Design Dilemma: Merging Two Distinct Design Styles | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Merging Two Distinct Design Styles

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He loves Minimal. She’s a big fan of Mission style. He’s into French Colonial. She loves Mid-Century Modern. He loves traditional Early American. She loves contemporary Scandinavian design.

When it’s time to merge two distinct design styles into one happy home, what do you do to create one seamless interior that will keep the peace?

1) Analyze why you are a fan of a style. You both want to understand the essential quality of the style you like, and why. Doing so helps you to find that quality, even in styles that at first glance would seem to diverge from your own.  Maybe what you like most in Scandinavian design are the simple, uncluttered lines. Or perhaps its the use of lots of white. Know that you could opt to get that same sort of feeling even in a room filled with antiques.  Don’t believe us? Take a look at the room below. It is simple and uncluttered. Crisp white walls and light wood birch flooring feel very Scandinavian, but the mix of chair styles and the antique sideboard allude to a whole different look. Doesn’t matter, though. It all works!


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2) Talk it out. As you analyze what elements you really like in your preferred design style, share them with your partner. Surprisingly, you may find many points of similarity — more than you would have imagined at first glance. Below, a fan of industrial minimalism and a fan of a traditional farmhouse look find a compromise in a room that successfully combines elements from each look. The lover of traditional knew she loved wood, intricate millwork and farmhouse tables. The industrial minimal guy loved industrial lighting, metal, and not too many frou-frou elements. Joila! — a room that feels cozy and clean at the same time.

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3) Do a lot of looking. Pore over design magazines. Check out design blogs. Create two files filled with pictures of looks you love. Ultimately, you will combine the two files by pulling out photos and looks that appeal to you both. Looking at other interiors will help a lot when it comes to deciding what you want to keep and what you want to toss when you combine your own stuff. Below, a transitional look feels traditional and contemporary at the same time. The pendant chandelier, abstract painting and wall color choice give this home its contemporary appeal. And yet, a traditionalist could feel quite at home here, thanks to classic furniture styles.

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4) Make a design plan, and then shop together. Okay, so you’ve found some looks that appeal to you both. Now the key is to take a look at what you own, and see what pieces could help get you to your look. In merging traditional and contemporary, for example, you might choose to hang onto a Persian rug that she owns, but invest in a new modern looking couch that he’s coveting. The look you come up with will feel transitional and speak to the coziness that she desires and the clean lines he admires. When you’ve settled on a plan, it’s time to go shopping for whatever you may need to help fill in and meld your two worlds. Below, a kilim rug has that cozy factor. Unexpectedly, it’s combined with a mid-century Modern Wegman chair and a tribal side table. The ethnic elements and modern elements blend seamlessly.

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5. Be prepared to compromise on something.  You’re not going to win every design battle. You won’t love every element of a room. Don’t sweat it. When it comes to the large and important items — couches, dining room tables, you will each need to sign off. But if he really feels the need to hold onto his Mission chair or if she insists on hanging onto the painting you don’t love, let her. You may find that with time you even come to love the piece you thought you first hated. The important thing is to keep your eye on the total design look, not one individual piece. Below, an antique table works wonderfully with modern tulip chairs.


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6. Have fun. The whole point is to create an environment you both love. It can be a fun challenge when tastes diverge but even just the attempt to create a pleasing space can be a delightfully creative exercise. So enjoy the ride and look forward to the results, certainly a very individual, personal look that is sure to have character!

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