Guide to Mixing Decorating Styles in the Home


Learn How to Mix Furniture Styles & Interior Design Ideas Together with Elegance and Charm

Throughout our time in the design-build industry, we’ve worked with many customers who have opted for a cohesive interior design approach – and for a large portion of these individuals, that’s a perfectly fine approach to take. After all, a cohesive interior design is always a safe bet if you’re striving for a harmonious look and feel throughout every room of your house.

However, in spite of the popularity of the cohesive approach, we’ve also worked with a substantial number of folks who like to shake things up by deliberately mixing decorating styles and design ideas. For these people, incorporating different elements into the same space is an exciting way to liven up the home and showcase their quirkiness, uniqueness, and personality – provided, of course, that it’s done so strategically.

Here, you’ll learn four essential home design tips for meshing together different types of home styles to create something unique, elegant, and tasteful.

Don’t Hide Your Eccentricities – Highlight Them!

While remodeling or redecorating, most folks find that they have at least one or two “oddball”pieces of furniture or decor that don’t quite “fit” into any one room or area. This is especially true if you have a larger and/or more unconventional collection of items. The key here is to make sure you don’t hide the object-in-question. Instead, what you want to do is just the opposite: draw attention to it!

brushed brass cabinets in an all-white bathroom

In fact, turning a noticeably out-of-place object or piece of furniture into the focal point of the room will not only allow you to build the rest of the room around it, but in doing so, you’ll reduce the “strangeness” of that object. Instead, it will be an eye-catchingly unique centerpiece with a truly distinctive “wow” factor, as well as a perfect example example of how to mix furniture styles and design ideas the right way!

Pick a Consistent Color Palette

Regardless of what other styles or elements you want to utilize throughout your house, there’s always a risk of having too many different colors in one room or space. Even if your primary goal is to “mix things up,” having too many contrasting colors in one place is almost always a surefire sure to create a stylistic clash that will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

To avoid this, you should always attempt to retain some consistency throughout your home, and one of the most reliable ways to do this is through the implementation of a consistent color palette. Having consistent colors will help your home retain that imperative sense of unity and cohesion, regardless of how many disparate styles or elements pervade throughout. So long as the color remains consistent, you’ll have something there to tie it all together and make it feel like a home instead of a random hodgepodge of conflicting ideas and ornaments.

In our experience, whenever there’s a lot going on with your furniture or other accessories in any given room, a neutral color palette such as navy blue is always a reliable option. Navy can pair well with other colors such as windsor pink, warm yellows, and pale purples if you do decide to mix things up. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your color selection going out of style – neutral colors like navy blue are as timeless as they are stylish.

Must-Have Motifs

Tying into the previous “Pick a Consistent Color Palette” recommendation is the importance of the in-home motif, which is any design element or finish that occurs throughout a certain space or even the entire home. Motifs can occur in everything from your tiles to your fabrics to the decorative arts that adorn your walls.

Interior shot of condo living room with in-wall TV, furniture, and paintings on the wall

Take marble for instance: this material can be used just as easily in a living room fireplace as it can be in a luxurious shower. No matter what other materials or decorations you use within these rooms, or throughout the house as a whole, the recurrence of this marble will serve as a great motif, one that creates a sense of cohesion in spite of the many other differences from room to room.

Last (But Not Least!): Always Follow the 80/20 Rule

Finally, we can’t discuss the top tips behind combining different design styles and elements without addressing the ever-so-important 80/20 rule. This rule is pervasive throughout the design-build industry; as a result, it’s a sort-of golden rule that many custom home builders and designers abide by. It’s also a very helpful rule to keep in mind if you’re looking to decorate or rearrange your own living space by yourself.

In regards to mixing different home decorating styles, the 80/20 rule means that you need to still choose a main element or style (the 80%), supplemented by a supporting element or style (the 20%). The main 80% will account for, well, 80% of any given space, while the remaining 20% will give you a fair amount of leeway to experiment with other ideas and additions that stray from the primary theme, without deviating too much so that it becomes jarring.

A good way to approach this is by assessing the “essentials” of any room first – i.e., the things that mean the most or would be the hardest to replace – and letting those be your 80%. Whether this 80% leans more towards the timeless, the modern or the contemporary, or some other interior design style, you can use the remaining 20% however you wish, and with a greatly reduced risk of compromising the novelty of either.

Some Examples of the 80/20 Rule for Mixing Decorating Styles:

  • Rustic and contemporary mix decor: It’s become an increasingly popular trend for homeowners to mix together contemporary elements with more rustic or simplistic designs and ideas, and in our opinion, there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it can look quite striking when done effectively! Of course, one of the first rules for doing this effectively is following that 80/20 ratio. No matter if you’re focusing on a bedroom, living room, or even a bathroom, try to maintain that oh-so-important balance to ensure that you seamlessly meld intimate contemporary flourishes with more laid back, charming, and rustic elements – or vice versa!
  • Mixing industrial and traditional decor: Naturally, the same 80/20 rule would also go for, say, mixing industrial and traditional decor – lest you end up with a jarring juxtaposition that turns heads for all the wrong reasons! However, by methodically introducing the more artistic nuances associated with industrial design, you can add some welcome pizzazz into a house that’s otherwise largely traditional. This hybrid approach results in a living space that’s familiar and comfy for any modern guest, but with just enough whimsicality throughout to turn heads…for the right reasons!


Another full view of the Boston condo's bedroom but from a different angle

Want Help Determining Which Home Decorating Styles Will Work for You?

As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration when mixing things up inside your home, regardless of whether it’s a brand new house that you just moved into or a long-time residence in need of a shakeup. Fortunately, all of the aforementioned home design tips will help you and your custom home builders and renovators find that perfect balance, no matter what sort of aesthetic you’re hoping to achieve while working with the experts at your design and build company.

Panoramic living room view of the condo

If you’re looking for design-build construction, design, or renovation tips and advice, our portfolio of projects is sure to serve as a source of inspiration. Or, if you think you’re ready to start bringing your own visions and ideas to stunning reality, you can also tell our design-build construction professionals about your project today!


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