Split-Personality Style: When You Love Two Wildly Different Looks

published Aug 12, 2015
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Retro living room furniture
(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Do you love really sleek, modern designs but like traditional details, too? Do you like both a lot of color as well as spaces that are peaceful and monochromatic? You don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other when you love two wildly different design styles. In fact, there are two successful ways to include both styles in your home and your heart.

You can pick one style to be the lead.

To mix two different styles in one room, pick one to be the primary style. Let the large pieces of furniture and focal points — your influential items like your sofas, credenzas, and beds — reinforce the main design style. Then, slowly add in your second favorite kind of design style with accessories. Start small at first— perhaps tabletop items or art — and then, depending on your level of daring, add in small furniture pieces like side tables and more.

You want to try and avoid mixing styles between two big pieces of furniture — it’s not impossible to make it work, but can create unwanted tension and confusion in a room. And you want to watch your mix of designs. Represent them too equally and you could end up with a more eclectic room than you intended, as well as a room that feels confusing.

(Image credit: Jaime Kowal)

You can give each style its own room & add design echoes.

Or, you can live in a home with two wildly different styles by choosing to incorporate those styles in their own individual rooms. The benefit of going this way is you can really drive home your style — having a room that only features design of one type of style can feel bold and pure, and can strengthen the style’s feel. It’s also a little easier to pick out furniture and accessories when you’re sticking to specific design style constraints.

Of course, it could be a little odd to live in a home with rooms that feature such wildly different design styles. But you can connect them — and make your home feel more cohesive — by creating design echoes. You can add elements from one room to the next — like color, pattern, or shape — without bringing in the other style. That way, you’ll have rooms that echo one another without diluting their styles.