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Can You Mix Modern and Traditional Furniture?

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There are no rules when it comes to interior design. People will tell you that you can’t do certain things and this item must match with this item. Avoid colors that clash and don’t mix patterns.

Then when the question is posed, “Can you mix modern and traditional furniture?”, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Done right, mixing modern and traditional pieces delivers a unique, eclectic style.

The key to getting it right is mixing and matching things of similar size without letting one piece overpower the entire room.

The thing is, though, design trends change and so do peoples’ appreciation for certain pieces.

Interior design, more importantly, is a guide to help you create a space, whether a living or working space, that you love, that functions well, and is where you want to be.

That said, the whole reason interior design and designers exist is that some people have a hard time expressing how they feel or the space they want to create.

Other people, whether they are architects, designers, or furniture manufacturers, have an eye for fashion that captures the essence that people are targeting.

The professionals have found some amazing ways to mix your older pieces with new, modern furniture. Here we offer some tips on ways you can mix them seamlessly and highlight each at the same time.

traditional meets modern living room

A Touch of Modern Makes the Whole Room Contemporary

If you’re like most people, your furniture and the things you love represent a lifetime spent collecting items. Sometimes you get a few things at a time, but other times it’s a piece here and a piece there.

As a result, you probably have a lot of classic pieces that will look good in any room. Well, with a splash of modern flair, you can elevate your interior design and give your room an aesthetic facelift.

The right lamp or coffee table is a great place to start. Something that is the trademark modern monotone with clean lines will play off of your golden picture frames or classic couch beautifully.

It draws in your attention as you glance across the room and highlights each piece instead of making everything feel and look uniform.

Modern Art Goes Great with Traditional Furniture

The best design is a reflection of what you like and different periods of your life. It’s an effortless arrangement of items that mesh together.

That’s why modern and traditional furniture can go so well together—it’s an expression of your style profile.

People, including seasoned interior designers, have great success hanging modern art pieces over a traditional table or shelving unit. Modern art looks terrific next to a classic or vintage lamp.

The right art piece can also make an older, what you think is a boring desk or chair have new life. The pattern in many modern art pieces is bold, so combining it with traditional furniture brings things together nicely.

Traditional Furniture in Modern Design

One good tip on mixing traditional and modern furniture is to adhere to modern design when it comes to layout.

The typical modern interior design involves a lot of clean lines. Corners are sharper and curves are gradual.

If you’re mixing traditional and modern furniture, line them up against or with each other in straight lines or at sharp angles to make the room flow well.

Doing this highlights your traditional furniture in a room that looks and feels modern.

traditional modern living space

Balance is Key to Mixing Furniture Styles

Some folks have a hard time fully appreciating modern design because we feel like it’s not practical. It looks great on a magazine, but we love soft couches and where are we going to put the family portrait?

The key to mixing traditional and modern furniture is balance. It’s easy for very unique modern pieces, if there are several of them in a room, to overpower the traditional pieces and make things look out of sync.

Instead, balance the modernness of a furniture item against traditional furniture. The modern piece should stand out, but it should be subtle and not draw too much attention away from the traditional style.

Go Light on the Paint

It’s best to stick with lighter, monochrome paint on your walls if you’re mixing traditional with modern. Loud paint color will alter the balance of the room and make the space feel more crowded than it is.

Finding the Right Integration Between Modern and Traditional

If at all possible, avoid grouping modern items together too much. You don’t want, for example, there to be a “modern” half of your living room and the “traditional corner” in the back.

Proportion is important when you’re mixing styles. Too much of one style can overwhelm whoever is in the room.

The size of each item matters when you’re integrating them. If you have a modern chair that’s roughly the same size as a traditional chair, then pairing them together around a coffee table should look amazing.

If they differ in size too much, the look can be confusing and people may wonder what you’re trying to do with the design.

Consider Painting Your Traditional Furniture

People often get rid of traditional furniture not because they don’t like the design of the piece, but because the fabric gets stained, there’s an outdated pattern, or the colors fade.

You can paint fabric furniture to bring it up to date and give it new life. Painting it a modern color is a perfect example of the balance between a modern and traditional style that works.

An antique couch that’s painted a new, modern color, which matches your interior design, may have legs or a back from an earlier era that will give it an interesting twist.

living room with retro furniture

Traditional Wood Pieces Highlight Modern Design

Are you interested in modern furniture or interior design but worry about it making your home or office feel unwelcoming?

Wooden furniture has a great way of taking the edge off of modern interior design. That goes for anything wood, including lamps, tables, chairs, and even wooden accents on couches or things like baskets, etc.

Add some wood to a room with modern furniture and it will instantly become more welcoming and feel homier.

Stick with Modern Accents

Modern design gets a lot of love in publications and online. We like to look at it and appreciate the effort that goes into amazing furniture.

However, most of the negative feedback around modern furniture is that it’s not practical or welcoming. People who use the furniture every day want it to last and want it to be comfortable.

When you’re starting to collect modern furniture, start with accent lamps, tables, art pieces, etc., and keep your couches and chairs traditional. The modern pieces will make your room feel more cutting-edge style-wise, but you can still spend hours on the couch watching Netflix.

In the end, mixing modern and traditional furniture can be done with amazing success and make your older furniture feel more contemporary.

Mix and max different items to see what works best, or get help from a designer who can guide you on where to put things to capture the look and feel you want in your home or office.