Advanced Interior Decorating Tips: Mixing Styles With Success


Different interior decorating aesthetics tend to be easy to recognize. Farmhouse décor has a certain look that is distinct from mid century modern, which in turn is quite separate in style from bohemian. If you stick closely to the pure principles of design of a particular style, your home will look and feel chic.

However, most people’s taste does not align perfectly with a single interior decorating aesthetic. You might appreciate the clean lines of Scandinavian design but desire the integration of more natural materials as is common in organic modern. Or, perhaps a traditional interior style suits you best when it is mixed heartily with glam decorative elements. Mixing decorating styles is an advanced move in interior design — but you can pull it off by using the following tips and tricks.

Follow an 80/20 Ratio

The easiest way to successfully mix interior decorating styles is by selecting a dominant aesthetic, which will comprise roughly 80 percent of the design elements in your space. Then, with the remaining 20 percent of your interior space, you can rely on one or more secondary aesthetics.

Of course, it is difficult to quantify interior design with such rigid percentages. A more practical approach to the 80/20 rule is to use your dominant aesthetic in the most dominant components of your design, such as your color palette and your furniture. Then, your secondary design style(s) should be present enough to slightly alter the look and feel of the dominant aesthetic but not enough to compete with it in a meaningful way. Your secondary aesthetic might take the form of modern ceiling fans, Mediterranean tabletop décor or bohemian wall hangings.

Experienced interior designers are capable of playing with the 80/20 rule, integrating different aesthetics in different ratios. However, almost all will select a dominant aesthetic to form the foundation of their interior space, and you should do the same in your home.

Consider the Mood of Every Piece

Many interior decorators are so expert in their field that they can mix and match interior styles based on vibes alone. The easiest way to explain this process is to consider the mood of the décor piece you are considering integrating into your room. Some decorative pieces work together to generate a cohesive tone in an interior space; others have vibes that clash.

Some questions you might ask to better understand the tone, mood or vibe of your potential décor include:

  • Does the piece match the formality of the rest of the room?
  • Does the piece generate a similar emotional response as the rest of the room?
  • Does the piece fit the theming of the rest of the room?

If a large amount of your interior décor does not fit the same vibe, your space will feel uneven and uncomfortable to you and your guests.

Use a Consistent Color Palette

Color is exceedingly influential on the look and feel of a room, so you should be especially careful with how you choose the color palette of your home. In fact, before you select any interior decorating styles for your spaces, you must develop a strict color palette, which must remain consistent throughout your décor. Then, almost regardless of the styles you choose to merge, they will create a coherent interior design.

Generally, the tighter your color palette, the wider you can cast your interior styles. In contrast, if you want an explosion of colors, you should stick to one or two design aesthetics. If you struggle to put colors together in a cohesive and pleasing way, you might use a tool like ColorSnap to pull colors from a cherished piece of artwork or to find intriguing and fun color combinations.

Invest Liberally in Pillows

Decorative pillows are the easiest way to shift the design style of an interior space. If your space currently adheres 100 percent to a single design aesthetic, you can begin to integrate another style by covering your sofas, chairs and even floor space in pillows that follow a different aesthetic. Pillows are exceedingly affordable décor items — even more so when you can find or make pillow covers. Even better, pillows are easy to switch out between seasons, giving you more control over how your spaces look and feel throughout the year.

Interior design is moving away from celebrating a single, pure design aesthetic and instead reveling in spaces that are unique. You can give your rooms their own distinctive flair by mixing various interior styles you love — but you might need to experiment a bit to get this advanced decorating strategy just right.


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