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How to Blend New Furnishings with Existing Decor

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When redesigning the interior of your home you may ask yourself, what if my current furniture just doesn’t match? While replacing furniture is more of an investment, there are plenty of solutions to achieve a desired or blended look using the furniture pieces you already have, even if you believe those pieces don’t fit in with your ultimate style goal. To begin with, consider the architecture of your home. If you live in an older or vintage-inspired home, you can easily incorporate a few antique pieces from the same time period as the architecture. Conversely, purchasing a few contemporary, 21st century pieces, like an arc floor lamp or contemporary rug, can bring a new modernity to the space.

If you live in a modern home, incorporating a vintage-inspired ornate mirror or chandelier brings a sense of history and elegance to an otherwise minimalist aesthetic. What if the space you’re living in is a neutral, uninspiring cookie cutter home? No worries, because a neutral space allows you to mix vintage and contemporary pieces to create your own blend. The goal is for the room to be cohesive and calm. The eye should easily travel from one design to another, absorbing the style of each.

When purchasing something new for your home, it shouldn’t “just work”, “make do” or be a “great deal”. If it isn’t something you love and are excited about, it’s never a great deal. You’ll always try to make it work or replace it later.  However, if it’s something you love, it will never go out of style. Break away from furniture sets and start collecting pieces you love, old and new. For example, combining a heavily carved armoire with the clean lines of Thayer Coggin lounge chairs will produce a juxtaposition that allows both to be appreciated individually. Another room setting that is one of my personal favorites is combining contemporary seating with a vintage chandelier and a classical mirror. This can be a little scary at first, but you’ll be surprised of the depth and interest it adds to your home.

With all this blending of old furniture with new, it is important to remember that worn and aged pieces can be a lovely addition but too many can give the effect of a junk shop rather than the elegant look you’re trying to create. To make it work, mix them with smooth, unblemished surfaces and silky textures. Put a new silk pillow on a distressed leather chair or a mirrored tray on a rustic coffee table.

On the construction side of a renovation, highlight rather than hide the contrasts between the old construction and the new. Such an approach creates an honesty to the original elements of the house. For instance, the wall in the “new” kitchen was formerly the exterior red brick wall. Or the new polished concrete floor is juxtaposed with the existing wood floor. Some of the most exciting homes combine different genres, eras and materials.

Keep the fixed finishes, such as the trim, windows and interior doors the same throughout the house. These architectural elements will ground the home allowing the new space to blend with the old. You don’t have to maintain a specific style period, but it is best to maintain a consistent color palette. When mixing old and new and using lots of interesting elements, there isn’t much need to add dramatic color to your walls. A neutral palette is generally the most successful as it allows the pieces within the space to shine. If you do want a punch of color, it’s best to think bold so it doesn’t get lost.

It’s also imperative to unify the scheme and create a backdrop to the furnishings by choosing the right flooring. Hardwood is the best way to achieve this with the addition of tribal or geometric designed rugs that will anchor the room and bring in warmth in an unpretentious way.

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