How to Mix Modern and Traditional Decorating Styles

Today I’m featuring another guest post by Ksenya Malina, founder of Time & Place Interiors, a New York-based design studio focusing on combining vintage + modern for homeowners seeking to elevate their spaces into uniquely special places. Ksenya’s specialty is making historic properties suitable to modern living while respecting their original design, as well as adding distinguished character to new build units.


Imagine a historic Brooklyn brownstone with ornate crown moldings and preserved millwork, tastefully appointed with stark contemporary furniture. Or a sleek Mid Century Modern ceiling lamp suspended above a bare, rustic farmhouse table.

Intriguing, right? The anachronistic contrast of styles creates a striking effect.

Mixing styles is one of the most rewarding interior design challenges. The chicest homes often embrace eclectic elements from various cultures and eras. While they may lean toward modern or toward traditional, authentic interiors leave enough room for design surprises that push the boundaries of a formulaic style. In contrast, overly planned homes can feel self-important.

So, what’s the trick to mixing interior design styles, especially between modern and traditional?

The key is authenticity. Always choose design elements that are true to form. A traditional piece should be truly antique. And a contemporary piece should have a truly modern edge. What doesn’t work are transitional items — those that are neither here nor there in style or form. Each design element should have integrity both individually and when juxtaposed to its counter.

To pull off this authentic, sophisticated look for your own home, read on for ideas on mixing interior decorating styles.

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