Did you recently discover a beautiful vintage armchair at a garage sale? Have you inherited a stunning lounge suite that, as beautiful as it is, just doesn’t match your home’s aesthetic?

Over the last 20 years, mix-and-match decorating – interior decorating that makes use of several different styles of furniture in one space – has grown into one of the most popular ways to decorate living rooms, studies and entire homes.

From a mix of mid-century modern and contemporary design to unique cocktails of industrial and art nouveau, it’s surprisingly easy to create a stylish space by mixing two styles – often radically different styles – of furniture.

Would you like to mix and match furniture styles to create a space that looks like it was designed by a professional? Read on to learn the five rules of mixing styles in a room to create stunning, visually unique living spaces.


The 80/20 rule applies to a lot of things in life, from productivity and business to health and fitness. As applied to furniture and interior decorating, the 80/20 rule makes it easy to tastefully decorate a space using two different styles:

  • 80% of your furniture should be in one style (the primary style)
  • 20% of your furniture should be in another style (the second style)

When you mix and match several different types of furniture in equal amounts, it often creates a space that lacks a strong visual identity. It’s unique and interesting, but also lacking the consistency that makes a room truly comfortable.

With the 80/20 principle, your room has a clearly defined visual style – whether it’s contemporary or traditional – but has flourishes of a different style due to the 20% of furniture that provides contrast.

Decorate most of your room using one style of furniture, then choose specific pieces that you can use to create contrast. A common example of this technique is a highly modern and contemporary space with a traditional armchair or sofa.


It’s easy to mix two similar styles to create a tasteful space. Contemporary furniture and mid-century furniture, for example, share so many common features that they’ll effortlessly blend into a single style in almost any space.

Victorian furniture and Scandinavian modern furniture, on the other hand, don’t fit together quite as well. As well as achieving an 80/20 balance of styles, it’s vital that you choose styles that are natural matches for each other.

The easiest way to choose matching styles is to search for styles that share features and qualities in common. Since contemporary and Scandinavian modern furniture both focus on simplicity and clean, sharp lines, they’re natural matches.

Since Victorian furniture and art nouveau furniture both focus on flourishes and an excessive aesthetic, they match each other nicely. Choose styles that share features and qualities and you’ll create a consistent space that effortlessly blends styles.


Just like it’s important to choose styles of furniture that complement each other, it’s also important to decorate using colours that look good together. Since the different design periods often prioritise different colours, this can be a tricky process.

Before you decorate any space, create a colour scheme to act as a guide as you shop for furniture. If you’re decorating a space for the first time, keep your colour scheme as simple as possible to avoid accidentally purchasing two pieces that clash.

Great interior design is all about balance, not just between different colours, but also between the intensity of colours. Bright, powerful and intense pieces look best when paired with lighter, less powerful items.

Sometimes, the best way to use colour effectively is to choose total opposites – items that couldn’t be more different. A powerful black sofa, for example, can look great in a room with light walls, ceilings and furniture.




When it comes to interior design, it’s often better to keep things simple than to mix too many different styles at once. Try to use no more than two different styles in all of the spaces you decorate, at least for major furniture items such as sofas or tables.

The more styles you incorporate into a room’s design, the more chances there are for elements of these styles, such as certain colours or specific design elements, to clash with each other.

These clashes can often be imperceptible at first but obvious with time. Even small clashes – such as a mix of light and dark woods – can make an otherwise incredible space feel less aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.

If you choose to use more than two styles, ensure that the final style accounts for a tiny amount of the room’s furniture. It’s fine to complement your room with unique items, but using too many styles at once can create a space without any identity.


Finally, it’s important to ensure all of your furniture has a consistent scale. This can be tough when you’re mixing and matching styles that use different sized furniture, such as contemporary and Japanese interior design.

Many Eastern interior decorating styles, such as Japanese furniture, feature unique items such as floor seating or low dining tables. These can look out of place beside full-size sofas, armchairs and other items.

As well as considering the different elements of furniture styles and the colour of the items you choose, it’s important to consider how each item will look alongside other items when it comes to scale.

A large sofa and small set of dining chairs may each look great in isolation, but in the same room they can appear out of place. Keep scale in mind when you’re shopping for furniture to avoid accidentally mixing large and small.


From modern and mid-century to minimalistic and Zen, certain furniture styles are ideal for mixing with one another. If you’re planning to redecorate your home, what are the two styles you’d mix together to create a unique interior?



We have many styles of traditional and contemporary furniture at AHF to help you mix and match with your existing furniture like the pros. Why not take a look.


Furniture, Interior Design, Mix & Match
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