Design Dilemma: Changing Design Styles Mid-Stream | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Changing Design Styles Mid-Stream

03 6 how to tips adviceA few years ago, you loved strictly modern interiors — hard edges, streamlined shapes, chrome, steel and glass. These days, however, you’ve tired of the relentlessly modern look in favor of something a tad more traditional — a little pattern, a few ornate details, rounded softer shapes, maybe a little color. The design challenge: how do you accomodate your shifting decorating tastes to create a look that is coherent?

The answer: learn to mix elements of both contemporary and traditional decor in a design style that is sometimes referred to as “transitional.”  This term has different meanings to different people, but for our purposes, we will define it as a look that cannot solely be defined as traditional or modern. Combining design styles is eclectic, cozy and creative– generally lending a home personality it might otherwise not have in one uniform style. You know you’ve done transitional wrong if your home feels generic — like a model home. So how can you mix up the looks in your home without creating a style disaster?

1) Consider  a neutral color scheme. If you find want to experiment with varied styles, you’ll have an easier time doing so by sticking to creams, taupes, beiges and other neutral colors that can help unify a room.  One of the easiest ways to combine traditional and modern is to go with an all-white color scheme. Suddenly, a white modern leather couch can look perfect with a shabby chic distressed white coffee table and two white English armchairs. Designer Darryl Carter (see pictures) is the master of this look, successfully mixing widely disparate styles in a neutral palette.

2) When choosing furniture pieces that differ from what you’ve got, look for unifying elements. As noted above, color can be one unifying element, but so is scale and design. For example,  if you’ve got a modern decor but you’re looking to bring in an earthier and cozier feel, go for antique Asian or African pieces that have the barn house 300x240 how to tips advicepatina of age but that also boast strong simple lines that can echo what you’ve already got. When combining disparate furniture styles, try to choose woods of more or less the same color.

3) Consider adding  just one off-kilter element. Sometimes, less is more, and that includes mixing up decorating styles.  The one unique element can become the focal point of a room, and dramatically change its feel. An example: in a traditional interior, trade in your patterned overstuffed couch for something solid, modern and sleek . Suddenly, you’ll see that the whole room changes, even if most elements stay the same. The same might be true if you added a bold modern abstract painting to a traditional room.  Similarly, let’s say you have a strictly modern home — try adding a colorful oriental rug underfoot and your clean-lined modern interior will take on an entirely new, layered feel.

4) Keep window treatments and other accessories simple and minimal. Simple can look good with traditional. Simple always looks right with modern. It’s harder to mix it up if window treatments and other accessories are elaborate, stuffy and overdone.

5) Don’t be afraid to play against architecture. One of the coolest ways to mix traditional and modern is to choose furniture styles that run against the type of architecture you’re working with. For example, a 19th-century townhouse with high ceilings, tall windows, ornate crown molding and a fireplace, looks great with chic modern pieces that work to emphasize the architecture. A modern loft, on the other hand, can look just as great with an English settee and Queen Anne chairs.

6) Don’t play it too safe. The problem with a lot of interiors labeled “transitional” is that they are so plain vanilla — without any definitive style — that they’re boring. This may be the biggest mistake of home decorators looking to mix it up. They’re afraid. How do you avoid making this mistake? Choose distinctive furniture that you truly love and that has character. Don’t settle for middle-of-the road that you think won’t offend. Just remember the basic precept of choosing pieces that you love that have unifying elements and you can’t go wrong.

daryl carter2 how to tips advice

Images: Point Click Home. Darryl Carter, The New Traditional

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2 Comments so far to “Design Dilemma: Changing Design Styles Mid-Stream”
  1. unhappy_westelm_customer Says:

    I used to like the style of West Elm and bought several pieces, but had bad experiences with their customer service.
    My bed – 3 years old – broke. Its been 11 days now and 5 delivery and installation attempts – and they still have not replaced it.
    Getting them to replace it has been a nightmare – they assume they are doing you a favor by replacing their products that break.
    First time they sent the delivery outside of the times I had specified my building allows.
    Second time they delivered a rejected piece (to replace my already broken bed). Third time they forgot to load the truck. Fourth time they delivered the bedframe but not the headboard. Fifth time – today – they did not instal the headboard correctly – it is shaking and will likley break off in a week.
    After telling them I had used up all my medical leave and would now have to take unpaid leave – their atttitude was that if I wanted the bed I should wait till they decided they could send it to me.

    Bottom line: I still do not have a usable bed, and no idea if I will ever get one.

    Lesson: I should have gone to Crate and Barrel.

    Anyone else have this experience with West Elm?

  2. Design Roundup: a Sad Day for the Prefab Industry Says:

    […] Dilemma: Changing Design Styles Mid-Stream […]

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