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Mix & Match Traditional Modern Décor Elements

If your home has become a mishmash of Chippendale chairs, minimalist tables, Colonial dressers, shabby chic curtains and art deco mirrors, don’t despair — you don’t have to pick a lane.

You may have to pare down some of your styles to achieve a more harmonious indoor habitat. Yet it’s still very possible to mix contemporary and traditional-inspired furniture in the same home and even the same room.

Staying within a few parameters will help everything coexist happily under one ceiling.

Neutral background

Maintaining a neutral palette becomes important when you’re combining furnishings that bring contrasting shapes, lines or vintages. Whites, creams, grays, beiges, navy and black are the best backdrop for showing off the details and common elements of your décor without competing with it.

Don’t strive for 50/50

It may be tempting (especially if you have equal amounts of traditional and modern/contemporary furniture) to aim for a roughly half-and-half inventory in each space, but it’s rare to be able to create a cohesive look this way.

It’s much easier to let one take the upper hand and find examples of the other that share some elements with the dominant theme, such as traditional furniture and accessories featuring clean lines that mirror modern furniture or contemporary pieces with more ornate touches that pair it well with traditional furniture.

Start with a statement

It can help when you’re putting your rooms together to choose a statement piece for each one to set the tone. If you have a Victorian-style sofa with scalloped wood trim and pink velvet upholstery, you can assume that traditional elements should dominate the space.

But you can choose some modern furnishings that won’t clash with it, such as a coffee table with simple but strong lines and a similar wood tone to the sofa or small pieces of abstract wall art with pinkish highlights.

Pay attention to detailing

Take into account any styling or sculpting on the walls that might tilt the feel of the room in one direction before you start.

Baseboard and crown molding, especially if it has beading, egg-and-dart, dentil, elaborate millwork and other traditional flourishes, can make it difficult to pull off predominantly modern décor, though most can be removed with some effort.

The more subtle trims and edges of a contemporary-styled home rarely put any boundaries on what kind of styling can be done in a room.

Bridge with accessories

Use accessories such as rugs, curtains, lighting and decorative objects to bridge the gap between modern and traditional elements. A traditional chandelier or a modern floor lamp can help unite the two styles.

Blend different styles of art and decor to achieve a harmonious look. Try pairing modern artwork with traditional frames or vice versa. Mixing artwork and decorative items can add character to your space.

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