TMD Inspiration

Combining Styles for a Cohesive Look


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Based in McLean, VA

Creating inspired interiors for discerning clients since 2003. Accepting clients in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and select cities throughout the United States.

Combining Styles for a Cohesive Look

combining styles

Combining a family’s design tastes is always a challenge. For example, I recently worked with a couple where the husband loved a clean, modern aesthetic, and the wife loved cozy and warm. It doesn’t get more opposite than that! What do you do? Here are my suggestions on combining styles to create a cohesive look.

Come Up with a Plan

I recommend that all family members sit down together to discuss their needs and wants to begin the process. What is non-negotiable for the family? Here are some questions to ask when starting the design process:

  • What will be the most important rooms in my home?
  • How do I want my indoor and outdoor living spaces to coexist?
  • Where do I find inspiration? What aesthetics do I hold dear, or what am I willing to sacrifice? 
  • How do I want that to be reflected in my home?
  • Are there any special needs that I need to accommodate?
  • Do I have pets and or children to consider?

After considering these questions you should have a clearer understanding of what is important to you and your family.

A Sense of Cohesion

Once you have a sense of the home’s overall feel, you can begin to envision individual rooms. While it may be easier to designate a style for each room (i.e., a country kitchen, traditional living room, and contemporary family room), it is best to being combining styles within each room and then carry that style throughout the rest of the house. This will help to create a better balance overall.

Add a Neutral Backdrop

Neutral paint colors are the perfect backdrop for those concerned about melding styles to create a cohesive look. A neutral color adds a bit of depth and interest to your space. Before choosing the perfect neutral color to use in your home, take into consideration the amount of light the area receives at different times of day as well as the permanent fixtures that are already in the space (for example, kitchen countertops). Please see my guide to neutral paints for more ideas.

Remember Scale when Combining Styles

A key element to great design is scale. Scale refers to how well your furniture and furnishings fit in the space. For example, a low, sleek coffee table placed in front of a couple of high back antique chairs may look “off” to the eye.


The repetition of texture, shape, and pattern throughout a room (and a home) can help differing styles blend harmoniously. In addition, subtle things like floor pattern and furniture shape can make a big difference when creating a cohesive space.

Over my career, I have learned that the challenges my clients bring to me are the ones that provide the best results. Don’t hesitate to contact me today if you would like to discuss your next project.