How to Mix Modern Decor With Traditional

When it comes to decor, two styles might just be better than one. Fusing two different styles can be challenging, and there is a fine line between creating visual chaos and executing a balanced, eclectic, multilayered look with character and depth. Following a few basic design guidelines will ensure that your mix of modern and traditional decor is a style success.

Determine which style will take precedence in your design scheme. Do you want the room to be mostly modern with some traditional touches, or the other way around? As a rule of thumb, if 80 percent of the room’s decor reflects the predominant style and 20 percent the supporting style, the result will be more harmonious.

Paint the walls in a color that works as an appropriate backdrop for both styles. If the main color scheme of the space is appropriate to both styles, it’s possible to expand the balance of the two influences to a 50/50 mix without creating visual conflict. Gray is an excellent neutral choice for enhancing sleek modern styles as well as solid, traditional forms and patterns.

Combine pieces from both styles that share similar design attributes. Avoid juxtaposing style extremes. If your room is predominantly modern, antiques with clean lines, such as a simple farm table or ladder-back chair, will seem right at home. If your space is more traditional, you might echo the ornate forms with a curvier modern element, such as a stacked ball floor lamp.

Accent a traditional room with a few modern touches. A foolproof way to bring the right amount of modern style into a predominantly traditional space is to limit the modern influence solely to accents. Create an interesting focal point by hanging a modern painting in a traditional dining room, or place modern mirrored lamps on the night tables in a traditional bedroom for an infusion of sleek style.

Update a traditional piece to blur the lines between the styles. Reupholster a formally styled traditional chair with a modern fabric, paint an ornate dresser in an unexpected modern hue or mount an abstract art piece in an ornate frame. Lamps are good candidates for makeovers that cross style boundaries, too. Consider topping an antique lamp base with a fresh, modern shade for a style-bending look.


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