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Past or present?  Old or new?  Classic or contemporary? Choosing between two opposing sides can be a challenge for some. It is like comparing The Beatles and One Direction in terms of their artistry and ability to lure the ladies when in fact, they have their own respective styles and strengths. This is similar to interior design. An old or traditional style, that reflects classic European décor, have  an elegant appeal yet gives that sense of comfort in its design. Modern design, on the other hand, promotes an inviting space through its clean, serene, and uncluttered interior.
Combining the traditional and  modern interior design is like having the two interesting worlds in one room, or one house rather. You may enjoy the comfort brought by your soft traditional, Edwardian era wing chair while staring at the contemporary abstract art hanging on the wall. However, it takes a huge amount of skill and creativity in producing an effective collaboration of these opposing styles. 
Firstly, you have to consider balance and symmetry. Does it mean you have to have equal proportions of both traditional and modern pieces? Not exactly. This may give an impression of cluttered, competing furniture instead of making them work together to produce harmony. It’s a matter of deciding between having a traditional space with contemporary accents or a contemporary space with antique accents. If you have a modern space, you may start by gradually giving some touches of the past in your space like a Victorian Gothic chandelier or a rustic stool for the kitchen. Choose wisely in what to retain and what to lose.
Secondly, there should be something common among the pieces. It is perhaps the choice of color, the repetition of lines, shapes, and patterns, or the choice of texture. The furniture and decors, although they come from different eras, should have a cohesive look by having some sort of theme or element that can binds them together. One way to incorporate this is by having a common color scheme for your furniture or by having a similar pattern that can draw the eyes to several pieces inside the room. The colors don’t necessarily have to match but they should not battle.
Lastly, just enjoy mixing and matching pieces crafted in different timelines. Make it seem like you’re an artistic time traveler that has been collecting artifacts for centuries. To avoid the clutter, just emphasize only the high-quality pieces and take away the ones that you think are not necessary. Having a simple and clean backdrop can also help highlight the pieces you choose to showcase.
There are two kinds of styles that you may follow in mixing traditional and contemporary designs in your space, depending on your personality.
Transitional Interior Design

The style of “transitional” lies in the middle of the traditional and modern design, creating a simple yet timeless space. It is a meticulous way of blending antique and century-old pieces with the pieces crafted in the contemporary era, like making glass and chrome blend perfectly with rustic, wooden elements. The transitional interior design embodies the minimalistic approach of modern design while having depth and richness brought by traditional design.
Neutral, light, and warm colors like ivory, tan, khaki, gray, chocolate brown, and beige rule in pulling off this sophisticated design. Keep the walls quiet while the pieces of furniture and decors speak. For the floors, also, keep it simple by having natural woods, stone, or tile for your materials. By having neutral floors and walls, you have the authority to bring in interesting textures and patterns that can make the room pop like woven fabrics, leather, sisal, rattan, and chenille. In decorating, combine functionality and beauty in choosing your strongest pieces. In transitional interior design, a few well-chosen accents are all you need to make an impact.
Eclectic Interior Design

If the transitional interior design has a lot of rules and restrictions, the eclectic interior design is opposite in a way that it lets you break your styling boundaries.  Eclectic Interior Design is not a particular style, but a look developed by borrowing a variety of styles drawn from the different times, periods, and origins. It can be illustrated as a precise explosion of the collection of ideas, theories, and styles in one room – a beautiful disaster. You may put Van Gogh’s artwork next to a colorful pop art or a velvet Italian Renaissance sofa next to a chrome center table. If there is one rule, it is to know how to draw a line between “eclectic” and “chaotic.”
In creating an eclectic look, the tendency is to overdo it, resulting in an unpleasant, cluttered look. The key is to tone down some to accent some – it’s like a give and take relationship among the pieces. Similar to what another interior design style suggests, keep the backdrop quiet to let the furniture and décor shine. You are free to choose a different color that is not necessarily neutral as long as the color is already present in the room. The rule of repetition best applies to eclectic interior design to minimize the messy look. You can always blend the desk crafted in the peak of the Renaissance with a popping neon green chair with metal lines, but you should find an element in the same room that is similar to that, like the chair’s silhouette, size, color, and pattern or texture. You may also apply the “opposite rule” especially in showcasing diverse textures,  like pairing matte table with the glossy vases, or putting smooth silk curtain next to coarse burlap lampshade. If that one piece is the “odd one out” in the group, it’s better to just take it out. 


Carmina Natividad is an all-around artist, writer, and designer. She shares her deep interest in interior design by writing informative blogs for Bay Gallery, an Australian-based company that has been offering a wide range of high-quality indoor and outdoor furniture since 2006.