How to match without matching too much? As it turns out, it sometimes takes more than matching white-on-white and stripes-with-stripes in order to create a vibrant living space – mismatched materials can be fun, personable, and even organized in their mismatched nature. Creating a home full of mismatched materials and decor can take a lot of dedicated planning with attention to spacial balance, texture, and composition. Many interior designers create interesting spaces by incorporating a variety of textures, colours, materials, styles, and patterns in the space that they design. The result: rooms that emanate a sense of personality, depth, and dynamic energy! Here's a homify guide full of ideas for anyone searching for a way to achieve that
matching without being too matchy-matchy look.
Old homes offer a great blank canvas for matching
new looks. This creates a contrast that draws attention to the home's story and its unique place in time as a historic building in a modern setting. The home here matches old with new by juxtaposing a shiny teal wall against an old brick one, as well as a rustic pie safe alongside a modern breakfast bar. This design clearly draws attention to the warm tones present in the natural woods and bricks of the past by providing pops of teal, bright yellow, and green in the more modern elements of the room. This eclectic design proves that you don't need to decorate with quilts and cross-stitch in order to emphasize the rustic, historic element of your home.
(Psst! If you're in the market for an older home like this one, have a look at this guide with 10 Things to Consider when Buying an Older Home)
Sometimes, arrangement matters more than anything else. This example features a couch, coffee table, sculpture, large painting, red dresser, mirror, and rugs, all arranged in a layering pattern that allows their mismatched nature to play with one another. Notice how the rugs overlap, creating a quilt-like effect on the ground, and the red dresser is half hidden behind the couch. The white sculpture obscures some of the standing light and painting behind it as well. Spread throughout the room in a more standard arrangement, these objects would not achieve the same eclectic, playful look that's achieved when they're arranged in close layers. The first step to mismatching is getting the objects close enough together to (mis)match!
Finding various patterns that match without matching too much is difficult, and often it all comes down to hues. This kitchen uses the red in the rustic brick wall, Victorian patterned floor, and sleek modern cabinetry to tie all of these styles together. This kitchen may draw from various eras, but a single hue is enough to make everything live together in harmony, no matter the pattern or style.
If you like a certain style so much that a friend could predict what they'll find in each room, it's time to add some pizzaz. Keep the style, change up the colors. This room is reminiscent of an Art Deco apartment in the 1930s, with much of the furniture drawing on the same era, but the patterned pillows, yellow ottoman, pink chair, and multi-coloured chandelier add unexpected colourful variations on a theme. This example is perfect for illustrating how much creative freedom you gain when you pick a cohesive style and elaborate on the central theme, matching the style while changing the colours and patterns.
What's the matching element in this decor that brings it all together? Have a look at the geometry of this design, and you'll see that 90-degree angles and strong square shapes are the defining element here. A crumbly brick wall may not match with a zig-zag tile floor and modern picture gallery, but there's no question as to whether the geometry in this scene ties it all together. Rectangles in the bricks, squares and zig-zags in the floor, and sharp square corners on the picture gallery use consistent shapes to tie the mismatched materials together in an eclectic, one-of-a-kind blend. And you thought you'd never use what you learned in high school geometry…
Achieving a mismatched look is easy when you're working with plenty of blank space. Here, the colours and patterns in the chair, blanket, and pillows are all very different, but they're the only colourful elements that stand out in the room. The rest of the space is neutral, offering a balanced backdrop of whites, browns, and grays. Not only does this create plenty of breathing room for these contrasting patterns to coexist, but it shines a highlight on each of them and their intentional individuality.
The bright objects in this example all use distinct lines, materials, and shapes, but they are completely matched when it comes to tone. That is, the yellows, purples, and greens that dominate this scene are all of a similar intensity and brightness that create a sort of intentional, matched feeling without matching at all. A muddy brown, soft pastel, or grainy blue wouldn't fit the picture, but the sky's the limit when it comes to any solid, bold color that looks like it popped straight out of a summer bouquet. Let tone tie it together, and you don't have to worry about anything else.
The mismatched chairs seen at this living room counter use repetition to pull their mismatched designs into a cohesive element. A single mismatched object by itself may feel odd, but repeating a mismatched object gives the design intention and style. In this scene, one chair by itself would simply be a chair, while two would just be an odd pair. The display of three chairs, however, shows that the mismatched pattern is intentional, and it brings a certain sense of order to the random design.
Perhaps the most mismatched example of them all, this living room shows what a healthy dose of deliberation can do. This mismatched theme is so well-developed that there's not a single style, shape, colour, or texture that dominates the room. What allows the scattered objects on the wall to pair with the green velvet of the couches, the retro lamp, the minimalist wooden table, and the rustic, woven rug? A deliberate balance that never allows one object to set a singular confining
look for the room. This allows all of the objects to blend in harmony instead of jarring against a central theme. Here, the theme is deliberate randomness, and it works – it just goes to show that a careful arrangement has the power to make or break that
Looking for more tips and trick for home decor? Have a look at this ideabook and see if you're making any of the most common home decor mistakes!