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CableMover 2014 Home Design Resources: Libby Langdon’s Tips on How to Mix Design Elements Like a Pro

Libby Langdon’s Tips on How to Mix Design Elements Like a Pro

Part of the CableMover 2014 Home Design Resources Series


Here are some tried and true tips on how to get the design of your home looking pulled together but not too “matchy-matchy.”  Ideally, you want a room to “coordinate” but not “match.” Rooms that coordinate have varied textures, prints, materials, and tones that work together and appear balanced and cohesive. Rooms that match usually have all the same colored wood (usually all made by the same company and sold in a suite), they also have a matching sofa and loveseat or matching bedding that was sold in a set.  You want to be sure to break things up a little bit, which will help your design to feel fresh rather than stuffy.  Rooms that look collected over time (and feature a variety of tones, textures, and materials) always look so much more stylish and interesting than rooms that look like they could have been purchased all at once from one store.

Be sure to mix textures and surfaces for a stylish look, combine several different textures such as silk, suede, wool, linen, chenille, leather and cotton to add visual interest to your space.   If all the furniture in your space is one fabric (e.g. cotton) it can lack dimension and feel cold.  Mix surfaces on furniture as well like wood, iron, glass, mirror, rattan and steel.  This again, will help create a look all your own and less “cookie cutter.”  Remember to have some fun with your space!

There’s a fine line between collected over time and mismatched and chaotic, variations in texture and materials add stylish, layered interest that draws you in.  Following are ways to mix different design styles, modern and traditional, and make it look like you really meant to do it!

 

Use Abstract Art to Offset Classic Furniture

One of the most popular design styles is traditional because of the safe, comfortable atmosphere it evokes. In recent years, new traditionalist has come into fashion because it allows more freedom to mix in different finishes, periods and styles. Achieve this look by placing a piece of abstract art in a traditional setting. Also, maybe incorporating a little bit of an animal print on a pillow or an ottoman on a traditional piece of furniture can update the style.

Unify Areas Through Color

When merging pieces from different design styles, a coat of paint can easily help you unify pieces. If you have a several vintage piece of furniture that are old and stained consider painting a few of them white or black to work with some other more contemporary pieces you may have. This helps to avoid mismatched mistake; remember -- it’s good to mix in a few stained items but many of them can give you that “hand-me-down” jumbled look.

Make Traditional Modern with Bright Colors

Sometimes older matching dining sets can be completely transformed to look cool and really make it your own. A can or two of spray paint can easily help here, there’s a wonderful spray paint called “Krylon,” and you don’t need to sand anything before you spray it.  This spray paint is designed to adhere to plastic or metal. Take the dining chairs that came with the set, pick out your favorite shade of spray paint and then go to town. Apply a coat of poly afterwards to prevent chipping. Purchase a couple of yards of your favorite fabric and recover the seats, which is super easy to do with a staple gun!  Leave the table the wood color and now you don’t have what looks like a “Dining Set.”

Cover It Up

When trying to blend living room furniture from different design styles, the simplest solution is slipcovers. With all of the fabric options available, you have your pick from country to modern and everything in between. Many people are brave enough to tackle making a slipcover on their own, but a plea on craigslist often brings your pick of seamstresses that can help. I love to take a client’s traditional old hand-me-down furniture and completely give it a whole new life with a bold, colorful print slipcover.