Archive for April, 2012

The art of mismatching

April 23rd, 2012
Patience is not my most redeeming quality. Anyone who knows me will confirm this.

Recently, my lack of patience led me to sell our entire dining room suite on a whim to a poor, unsuspecting student, leaving us with a bare room that echoes with emptiness.

I just couldn’t stand the sight of our cheap IKEA table and chairs – which we had bought for practicality more than anything else – any longer. It was getting in the way of things. I figure it’s better to have an empty space and imagine the beautiful things that could be there, than to live with the things that are there that irritate me on a daily basis. It was time to move on.

It’s now that same empty space that has been irritating me, as we lead our dinner guests to the living room to eat cross-legged around the coffee table.

I have been playing around with the idea of mixing several design styles. Antique, retro and vintage pieces can look striking against modern, clean lines, and all are styles that I love. I deduce that the perfect way to go is a mismatched affair. But how to create a perfect, balanced look out of several design styles and pieces in one setting?

Rene Mesman

Mismatching can be a tricky business, but can be very rewarding when done right. Throwing a few random pieces together and hoping it will work will not necessarily get the desired effect, which is, of course, a well balanced and effortlessly eclectic dining space.

Though there are no set rules to mismatching different items of furniture, the general rule of thumb is to find a common thread that ties each item together. Whether this is the shape, material, colour scheme or style, one common theme will help to bind the look together.

Choose your colour scheme Settling on one colour palette will help to tie each piece together and keep the look from looking downright cluttered.

Susanna Vento


       In this relaxed, eclectic space, black and white is the dominant palette, with small splashes of colour here and there. Though not one item of furniture in this dining suite matches another, the choice of black and white has united them as a whole. Visual interest is created through the addition of one extra colour – in this case, blue. The reason this look works is because it has not been too carefully thought out, but rather pieced together bit by bit to give it an effortlessly eclectic aesthetic.



Design for Man Kind

This Scandinavian inspired space is limited to a simple colour scheme of white, black and wood. Though each chair is different in style and material, the look is harmonious.



via All the Pretties


 Couple like materials Whether you start with wood, metal, plastic, or fabric chairs, keep your material choices down to one or two. Start with one or two chairs that you absolutely love, and build on the look from there. If they are wood and fiberglass, throw in another couple of wooden chairs, one or two plastic chairs and an element of surprise to complete the look, remembering to adhere to your chosen colour scheme.

abryanphoto.com









This romantic setting is owing to a huge collection of wooden chairs, all different though with similar features. You couldn’t have created this vintage look with identical chairs.

Work with similar design styles Whether you are going for a vintage, retro modern or traditional theme, try to work within the same design framework.

Jason Lee
via All the Pretties








A quintessentially vintage look ties this space together, along with one or two dominant colour choices – tangerine and pale blue – which anchor the design style.

Lauren Gyll via Houzz.com

This room has a distinctly classical feel about it. I love how the designer has thrown in one contemporary chair for contrast and intrigue.


Play with patterns Have you got a few fabric chairs? Pairing similar fabric styles, colours and patterns will tie the look together.

The perfect combination If you can manage to group all of these ideas together in one space, you might just pull off a look that has more to it than meets the eye.

Anna Malin


The above look combines all of the ideas I have spoken about to create a cohesive, fun and personal space. The colour scheme is limited to black, white and pale blue, with an element of surprise thrown in for good measure in the shape of those fire engine red lamps. The materials are consistent with one another, and the design style is faithful to its retro/vintage theme. Though it looks as if this collection of chairs were thrown together, this look was well thought out.


Do you like the mismatched look or have you tried it in your own home? Do you have anything to add to my tips? I would love to read your comments in the section below.

I only hope that my own mismatching efforts work as well as these examples!

See you back here next week.

Love, Holly