How to Mix Furniture Styles


Confining your decor to a particular period or style can feel restrictive and stuffy, but freely mixing styles poses a number of unique design problems. Putting together tables, chairs, cabinets, beds and other pieces from different cultures, times and places while still managing to make your design look unified and artistic takes patience and the willingness to experiment until you get things right. When you finally manage to make your antique items harmonize with your modernist additions, it will all be worth the effort.

  • Unify furniture by theme. Often, different styles will have similar design characteristics which can make them fit together. For example, art nouveau furniture often features ornate designs taken from nature, something which it shares with a lot of classical Oriental furniture. Place an art deco coffee table near an Oriental cabinet, and put up ornate pencil drawings or paintings of birds or trees to help unify the nature theme.

  • Put furniture pieces with similar sizes or proportions in the same room. Low-slung chairs and tables from a variety of styles, combined with short, squat lamps will look good in a room together, since they will create a unified feeling. Similarly, tall, narrow chairs, high tables and cabinets and towering floor lamps will fit together in a high-ceiling room even if they are from a variety of different periods.

  • Combine pieces with the same or complementary colors, or reupholster some items to make them work with others. Combine Shaker, mission and other wooden furniture with similar wood tones. Use colorful throws and pillows with a backdrop of blankets and tapestries on the walls to unite couches and love seats from different styles.

  • Arrange your furniture in patterns to make it look intentional and not thrown together. For example, a mission table with one acrylic chair pulled up to it might look odd and sloppy. Put a number of acrylic chairs around it, however, and it will look like a bold and unconventional design.

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  • Photo Credit old furniture image by Gina Smith from
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