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How to Mix Styles Effectively

Sometimes, sticking to just one decorative style can feel a bit restrictive, especially if there are different looks that you absolutely love. Mixing styles isn't always easy, but when done well, it can give a room a truly unique feel and also prevent your room from looking like a showroom in a furniture shop, where everything fits with the same theme.

Avoiding a Clash

The trick to mixing styles is to choose styles that don't clash with each other and to find the right balance between the two. Trying to mix more than two styles is possible, but I find it best to stick with two to allow each style to shine and to avoid an overly eclectic, busy look.


Oriental Designed Distressed Blue Painted 4 Drawer Storage Cabinet

Pieces That Already Blend Your Two Styles

One way to make mixing two styles easy is to find one or two pieces that already merge the two styles you want to use and base your other design choices around them. A good example is this storage cabinet. As you can see, its gorgeous bright teal colour and overall design aesthetic represent an oriental inspired look, but the distressed texture gives it a shabby chic feel. Were you to use this piece as your inspiration, you could comfortably and effectively pick out other pieces that had either an oriental look or a vintage, aged look, and design your room with both aesthetics in mind. This storage cabinet is an especially good example of a piece that can help inspire your other decor choices, as it also hints at a strong colour scheme. I am totally in love with this piece!

Of course, blending oriental and shabby chic is just an example. You can also find pieces that blend mid-century with art deco, rustic with minimalist, industrial with Victorian, and all kinds of other combinations that can inspire a room!


Retro Talavera Tile Pattern Glass Wide Chest Of Drawers

How To Ensure Your Styles Don't Clash

Some style pairs work together very easily, for instance, Oriental and art deco, mid-century and contemporary minimalist, Victorian and industrial, and Indian and rustic. Others can be made to work with the right eye, and others still almost always clash. Even when working with a pair that do generally compliment each other, the wrong choices can lead to a cluttered, muddled, and busy look, where there is too much going on for the blend to work.

So, how do you avoid clashes, both in general style and in the individual pieces you choose?

One thing I find tends to be important is that only one of your chosen styles features anything ornate or heavily decorated. Take a look at this striking tile design chest of drawers. It has a retro feel, and color-wise could also lend itself very well to a Mediterranean style or compliment a classic white and blue Chinese aesthetic. Imagine how sexy it would look in a Moroccan-style Kasbah-themed bedroom. Picture Omar Sharif reclining in bed and you get the picture.

Mix design styles.

When it's done right, it will be super beautiful.


Modern chair with upholstered design and wooden legs.

Whatever else you put in a room with this striking piece, it will need to be fairly plain and unembellished. Trying to mix the style of this gorgeous piece with a floral theme, an ornate Victorian theme, or elaborate art deco pieces will lead to that hectic, clashing look - not great! Put simply, if one of the styles you've picked is heavy on decoration, patterns, and details, you need to pair it with one that is not. The reverse does not apply, however, and two fairly minimal styles, like rustic and industrial, can usually be paired without too much problem. The main thing to ensure then is that you still have a nice feature piece or two to keep it interesting!

Have fun pairing together the design looks you love and creating your own unique aesthetic!