If I was to describe my design style, the tension between antique and modern would be number one on my list. I love drama and glamour in a room, but when the furniture and architecture are all ultra-modern, I feel like it looks cold, and when it is all antique and polished, it can look a little old, stuffy, or unapproachable.
But when you get into the mix, that’s where the magic happens. Picture a gorgeous Parisian apartment dripping with intricate molding and gilded mirrors offset by minimal, sculptural modern furniture and art. Or, a modern, industrial loft with a tufted, red velvet, gilded Victorian couch! How beautiful does a French bergere chair look with a Saarinen tulip table? Or a rustic farmhouse dining table with Louis Ghost chairs.
(I know some would use the term eclectic for what I am describing, but I hate that word! I think it has become a catchall for any style that has nuance and doesn’t fit into a larger category — eclectic could mean almost anything at this point.)
My personal style leans more toward classic architecture with rich details (like the dentil molding in our living room), offset by a pretty equal mix of sleek, modern furniture and art with detailed, antique furniture and vintage pencil drawings and landscapes. I love things most when they are at the far ends of the spectrum — really intricate turned legs and graceful curves and gilded frames look so dramatic against pencil thin floor lamps and large-scale abstract art and photographs in modern frames and sculptural decorative objects.
I’ve been trying to reconnect with this aspect of my design style lately after being sidetracked by some fun finds (this couch!) that I love, but I’m not sure fit in with my core style.
Here is my inspiration!
I love how even the architecture here is a study in contrasts with the detailed molding against the simple built in benches flanking the fireplace. The furniture and accessories all stand out so beautifully because each one is sculptural and interesting. Pinterest (original source unknown.)
This home of two interior designers is one of my favorites ever. It’s clean, textural, neutral and interesting but the overall effect is STUNNING.
All the different shapes and colors in this room make it feel so FUN. I love that the furniture contrasts the classical architecture which is contrasting in itself with the rustic beams. Pinterest, source unknown.
This antique settee looks like it was meant for that abstract art because they are in the same neutral color palette. Pinterest, source unknown.
The modern upholstery job on these classic chairs is so graphic and gives this vignette so much drama.
Everything about this room is glamorous and polished while it combines so many different styles and unconventional color combinations. Look at the rest of the photos here for some serious inspiration.
Ghost chairs and farmhouse tables are soulmates, obviously. Pinterest, source unknown.
The contrast makes this room feel so modern ever with the very classic elements in the chairs, pedestal table and tufted bench.
This room looks like actual art. Pinterest, source unknown.
Curved couches look so elegant next to the boxiness of a normal room with its windows, molding, rugs, photos, and rectangular furniture. Source.
Switch that modern coffee table with a traditional oval one in the same wood tones as the stool and occasional table, and this room wouldn’t be half as elegant.
Another view of the same townhouse as above. Such a perfect mix of beautiful standout pieces in different styles makes every detail shine.
The different shapes and textures here make a room with only a few colors look like the most interesting place on Earth! (A third view of the above townhouse.)
These Barcelona chairs add a little edge to this very traditional living room. Pinterest, source unknown.
I love the way these gorgeous Le Corbusier couches fit right in with the traditional sideboards and oriental rug. Source.
If this stunning modern lamp had been placed with an ultra-modern Le Corbusier couch like those above (it would still be stunning, but) it might not stand out as it does here next to this classic and beautiful English roll-arm sofa. Pinterest, source unknown.
This modern/traditional mix looks especially refined in a mostly-white room like this. The art looks so beautiful against the traditional architecture. I believe this is from Victoria Hagan Interiors, although I can’t find the exact source.
This loft looks like each piece was meticulously searched out and brought back to this treasure trove to live together. Love the bohemian, collected vibes here.
This apartment is perfection to me. I could move in and not change anything about the living room or the bedroom. More photos below show the expert new/old mix.
That simple canvas against the gilt frame accessorized with that retro lamp makes me almost want to cry it’s so pretty.
That light is heavenly against the exquisite molding.
I could share loads more inspiration in this style — I’m constantly pinning it — but I’ll stop there for now. It’s the one style that makes my heart start beating fast and instantly stops my scrolling so that I can pore over each picture and analyze the furniture choices to figure out how I can make my home look just as gorgeous!