Master the mix
Merging two households, getting married, inheriting family heirlooms or furnishings, or just having an appreciation for a variety and spice in your life and bringing home that special find from a great flea market can cause you to question your ability to bring it all together to create the perfect interior. So, call it eclectic...... ooh, still looks awful! Here are some tips to help you pull it together.
During my practice as a professional interior designer I have edited many furniture collections as well as art collections, creating a soft landing for a graceful and thoughtful interior design. I hope to inspire you to consider the following practical advice for creating stylish, contemporary interiors.
Evaluate your furnishings, creating a list with photos and dimensions. Decide which pieces fit best in specific locations, making sure to consider the dimensions of the space and the scale of the room itself. Decide which pieces you don’t want to part with because of their sentimental value. This careful editing will provide a practical approach and simplify the process.
Consider site lines, space, light and comfort while you begin this process. Keep in mind that a good design takes into account the generation of harmony. Harmony can be skillfully captured in the design by a thoughtful use of color. The foundation for a successful mixture of styles in interior design is a quiet and clean understructure. This clean pal- ette provides a great backdrop for this creation.
The walls surrounding your space can swallow or gracefully embrace your room with its furnishings and art. Think about the best backdrop for your particular collection; this is key to the final result. Do your walls need to be quiet and polite with a neutral paint or plaster color? Or does the room and collection call for a grass cloth wall covering or a dramatic color or finish?
What materials can you use together in a room? Hide-covered stools integrate with hand-forged iron tables, and chunks of unfinished timber marry a purity of form with the evocative power of basic materials. This organic fusion is interesting and an approach that I find exciting.
Avoid clutter to create visual interest, giving your art and decoration room to breathe. If, for example, you have a collection of beautiful rugs, you might consider layering them (not too many) and then use a solid light-colored sofa in the room with a fewtoss pillows reflecting some of the colors in the rugs. This creates a thread of harmony pulling the room together. Curate your art for each space again keeping in mind the color connec- tion. Ethnic inspiration is all around us and makes its way into our homes and provides a rich layer of texture to our designs. Grouping ethnic collections together gives the art a contextual sensibility that is thoughtful, cohesive, and even dramatic, thus creating a fantastic focal point.
A well thought-out mix has an uncommon grace that will provide a casual sophistication unmatched by an interior that is all “matched” up.
Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe native and principal of Samuel Design Group, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. She is an award-winning interior designer known for creating unique interiors imbued with warmth and elegance. Lisa (email@example.com) is passionate about good design that supports well-being.
The designer artfully mixed Native American art, Spanish Colonial console (designed by Samuel) and an African headrest from Burundi. Photo by Daniel Nadelbach courtesy Samuel Design Group