Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

Homes that layer in pieces from different eras or cultures are dynamic and interesting. However, it’s important to follow a few simple rules to ensure you end up with a cohesive scheme, and not something where your eye doesn’t know where to land, and winds up confused and unhappy. Here are seven ways to successfully mix aesthetics:

COLOUR

Whether your scheme is monochrome or multi-coloured, using a consistent colour scheme will help your scheme hang together cohesively.  This doesn’t mean that every piece of furniture needs to be exactly the same colour though.  In fact I’d encourage you to mix and match colours, using accessories to pull all the colours together.

Image – Sophie Robinson

THINK SCALE

Don’t forget to consider the scale of your furniture in mind.  You don’t want a huge overstuffed chair sitting next to your grandmother’s dainty wooden carved loveseat.  And if you’re buying pieces whilst on your travels, then resist the temptation to buy something because it will fit in your luggage to get it home because the chances are it will be too small, and get lost in your scheme.

CREATE BALANCE THROUGH SYMMETRY

If you have totally different objects on either side of a bed, for example, they can create a balanced whole due to their symmetry within the space. However, it’s best to choose items with an equal visual weight to achieve this balance.

Image – Studio Ashby

DISTRIBUTE EQUALLY

Try to avoid having a confusing mix of solitary objects. When mixing in different styles, give each piece at least one ‘companion’ who shares the same characteristics (colour, era, culture, etc), and then distribute these items equally through the space.  This makes it easier for the eye to accept whilst adding interest to the scheme.

Image – Clarkson Potter

SHAPE

Choose pieces with complimentary lines and shapes. I find this easiest to do by creating a moodboard with all of the items together.  You should be able to quite easily tell if one item sticks out like a sore thumb this way.

ONE PIECE, TWO STYLES

Another way to unite a scheme is to have two contrasting styles in one object, for example an antique chair reupholstered in a modern fabric or pattern, or a traditional piece of brown furniture painted in a bright colour.

Image – Studio Ashby

MATCH MOODS

It’s important to think about how you want you space to feel.  If your living room is a place to kick back and relax, don’t layer in overly formal furniture. Make all your choices equally informal, and your space will feel right.

Using these simple rules, you will be able to create a successful space, where everything finds a way to get along.  Having said that, I couldn’t agree more with Dorothy Draper  who says, “I always put in one controversial item. It makes people talk.”   After all, rules are there to be broken!

“For a house to be successful, the objects in it must communicate with one another, respond and balance one another.”
Andrée Putman

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