By Jennifer Adams
I LOVE TO mix new
things with old because it
gives any home a sense of
lived-in warmth and a personal touch. No matter if
your “old” furniture is a set
you got five years ago,
your parents or a treasured
chair you inherited from
your grandpa, blending ages and styles takes
some thought but isn’t all that hard.
To pull together a random collection of
furniture and make it look like you meant it to
be delightfully eclectic, here are some of my
Let the di;erent pieces stand out. If most
of your furniture is modern, a treasured
antique or two would be an artful focus. Or
vice versa: A sleek midcentury chair would
look great with more traditional upholstered
furniture. A rough ;nish or a highly textured
fabric can balance shiny metals or smooth
glass, etc., because the contrasting textures add
interest and balance each other out. But …
Tie the di;erent pieces together, somehow. Every piece should relate to the other
furnishings in the room in at least one way.
Coordinating colors in the wood or upholstery isn’t too hard; e.g., you could choose a
patterned fabric that matches the tan leather
on your sofa and armchairs. Or ;nd furniture
with similar shapes. For example, a rectangular co;ee table made from a vintage door or
old sign will work nicely with a sleek rectangular sofa made of leather.
Keep most of the colors neutral. Whether
most of your pieces are new or old, keeping
the palette simple makes it easier to add
accent pieces and things that don’t match
exactly. Gray is a fresh neutral that is really
popular right now and looks great with a lot
of other colors, from blues to orange or even
Get creative with accents. Beyond colorful new throw pillows, options for accents in a
room include throws and pillows with dramatic textures like faux fur, rope or really
nubby fabric, and industrial touches for art,
lamps, and co;ee table or bookcase displays.
Other ideas include a new (or new to you)
area rug and drapery panels.
Sometimes you really just have to say no.
I have a rule in my house that if something
doesn’t bring me joy, I no longer keep it
around. Clear the energy and space for something you love, even if you need to live with an
empty space for a while. Why bother with
that odd antique or whatever that’s just not
working. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, so let someone else love it and put it to
good use. C
Jennifer Adams is a nationally syndicated
interior-design expert. Costco.com carries
a variety of Jennifer Adams Home bedding
products. Contact Adams at askjennifer@
The Costco Connection
Furnishings, including individual furniture
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found during Special Events and seasonal
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How to style
A LOT OF people think of bookcases as
being useful for storage. But they can also
be a beautiful focal point in a room. Here
are a few of my favorite tips for styling a
aFor a cohesive look, choose a color
tone for the accessories and stick with it.
For example, display all white or very
light gray books with gold accents and
add plants for texture.
aLeave at least a third of the space
empty, if not half.
a Think of each shelf as a complete
arrangement. Your eye should move
from shelf to shelf smoothly; if one item
dominates the other items, remove it.
aCreate dimension within each
compartment by stacking small books like
a pyramid, topped with a smaller artifact.
aGroup similar objects together in
threes or fives.
aPut larger baskets or attractive bins
on bottom shelves for kids’ toys and games.
aFor a vintage look, remove the
paper jackets from all the books.
aFor a casual feel, mix up the colors
and add family photos in nice frames.
Keep all of the photos in either black and
white or all color, instead of some of each.
aLean framed art against the back and
layer accessories in front for dimension.
aDon’t be afraid to remove shelves,
especially if you have a lot of them. Less
may be more in this case. A few shelves
with just one big, dramatic item on each
shelf can be stunning.—JA
Blending older and newer
items can add character
to your home.