Sunday, 26 August 2012

Design Dilemma: Mixing Furniture Styles

A friend of mine wrote on the Design Gratis Facebook wall earlier this week, asking for design advice.

She is about to move to a new home with a loft feel, and wanted feedback on mixing modern furniture with her existing traditional pieces. She wants to hold onto her leather Ektorp sofa and hopefully pair it with a small sofa bed in a bright colour. She is also interested in brightening up her dining set, and likes the look of mismatched chairs.

A mix of modern and traditional is probably my favourite look for a space. A balance between the sometimes harsh lines of modern design, and the soft edges of traditional detailing can create a harmonious effect that is perhaps lacking in a space that is clearly defined as one style. But the keyword here is balance. Your pieces should compliment, not compete with each other.

via Apartment Therapy

The dining room above is a great example of mixing styles. The modern tulip table and brass shelving unit create an eclectic feel when combined with traditional cane backed chairs and wrought iron chandelier. More examples below.

via The Marion House Book
via Design*Sponge

via Lonny

via Loft Life

Now back to the matter at hand. Pairing traditional and modern sofas is tricky. Using neutral colours would make this task simpler, however my friend prefers a bright modern sofa. I would use throw pillows and soft furnishings to tie the two pieces of furniture together. I would also arrange the seating around a round coffee table to break up the linear layout.

I would freshen up the dining set by sanding and painting the bottom part of the table white and adding white modern chairs.

As my friends new home is open plan, spaces should be able to relate to each other. Note that both the living and dining have similar colour schemes. They don't have to match, but should coordinate and flow well.

If you would like advice for a design dilemma, please contact me via the facebook page.


  1. Ooh- love it! Thanks for the advice. We move into our new space on Sept 10. Can't wait to put some of this advice to good use.

  2. No worries at all, glad I could help! x


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