and timelessness in your living area.
Different textures are essential to maintaining an engaging look, as using a single material like wood for most of your space can become monotonous over time. Mix and match wood, metal, glass, and fabric to create a visually dynamic space that won’t bore you in the long run.
Take industrial interior design, for example. This style blends natural wood’s texture with the sleek feel of glass but incorporates splashes of metal and stone. While these materials greatly vary, letting them complement each other creates a cohesive look that adds to the design’s character and aesthetic.
Add rugs and carpets
Rugs and carpets are an excellent way to tie different interior styles together. For instance, you could use a plain, brown carpet for a space incorporating a Japandi design to leverage Japanese and Scandinavian interiors’ minimalist elements.
If you wish to add texture and contrast to your space, rugs and carpets can do the job. Let’s say your living area incorporates a sleek, modern design. You might want to use a large rug with a traditional pattern to create visual interest. It keeps the room lively while also being an excellent eye-catcher for visitors.
Incorporate natural elements
Since most popular designs typically incorporate natural elements such as wood and flowers, plants are essential to combining interior styles.
The zen-inspired design integrates plants to encourage meditation and promote unity with the natural self, while Nordic interiors use wood and natural fibers as functional elements of a space. Plants are the middle ground between the two styles, enabling them to harmonize.
Play with lighting
Some decorators often overlook the value of lighting in elevating any space, but remember that lighting choices can define interior styles, especially at night. For example, rustic designs typically use warm lighting to emphasize nature, while modern interiors combine white and warm bulbs to accentuate sleekness and functionality.
However, picking the appropriate brightness and colors can be tricky when combining interior designs. Luckily, smart LED bulbs solve the problem by providing several color choices depending on your needs. Do you want to bring your modern space closer to nature at night? You could change bulb colors to dim blue or yellow to mimic outdoor moonlight.
Accent lighting also influences your space’s overall atmosphere. LED light strips under your kitchen cupboards or around bathroom mirrors allow you to produce ambient lighting to improve its functionality. At the same time, warm desk lamps and traditional lampshade designs can give it a more boho feel.
Of course, the points discussed aren’t hard-and-fast rules. Blending different interior styles should be a fun and creative process where you can discover other matches that work together and fit your aesthetic. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things! Mixing textures, colors, and patterns in your space may lead to unexpected but beautiful combinations.
However, remember that functionality and comfort should still be a priority. Your space must be practical for your needs, so balance creativity with comfort to create a beautiful and livable space.
Ultimately, your goal isn’t to create a homogeneous interior design. When dealing with contrasting design styles, strive to find a balance to find the middle ground. It’s the key element that can truly make any place your own.
Remember that following rules allow you to learn how to break them. While cardinal interior design commandments exist, styling your space to fit your lifestyle, comfort, and preferences is the most important.
Blend the old with new, affordable with luxurious, and the classics with trendy—there are no limits to creating a harmonious interior design that makes any house feel like home.
About the Author
|Benjamin Galang Ben is a content strategist in the morning, and a part-time writer for his village gazette by night. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the De La Salle University Manila. He likes doing D.I.Y. projects and home furnishing so much so that he likes writing about what he discovers project after project. He likes living his life to the fullest, going on adventures with his bike, and hikes unimaginable heights. Ben is currently residing in a townhouse with interiors that reflect his personal taste and lifestyle.|