Recently, Karen June and I met at one of our favorite antique stores, ReNew Arts, in Natick, MA. They specialize in mid-centry modern furnishings, dishware, and other quirky objects that look great as stand-alone art pieces. I'm particularly obsessed with their large variety of leather, wood and metal chairs and Karen salivates over their many collections of barware. Neither of us has an entire room devoted to this Mad Men era style but we both have a few mid-century pieces that we mix in with our other styles.
And this got us thinking about something we hear alot, which is, "I find that if I try to mix things up from different styles or eras, I can never tell if it goes together." Followed by the question, "How can I learn how to do this eclectic mixing thing???"
Well, some of it has to do with really knowing what you love and being specific about it. And some of it has to do with taking a risk and throwing some things together and living with the mix for awhile. Trial and error and training your eye to figure out why something works together or why it doesn't, beyond just saying "oh, I guess this doesn't go." But what it doesn't have to entail is blindly following any professionally sanctioned "design rules" that you may or may not have picked up somewhere.
When we were talking with Patrice and Diane of ReNew Arts, they too agreed that mixing all of this mid-century stuff with things from other eras, boutiques and big box stores was the way to go if you're interested in creating a style that's all your own. It is, however, great fun to learn about the design standards that develop in each era and adds to the richness of your personal style when deciding what to mix together. That's why we love developing relationshiops with antiques dealers...they are usually passionate about what they're selling, have a few interesting stories about their items and can definately educate you on the history and use of objects no longer in production. Without even trying to, you'll feel a little smarter every time you visit one of these places and bring that self confidence into your home.
If you'd like to learn more about pulling together your signature style, you can start with our free video series that covers our 3 principles of design. Click here to watch!
Karen June & Zandra