Mixing furniture styles is like mixing foods – some things go together while others create taste confusion. Here are three rules of thumb for creating a cohesive look:
1. Look for similar lines. Arts and Crafts and contemporary, for example, have similar sleek silhouettes; mixing them feels effortless. Arts and Crafts and Victorian, however, probably won’t.
2. Consider the ratio. Most styles get along if you stick to a 80/20 ratio rule. For example, a room full of traditional furnishings could go well with a single modern piece, such as a sideboard, and a modern accent. Let one style be dominant and another serve as an accent.
3. Think of the finish. Formal woods, such as mahogany and cherry, go well together because they have a similar rich finish, while more casual grains, such as maple and pine, are compatible.