8 Tips for Mixing Styles at Home (Without Looking Like a Crazy Person)

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: California Home & Design’s Small Space, Big Style)

Homes that layer in different styles are dynamic and interesting. But too much mixing and your eye doesn’t know where to land, and winds up confused and unhappy. The most successful rooms seek some common ground, where everything finds a way to get along. Here are ten ways to mix aesthetics, without getting a raised eyebrow:

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

COLOR: Using a consistent color helps your decor hang well together and look more cohesive. If you have a traditional armchair, but want to add in a more modern sectional, choose a sofa in the same shade as your original chair. In her small apartment, Rodelee keeps her palette to a neutral black and white.

MIND THE SCALE: Keep the scale of all your decor in the same realm. You don’t want a huge overstuffed chair sitting next to your grandmother’s dainty wooden carved loveseat. Above, the black and white chairs around Angus and Justine’s table couldn’t be any more different, but their similar heights and scale makes the combination work.

(Image credit: Lauren Naimola)

FIND BALANCE: Even though you have totally different objects on either side of a bed, they can look balanced as a whole. Create the balance by choosing items with equal visual weight.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

DISTRIBUTE EQUALLY: If one half of the room is totally mid century, and the other half is entirely Shaker, the sudden difference is overwhelming. But if multiple styles are incorporated strategically throughout the room, it’s easier for the eye to accept.

(Image credit: Rohde’s “Opportunistic” Design Laboratory)

LET FURNITURE HAVE FRIENDS: Give each piece at least one companion who shares a color, style, or finish; you don’t want any single, solitary pieces of decor hanging out by their little lonesome. That poor piece of furniture needs a friend, lest it look and feel like the odd man out.

(Image credit: Alex & Sarah’s Traveler’s Home)

SHAPE: Choose pieces with matching lines and shapes. Rolled armed sofas don’t necessarily like resting alongside boxy chairs and vice versa.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

DOUBLE DUTY DECOR: Bring the decades closer together with decor that features two contrasting styles in one object. Here a Ghost Chair is both traditional and modern at the same time, acting as a bridge between the antiques and the sleek pendant light. Antiques reupholstered in modern fabric or pattern serve a similar function.

MATCH MOODS: If your living room is a place to kick back and relax, don’t layer in overly formal or stuffy furniture. Make all your choices equally informal — with simple lines and soft materials — even if they vary in style. The Browns’ cottage above sports some mid-century and global decor, but all of it is relaxed and welcoming.