Mixing styles

It can be very difficult to decide on a ‘style’ for your home. Often this is because our taste is eclectic; a bit of Victorian, a bit of mid-century, a bit of kitsch. My favourite type of home is one that combines styles successfully and pulls off the elusive ‘eclecticism’ that many hanker after.

If pulling off the ‘eclectic’ look is something you have struggled with, I have come up with a few tips to help you. When you break it down, it really is simpler than you’d imagine. If you stick to these rules then you will be able to combine all of your most beloved possessions and pieces of furniture without your home looking or feeling confused…

Tip one: Use colour to tie different pieces together

An easy way to make any room feel harmonious is to use a colour scheme. When you are trying to combine styles, colour is an easy way to tie together different pieces from different eras without them jarring.

How to combine styles like this modern kitchen with fifties dining table

This fifties dining table and chairs do not look out of place in this modern kitchen as the black of the leather is picked up in the work surface and lamp.

Antique nursing chair covered in Chelsea Sanderson fabric

I have used a brand new Ikea cushion for this 1940’s chair that used to be my grandmother’s. The colours combine well so the cushion does not scream ‘new’ against the faded fabric of the chair. See the rest of my home in my previous post: At Home with the Peach.

Painted eclectic dining chairs

These dining chairs are all from different eras but they work together as they have been painted a similar colour.

Eclectic mid-century furniture combined using cushions

This modern sofa has been effectively combined with a mid-century coffee table and chair by using similarly coloured cushions.

Tip two: Use pairs of furniture

To stop your home feeling too much like a junk shop by having lots of different, random pieces of furniture, try to use pairs. This creates cohesion and an important sense of balance and will allow you to combine a pair of ultra-modern chairs with a pair of Art Deco chairs, for example.

Pair of Bentwood dining chairs

Using a pair of these Bentwood dining chairs with this ultra-modern table creates balance.

Lisa Stickley's home

In Lisa Levis’s (nee Stickley) home, she has used pairs of different styles of furniture to create a cohesive, yet eclectic, look. Photograph by Peachey Photography. See the rest of Lisa’a home in my previous post At Home with Lisa Levis.

Country kitchen

This pair of modern breakfast bar stools do not look out of place in this country kitchen.

Tip three: Evenly distribute different styles throughout the room

If you have a collection of Victorian furniture and a collection of mid century furniture, you need to distribute them evenly throughout the room. Don’t place all the furniture of one era next to each other as this will make your room feel unbalanced and divided. Don’t be afraid to have a contemporary table with antique chairs or a Scandinavian lamp on an Edwardian desk.

Eclectic French apartment

In this beautiful French apartment they have used sixties chairs and a fifties table set a long side a classical chandelier, objet d’arts and Victorian sideboard. However, they have combined all of these elements and placed them side by side, rather than ‘grouping’ them.

Eclectic living room

Eclecticism at its best with different pieces distributed throughout the room. Pieces can have many effective configurations like a triangle pattern or each piece against a different wall

Eclectic reception room

These different pieces are very evenly distributed across this double reception room to the point that there is no one era or style that is dominant.

Tip four: Pair up styles

When combining styles, you should have at least two pieces from each era as this will help tie your room together. If you have a sixties ceiling light and no other reference to the sixties throughout the room, this could look a bit odd and out of place. Try to incorporate a sixties coffee table or print to add cohesion.

Sixties lamps in traditional dining room

These sixties lamp shades tie in with the Eames chairs of the same era and colour.

Scandinavian home

In this modern Scandinavian home they have incorporated an antique sideboard. This has been balanced with the antique chair on the other side of the room so it doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the modern furniture.

What do you think? Are you a purist or do you like combining different styles? Would love to hear from you…




  1. Najette
    18th June 2013 / 2:10 pm

    Love so many of these, I don’t know where to star! Awesome Katy! Xxx

  2. Najette
    18th June 2013 / 2:10 pm

    I mean start not star! Got to love iPhones! Xxx

  3. Nahid
    18th June 2013 / 4:21 pm

    “It’s not what goes, it’s what flows!” So says my niece. I have to say, I agree with her. Love the French apartment!

    • katy
      18th June 2013 / 7:01 pm

      I agree! I want to live there so much!! Love your niece’s saying too 🙂

  4. Gigi
    18th June 2013 / 10:16 pm

    Very useful. I sometimes struggle with this and fear my house looks a bit junk shop. Wil try some of these tips!

  5. 25th October 2016 / 12:16 am

    Thanks so much for your furniture tips! This might sound silly, but I’ve always been a “grouper” of sorts – I tend to put all of my things of one type together in a group. That being said, your suggestion to spread out and split up the furniture in my house is something I’ve never tried before, but I’ve been considering a remodel and that might make all the difference. I would have to buy some more furniture to even it all out though… Maybe I’ll look into some retailers before I make the final decision.

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